Sun TV’s David Suzuki-CEGEP scandal sends media world into denial again

What makes David Suzuki so god-damned special anyway?

Imagine this story. Thanks to an access to information request, it was revealed that one of Quebec’s most well known CEGEPs had paid Preston Manning or Ezra Levant, in addition to $30,000 for a one hour speaking engagement, another $11,000 in addition ‘expenses’ including a “penthouse.”

That would be news, folks. The nation’s movers and shakers in journalism would, rightfully, be all over it.

If it were further revealed that in addition to billing a publicly funded school eleven grand for those expenses that John Abbott college also found themselves submitting to a demand for a personal security detail composed entirely of attractive women.

This story would be the leading news of the day at CBC, CTV, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. They’d be all over it. By tonight it would be leading every dinner hour newscast. There would be indignation, shock, disbelief and above all these two Canadian public lecturers would never live it down.

Stories of “Ezra Levant’s Penthouse Ladies” would abound, complaints and investigations demanded and granted.

But when it comes to what really happened, that the whole above story is true, except that it was about David Suzuki (a wealthy lobbyist and member of the broadcast community) it says a HELL of a lot about the above-mentioned news outlets.

Here’s Ezra’s report, EXCLUSIVE: Suzuki’s latest scandal involves $30,000 and female bodyguards a written article with his original report on The Source. It’s highly informative and highly entertaining, check it out.

Hats off, Ezra and Sun News.

Special mention to the National Post for covering this one. Chris Selley was a bit cheeky in his ‘Full Pundit’ media round-up, calling it “creepy.” That being said Selley seemed to imply that aside from himself the only two kinds of people in Canada are anti-David Suzuki or anti-Ezra Levant.

Jonathan Kay, for his parts is less equivocal in Jonathan Kay: David Suzuki is poster boy for why Canada needs Sun’s brand of journalism where he writes the following:

“This week, Sun scored another win: Through access-to-information requests, the network discovered emails that reveal the odd demands Suzuki made in regard to a 2012 visit to John Abbott College in Montreal — which apparently cost the college more than $40,000, including Suzuki’s own $30,000 fee.”

Thanks for acknowledging the daylight that exists between what happens and what so many of your colleagues in the sector do, especially by omittance, to summarize ‘reality’ for news readers, listeners and watchers, Mr. Kay.

[I see a lot of folks coming in to read up on Suzuki via Google. For the most damning stuff, and I don’t mean apparently sexist demands on colleges, check out the following. This is the blog of acclaimed Canadian writer and researcher Vivian Krause. There is a lot of information on Suzuki and other environmental groups, who funds them and what they do with it and why, included there.]

ADDITIONAL: A few other points that arose or came to mind.

Sun’s Kris Sims now has a story covering the Suzuki story Suzuki speech a high ticket item where, among other things, she explains:

Documents say a private donor and friend of Suzuki’s covered the $30,000 fee paid to the critic of capitalism.

The next point is about the Jonathan Kay article again. I don’t wish to oversample from it, so it’s been difficult to choose from it. It comes down to an admission that he himself, and many of his fellow journalists face. A conflict of interest, so to speak.

Nevertheless, I’m not sure I would have pursued this story — even if I’d been the one who got the initial tip from John Abbott. Partially, it’s because I just don’t dislike Suzuki enough, let alone hate him. In fact, I probably have drunk a little of the Kool-Aid myself over the years; and so I am handicapped by the vague sense that it would somehow be wrong or impolite to make this great Canadian icon look bad.

Why, some day, if I become famous enough, I might even aspire to share a table with him at some awards banquet or other. Wouldn’t want to say anything that renders such a meeting awkward.

That is a brave admission Kay is making. He’s telling us that there is a career advancement stream in journalism, and that speaking truth to some powers can get you in trouble. Powers like CBC’s favourite CBC-built environmental lobbyist.

This is the meat of another post, to come in the next few days. Stay tuned, this should be interesting.

UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that the West Island Gazette (apparently a branch plant for Montreal Gazette) had a report on the John Abbott/Suzuki story. ‘John Abbott administrators refute allegations made by Sun News over David Suzuki’s visit’ by Kathryn Greenway (here)basically states that quotes from a statement by the college.

According to the statement Suzuki was escorted by both male and female security people and that the emails only suggest otherwise because they are misrepresented. I think for most people the issue stands, nothing from John Abbott here indicates that these emails weren’t sent or that the requests therein didn’t occur. Misnamed though the article might be I still don’t blame that for keeping it restricted to the West Island outlet. In order for Ms. Greenway to have gotten carried there, the Montreal Gazette would have had to actually cover the story in the first place.

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