On May 5 2021, posts on Facebook and Twitter suggested that CTV Calgary had featured an image of Chris Watts and the Watts family in a segment about family finances; Chris Watts was convicted of murdering his wife and children in 2018:
That Facebook post was captioned “CTV Calgary using just the best of stock photos,” and the post was shared tens of thousands of times. A similar tweet (also published on May 5 2021) was a bit more explicit in explaining the screenshot:
In that tweet, @KateEdits wrote:
Ummmm… not CTV Calgary using a photo of a man who murdered his pregnant wife and two kids as a stock photo for a story about being financially prepared for parenthood. ????
Both images were identical, with a “TOP STORIES” chyron partially displayed at the bottom. To the left was a well-known image of the Watts family before the murders, and to the right, a graphic read:
5 THINGS TO CONSIDER AS YOU FINANCIALLY PLAN FOR PARENTHOOD
- Create a financial maternity leave plan
In that context, there was an open possibility that the image itself was not authentic, created as a distasteful joke; the Watts family’s financial difficulties were a high profile aspect of the murder investigation.
However, a separate May 5 2021 tweet by @SCUBADubois (with far lower engagement metrics) included video of the CTV Calgary segment:
Screenshots of a CTV Calgary graphic using an image of Chris Watts and the Watts family in an unrelated segment spread virally on and after May 5 2021, but most of the popular posts involved the same screenshot. Less popular posts displayed the segment from different angles, demonstrating that it did air with the unfortunate choice of image. We were unable to locate any specific apology from the outlet for the error.