Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Ambush Interview Definition:

An unfair, deceptive or manipulative journalism practise of select use of interviews so as to create deceitful impressions.

At ¶306 of his judgment in Assessmed v CBC, Justice Rivard of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice wrote:

"An ambush interview takes place where a person does not wish to be interviewed, but is approached without warning, and questioned without any opportunity to prepare."

In Presler v Lethbridge, the late Mr. Justice Owen-Flood wrote:

"(A)mbush interviews, trickery in the sense of pretending to some interviewees that their statements were off record, juxtapositioning not just of the words of the interviewees but of images so as to create deceitful implications, and the editing out of statements by interviewees so as to slant the broadcast in such a manner as to imply that the false allegations pertaining to the property and its use had substance."

Consider, also, these words of Justice Esson in Vogel v CBC:

"The essence of the ambush interview as practiced here, is to put the bad guy in the position of having to try to tell his side of the story in circumstances which practically guarantee that he will come off looking badly. The effect of terminating the segment of the uncertain answer — "I don't know" — is to leave the impression that he is being evasive."


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