The Canadian Television Network (CTV) admitted that it spread inaccurate information about Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, in a move he described as an “attempted political assassination.” After a lengthy court battle, the Canadian news agency confessed it now regrets publishing false information while acknowledging that it harmed Brown’s political career. This is not the first the news outlet has been taken to court for defamation.
The mayor of Brampton is currently competing for the role of Conservative Party leader. But memories of a false and defamatory news story still haunt him, and his reputation. A 2018 broadcast by CTV made several inaccurate claims about Brown while he was the leader of the provincial Conservative Party. The hit piece by CTV forced him out of the race, and caused many of his allies to turn on him. Instead of taking it lying down, Brown filed a defamation lawsuit against Bell Media, the parent company of CTV, and went to war.
The lawsuit was settled earlier this month. In response, the news outlet issued a correction stating, “key details provided to CTV for the story were factually incorrect and required correction. CTV National News regrets including those details in the story and any harm this may have caused to Mr. Brown.” Jesse Brown, the Editor-in-Chief of Canadaland, slammed the half-hearted retraction, labelling it as “inadequate,” while claiming the timing was “dubious.”
Brown wrote a book about the incident titled: Takedown, The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown. The book has since been updated to reflect the recent settlement reached by Brown and CTV. According to the book’s Amazon page:
On March 6, 2022, CTV announced they had reached a settlement with Patrick Brown. An apology for their shoddy journalism that had not even been properly vetted before they aired their story leading to Patrick Brown’s resignation as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. CTV’s anchor Lisa LaFlamme along with senior journalist Glen Macgregor was so anxious to have the biggest Me-Too moment they forget how to conduct a proper interview with the key source that they relied on their false reporting on the women’s age.
This is not the first time CTV has been sued for defamation. In 2004, CTV was found liable for defaming a man named Rasim Karela in regards to a false arrest incident after 9/11. The Honourable Justice Gerald R. P. Moir noted that as of his decision in 2004, “the broadcaster has not apologized for its recklessly defamatory television story.” The jury awarded Karela $6,000 for damage to his reputation and $9,000 for aggravated damages.
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