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For Jonathan Kay, it must be a sad case of history repeating.

Sun News TV is dying, as no one is watching. Now they want the public to keep their TV station alive… as blogger David Climenhaga has noted, coming hat in hand for the kind of public subsidies that they regularly pillory.  

Scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up for some reason, as an alleged  free enterprise advocate, to keep Sun News TV on air, Kay has seized on their apparently righteous “hate” as the basis of how they are doing “good journalism,” penning an opinion piece stating that “David Suzuki is poster boy for why Canada needs Sun’s brand of journalism.”

Thin on examples, Kay can only roll with Sun TV’s stunning “expose” that David Suzuki might be “hard to handle” and that Sun TV were supposedly brave enough to be “the ones who tell us that Theresa Spence is still fat, and that modern dance is for ninnies — and they don’t apologize for it, because they know that most people think these things, even if they don’t say them.”

That is, indeed, Edward Murrow worthy. 

Kay, of course, is entirely familiar with being subsidized by benefactors who allow him to continue to have a platform for his writing, as he is a columnist and founding editor of one of the least succesful publications in Canadian history, The National Post.

The Post started as a vanity exercise for Conrad Black and failed, until 2011, to ever turn a profit. By any actual market standards, it would have closed not long after its 1998 launch. But the Post has never had to face “market forces” or “pull itself up by its bootstraps.” It, and by extension Kay’s career, coasted happily along under the patronage of wealthy people who were willing to lose money to advance their “ideas.”

The National Post is an example of how the wealthy can simply buy a voice for their viewpoints, and spread their ideological perspectives by subsidizing these viewpoints. They buy space in the public discourse for their apologists and hacks to rant in.

That is why, when hearing Kay and his ilk talking about “entitlements” or “free rides” one has to take it with a large grain of salt. These right-wing commentators are the epitome of entitled ass-kissers and they have had the ultimate free ride; not only did they most often get jobs due to family connections, but they also get to cruise through life belittling others and “making fun” of native people and the poor with no worry about making any money for their bosses. 

Important journalism indeed.

To paraphrase Kay, the great virtue of independent spaces like rabble — and yes it is a virtue — is that in these spaces we do not have to cater to, be hobbled by, or be constrained by the Conrad Blacks or Canwests, or by the racist, colonialist and misogynist illusions of the children of the upper classes.

The left depends on these independent spaces for our arguments to survive. 

Jonathan Kay’s piece, paradoxically, is the most forceful argument we need to stay the course for a new style of journalism and for new spaces for the left.