Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ezra Levant and Sun News Network

Today both Ezra Levant and the Sun News Network have been asking scary questions about uses of money by the Attawapiskat community.  They are suggesting malfeasance in an effort to discredit Chief Spence for political purposes.
  • Why was Chief Spence's partner paid so much per day?
  • Why did they buy a new Zamboni when they already had one?
This is blatant.  And, importantly, most of the information has already been debunked. Any organization approaching a competent media outlet would know this.
So...what does this difference between Ezra's statements about Chief Spence and reality mean?

It means that Sun News Network makes no pretense at being a news organization. Everyone in the political arena is already aware of this -- but the man or woman on the street doesn't. Basically, whenever the public gets uppity and starts complaining about the Harper Regime, Ezra Levant and Sun News Network jump out with blatant propaganda meant to deflect and discredit.

This was done with the so-called Ethical Oil campaign - an astroturf (faux grassroots) organization created to generate propaganda in support of exporting tar sands oil and building pipelines to do so. This was widely discredited by online social media participants but I'm sure many non-political people are not aware.

All of this leads to a pair of important conclusions.
  • The government has a propaganda arm which may or may not be operating at arms length from various people and departments -- as high as the PM or PMO itself.
  • We know that whenever the Sun News Network is attacking something with intent to discredit that the Harper Regime is likely concerned about the public attention it is getting.
Additionally, it is vital that we help people understand the real issues and why the allegations and innuendo have no impact on those issues. I don't know Chief Spence. It is possible she has done things that I might not approve of (who hasn't). However, Canada's ethical and legal obligation to uphold treaties with First Nations has nothing to do with that.

From a political point of view we need to find ways to disarm this propaganda. The government should not be engaging in propaganda against its own citizens. This is unabashedly wrong. How do we stop this tactic from being effective on the non-political public?

From an ethics point of view -- how come people, news outlets and a certain political party can maintain any aspect of credibility when they use such tactics. Can we make the general public aware of these things - is it as simple as spending money to run some ads that make these behaviors publicly visible?

What's the playbook on these things? Can I simply put up a donate button and describe what I'll do with raised funds and expect anything to happen?

Please leave a comment (anonymously if necessary) if you have any ideas to share. I want to find a way to do things about this type of activity. It is damaging to democracy and our entire country - not to mention our international reputation.

UPDATED: Some additional links concerning Ezra Levant: On Being Called Anti-Semitic, Ordered to Pay $25000, Court Decision against Ezra Levant, Ezra Ordered to Pay Additional $32500, On Ezra's Blatant Gypsy Racism, and Ezra Levant Investigated for Hate Speech.

UPDATED: Here's a nice discussion on the politics of wages from the site.

UPDATED: I just watched an exchange on Twitter detailing how those big scary stock holdings that Ezra refers to are in a trust fund with the beneficiary to be the people of Attawapiskat. Such insinuations are recklessly and act as an incitement for racism and bigotry.  It's shameful.

NOTE: To avoid hammering the web site I've taken the liberty of uploading the answers PDF to a shared Google Docs file.


  1. Keep countering with facts and figures.

  2. I don't know what the answer is.

    Look at the way this creep operates.

  3. First, people who have a similar opinion as you don't watch Sun tv news. Second, people who share your political inclinations have the CBC to spread your sort of propoganda. At least the Sun is honest about what their agenda is.

  4. Thanks for your comments... I'm going to try using Adwords to reach people less politically inclined. If you are an Adwords genius look me up on twitter.

  5. Oops, left a comment in the hopper too long.

    I certainly don't mind if Sun sticks to honest reporting, but when it comes to lies and propaganda it goes too far. Any real news organization tries to find actual facts and verify the things they report. Sun isn't doing that.

    If the CBC gets too deep into the details, the underlying issues that provide context in a situation, that is fine. That doesn't make it propaganda.

    Propaganda is not about what you agree with. When things have already been debunked and can be proven false -- but you report otherwise -- that's a serious issue for democracy.

    A democracy is about an informed public making choices -- not an inflamed public acting out based on false information.

    Not that anybody cares anymore.

  6. Frankly, I think we owe a service to Ezra Levant for being the only one to delve deeply into this matter. This is not anti-Indian - in fact it's just the opposite. By misappropriating funds (...please don't try to tell me $140 million was actually put into the residents homes up there....), the people who were hurt were the average Indians themselves. Think about it.

  7. You are welcome to your opinion, of course, but I'd suggest you find out why only a few million dollars were allocated to housing -- and that the government is the party that controls these allocations.

    Armed with that, as Ezra surely is, you'd see that Ezra is just throwing out insinuations when he already knows better. It takes a lot of work to parse out seemingly true scary allegations when the facts show otherwise.

    Think about it. People who are shameless liars are not doing anyone a service here. There are issues to be discussed but Ezra is only interested in divisive statements. He tends to do this to any group that opposes some policy goal espoused by the current government.

    1. I simply attach links such as this one
      or one of the sites listed here (above)anytime someone I know posts something in support of Levant and his endless verbal sewage. I say let social media do what it does best. Let Facebook and sites like that expose the reality of who he is and what he stands for.

  8. As a professional investigator I tire of the Sun and Levant specifically, and his unresearched Infomercial style agenda, fame, and money based rants. One of the first thing I teach Investigators is that a large percentage of the value of any opinion, or statement lies in what the speaker has to gain by the public believing it. he has WAY too much to gain, both politically and financially, to rely heavilly on. I also instantly noticed that he likes to toss figures and "supposed" facts without providing any links, book names, official reports etc that a listener can use to verify anything he says. I say begin a grassroots movement to expose him and his agenda. Through that he will discredit himself! Use Facebook, link anything he says to a response blog that uses real facts with sources to verify them. That Matt Hopkins guy really explained factually why his rants about Chief Spence in Attawapiskat are simply politically charged fiction based infomercials. Link Link Link, post post post! Let's get out there and let him expose himself. Link to his history of liebel fines, and his twisted and outright incorrect facts explained. It has to start somewhere.

  9. We must keep on using the facts to counter the slanderous, bigotted propaganda being spewed out by the HArper Regime and it's "news" outlet SUN!

  10. I am starting to think that as we look back over the history of Canada and the US this will be viewed as the age of Propaganda pushers. Even in the states people are clueing into the divide that "main stream media" is perpetuating. Shady practices in the media that has no base in reality is shiting all over their system potentially breaking it completely, a documentary called Patriocracy is particularly enlightening. I hope it doesn't get that bad…although it may already be.