Dion, Duffy, CTV and the Senate

In a recent Ottawa Citizen column, “The tale of the Dion tape,” Carleton journalism professor Andrew Cohen asks: “Was Duffy’s appointment a reward?”

Cohen gives a rundown of the fallout from CTV Atlantic anchor Steve Murphy’s live-to-tape interview with former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, the subsequent appointment of CTV political talk show host Mike Duffy to the Senate and the findings of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council on the matter.

Cohen writes:

“The council, which has done fine, judicious work here, doesn’t speculate on the impact of Dion’s appearance. Many Canadians had already decided that Dion was a lousy campaigner who should never have been leader. At the same time, many knew that he was a decent, honest and intelligent politician who was crucified by the Conservatives and abetted, unwittingly or not, by the media, and particularly CTV.

The story doesn’t end there. It actually gets worse. In December, Harper appointed Mike Duffy to the Senate. He sits as a Conservative, not an Independent.

Duffy is now the fiercest of partisans in the Red Chamber. He appears at party fundraisers. Pamela Wallin, a former journalist who was appointed as a Conservative at the same time, shows no such fervour.

Was Duffy’s appointment a reward? We won’t know. Duffy is an amiable guy who has had a distinguished career in broadcasting in which he asked tough questions of all politicians. But he also wanted to go to the Senate, and now he’s there.

Don’t think that things of this sort don’t happen in Canada.”