After my complaint sent into ITV to complain about the coverage on Granada reports featuring Kieron Cunningham stalking deer, this is what I got back this morning.
Thank you for your email which has been forwarded for my attention.
The only delay in replying to your comments was caused because of the amount of work going in to covering the General Election.
I’m surprised you are amazed that the story was featured as it ran for a number of reasons.
- The PR firm behind the filming offered the story to us – to use as we wished.
- There are many things which are legal – but are still controversial. From smoking to drugs; from fieldsports to fishing. It could be about alcohol, advertising or Page 3 girls. All legal but all controversial. As such it makes a perfectly legitimate story to feature and discuss on a responsible news programme.
- Kieron Cunningham is a legend in St Helens. There is even a statue of him in the town. As such he is a role model to many and the stance he takes on an issue is therefore of a greater interest and subject to greater scrutiny.
- We did NOT put a slant on it. We featured Kieron taking part in the sport – including him talking about how much he enjoys it – and then ran comments from those involved in organisations before ‘’pro’’ and ‘’anti’’ this sport.
- In terms of vox pops we presented the views we found on the streets of St Helens – a place where Kieron Cunningham is revered as a sportsman. It could have been argued that we should have got a bias in favour of Kieron. So it was a surprise to find that the vast majority of people we spoke to objected to his involvement.
We got an excellent feedback on this issue from viewers both in support of, and outraged by, the footage of Kieron. That indicates to me that we partly served our purpose.
Thank you for taking the time to write to us. I apologise for the time it took me to reply.
Head of News, ITV Granada