The airing of a special profile on CTV’s W5 about Captain Paul Watson was pleasantly surprising. It was an extremely positive piece and considering that CTV is Canada’s largest television network, it was completely unexpected.
W5 is the longest-running current affairs/newsmagazine program in North America and the third longest-running Canadian television program. The name refers to the Five W’s of journalism: Who, What, Where, When, and Why and it airs during prime time at 7:00 P.M. in Canada (7:30 in Newfoundland) on Saturday night. In other words, it is the most popular and most watched current affairs program on the largest Canadian network.
The segment was called ‘Watson’s War’ and it was essentially a profile of the life of Captain Paul Watson, the founder and leader of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The Canadian media in general has been quite hostile over the years towards Captain Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. This is a reflection, of course, against Sea Shepherd’s long opposition to the national obscenity of the Canadian seal slaughter.
A program casting Captain Watson in a positive light was completely unexpected and it is a perspective that would never be allowed on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) network. Captain Watson has jokingly referred to the CBC for years as meaning “controlled by Canada.”
What is even more amazing is that W5 seemingly scraped the bottom of the barrel to find two detractors to represent the anti-Watson viewpoint. The first being the discredited former President of Greenpeace Canada Patrick Moore, who Greenpeace’s co-founder Robert Hunter always referred to as the “Eco-Judas” for trading in his Greenpeace credentials to become a corporate whore for the logging, mining, salmon farming, and nuclear industries. To be criticized by Moore is essentially a compliment to anyone who is a conservation activist. Even Moore had to admit on camera that Captain Watson has been successful in his efforts.
The other detractor was former Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams, who simply made the silly statement that Paul Watson is not welcome in Canada and Newfoundland because he is a “terrorist.” Captain Watson simply laughed and said as a Canadian he was free to go to Newfoundland when he wished and that Danny Williams should arrest him if he is a terrorist and stop talking about it if he is not.
What did Captain Watson think of the profile?
“I was amazed to see the images of our fight aginst the Canadian seal slaughter, Faeroese pilot whale killing, the dolphin slaughter in Japan, and illegal Japanese whaling all presented in a positive light on Canadian television. There were certainly a few disgruntled baby seal bashers drowning their anger in their beer that evening, I’m sure, saying nasty things about me not realizing that I enjoy hearing that the sealers are saying nasty things about me. I’m not their friend. I don’t want to be their friend. They know it and I know it and they know that it is my ultimate objective to wipe out their abominable industry. So I’m happy the show pissed them off.”
Captain Watson has always maintained that he does not care what the media says about him- positive or negative. The very fact that the media covers an action is positive. He viewed the satirical episode of South Park as positive and it certainly increased the awareness of the Sea Shepherd name. “What people remember is that Sea Shepherd and I were on South Park,” said Captain Watson. “They also remember that we were opposing the whalers and the dolphin killers.”
“People don’t remember the negative or the positive, they simply remember the name,” according to Captain Watson. “However, it’s always nice to see a truly positive article or television piece. It tends to be good for the morale of the crew and that’s a plus and I have to admit that as a Canadian it is somewhat nice to see myself profiled as a hero rather than the evil villainous defender of seals, whales, dolphins, and sharks- as most Canadian media has seen fit to depict me.”
Disclaimer: Captain Watson points out that not all Canadian media have been hostile over the years. “The exceptions being City TV and hmmmm, well I guess, I should say the exception being City TV.”