Thursday, January 08, 2009

CTV Sinks to New Low in Lotto Winner Report

Twenty-Four hours later, I was still so outraged by CTV Toronto and its reporter Chris Eby using its media power against Thomas Noftall, who had been told he'd won $135,000 in a Fruit Smash lottery, that I felt compelled to e-mail them. This is the first time ever that I've written to a television station about a news item, but CTV really seems to be sinking into a morass of ethically dubious reportage these days, and I couldn't keep silent. I wrote:
"I've never written to a television station before, but I remain so appalled by your reportage last night on the young lottery winner Thomas Noftall that I felt compelled to do so.

My jaw dropped when I heard Ken Shaw say "self-proclaimed" and it didn't close throughout the story until I finally flipped to another station in disgust. First off, "self-proclaimed" is inaccurate as OLG had informed Noftall that he had won when he called them to verify. Second, this is a young man who lives in a basement, won a rather small amount, wishes to use it responsibly to pay off debt and child support, would have been paid immediately if he'd lived in a jurisdiction like Las Vegas where the House pays up when it makes the mistake, and does not in any way deserve a media behemoth to use its weight against him. He has no power, and you have much. I cannot understand why you felt so compelled to misuse your power like that. Your carefully chosen disparaging, judgemental words ensured he knew his place.

CTV Toronto was obnoxious, smug, and ethically despicable. You evinced the nasty underbelly of Canadian self-righteousness. You are disgusting. I shall no longer watch your newscast (like you care, but I do)."

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