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Dr. Dawg's Blawg

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John Baglow is a former VP of PSAC, currently a writer and researcher, public policy consultant, occasional academic and poet. He blogs at drdawgsblawg.ca and no longer tweets.

Ezra Levant is no journalist. And the only 'free speech' he defends is his own.

| February 17, 2016
Ezra Levant is no journalist. And the only 'free speech' he defends is his own.

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UPDATE: The Alberta NDP has reversed its decision and announced it will not ban any media outlet from its press conferences.

What surreal Code of the Scribblers would anoint Ezra Levant as a member of the journalistic profession?

He himself says he's not one. Most of the folks sideswiped by his vicious racism, his tic-like petulance, his boorishness, his bullying and false bravado, his reckless disregard for the truth, would agree.

Once he might have been a journalist, if a questionable one, but the Sun has set. He and his pathetic cast of wannabes have been reduced to living in a bolt-hole in cyberspace from which he shrieks like a third-rate carny barker. His glorified blogsite The Rebel is not a news source: it's a noise machine.

But now Levant thinks he has a live one, a real, you know, story. It appears that Rachel Notley, the Premier of Alberta, has had enough. Her office informed the "Rebel Commander" that he and his acolytes were not welcome at government pressers. Levant's fellow non-journalists, Sheila Gunn Reid and Holly Nicholas, were barred, one from an event to which the media weren’t even invited.

Another was a news conference with Notley and Prime Minister Trudeau, which was closed to non-MSM writers by order, it seems, of the PMO. Progressive blogger David Climenhaga, who sums up this whole imbroglio very well, notes that he would have been barred as well.

But almost to a man and woman, the mainstream media commentators leapt to The Rebel's defence -- rather like a College of Physicians and Surgeons demanding that faith healers be licensed. Who is the gummint, they demanded to know, to say who is or is not a journalist? They seem to be arguing that anyone who shows up at a news conference is automatically in the club. And yet, as the accreditation procedure in the Parliamentary Press Gallery indicates, journalists at other times consider themselves to be a professional elite. This all seems oddly inconsistent.

Anyway, let's take another look at that injured martyr for "free speech" who has set their tongues a-wagging. A few months ago, after Notley had won the Alberta election, Levant called an "Emergency Public Meeting," billed as "an independent, non-partisan meeting, open to the public for free."

But that wasn't true, as it turns out. Citizen journalist and frequent Levant critic Alheli Picazo showed up to cover the event -- and she was immediately thrown out by Ezra's goons. They even called the police, who showed up, scratched their heads and went away again. Read all about it here.

Where was the MSM outrage then? I suspect the lack of it was largely due to Picazo's classy, soft-spoken personality. She simply told her story to Canadaland and went on living her life. She didn't run off to the media to snivel, shriek and threaten a lawsuit. Not her style.

Now, however, her story has immediate relevance. The commentators who have been wagging fingers at Notley might want to take a look -- not that I expect they will, having already shaped the narrative. But it would be good to take that hypocritical bloviator down a peg, n'est-ce pas?

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