I make no comment about the guilt or innocence of Patrick Brown. Instead I’m addressing the issue of political bias in Canadian media that his controversy has recently highlighted. Included is a new #MeToo allegation involving the Liberal Party of Canada and CTV News, from the adjacent riding.
Mr. Brown occupies the Simcoe-North landscape and these allegations arise from Simcoe-Grey. Although they’re extremely different in nature, what they do share is a deep concern with the way CTV is impacting various #MeToo complaints in the political arena. Through personal experience as a reporter, I believe this relates to management at CTV News and not necessarily the journalists.
Exactly one year ago, I approached the outlet to amend and expand its story about an alleged child sex predator who’s been criminally charged. They covered the matter of Jared Nolan, abusing his access to patient data at the Alliston hospital to lure children and distribute child pornography. The case is so serious that a special police task force was established to investigate further. I believe Nolan’s charges are still winding through the courts and the last news available noted new child complainants coming forward.
The problem is that I knew Mr. Nolan personally, as a political colleague. I had information that was incredibly relevant to his case, as well as the Liberal Party of Canada. We worked together on the riding’s board of directors when he was criminally charged and I was aware he had access to thousands more children through the party and its Liberalist database. He had the highest level of access to every child volunteer and member of the Young Liberals across the entire country. He also led groups of youth volunteers during the last federal election (details here).
That alone was good enough reason to investigate Nolan’s use of child data within the LPC, to see if any young volunteers were part of the sexual complaints that were being investigated criminally. But more disconcerting were the circumstances between the Alliston hospital (Stevenson Memorial) and the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association (SGFLRA).
Mr. Nolan had no experience in healthcare before taking a senior position at the hospital, that reported to the board of directors. He wasn’t known to the local riding association before taking an executive position with the SGFLRA either. Nolan began both these positions at the same time, after dropping off the political radar for at least a decade. He was once a senior staffer in Ottawa, with no explanation why he went from a high-profile job in a minister’s office, to complete obscurity and menial employment for a period of ten years.
Nolan only had two connections that anyone could cite. He was close with our LPC candidate, who sat on the hospital board of directions. He was close with the candidate’s campaign director who also sat on the hospital board of directors. Otherwise Nolan had no connection to this region and he was not known to anyone else. He basically appeared from nowhere and became a big-wig overnight, at the side of these two gentlemen. All of a sudden the Liberal riding association and the Alliston hospital were being run by the same three people.
Neither of the other two men were charged and my comments do not impugn them. But the investigation remains ongoing and they both oversaw Nolan’s work at the hospital, in addition to the SGFLRA. The patient data that Nolan is alleged to abuse as a hunting ground for child sex victims was additionally managed by one of these very colleagues, according to their LinkedIn profiles.
My first concern was that police didn’t question anyone in the Liberal riding association. They weren’t aware that connection existed, or that Nolan had access to more sensitive information about a much greater number of children through the party. The Liberalist is an extensive database that can track them in real-time. In some cases it knows if the kids are dating, what their schedules look like, what their home situation is like, and if they have emotional vulnerabilities. Hospital patient data doesn’t contain sensitive details like this and if Nolan is found guilty, his access to the Liberalist poses a tremendous threat (details here).
The hospital set out to conduct an internal investigation, in parallel with the police. But I believe they were also unaware of these professional-political connections, because no one can name the executives on any riding association board, aside from the advertised candidate. I have evidence that indicated the three men never disclosed their political conflict-of-interest to the hospital as well. It complicated matters that the riding exec who oversaw patient data at the hospital departed for a different region of health care facilities upon the charges being laid against Nolan. It’s not clear if that relationship was ever investigated, even from the hospital’s perspective. (I reiterate this person was never accused of wrongdoing, but he was the most knowledgeable witness in the Nolan case that no one was questioning.)
Moreover, unsettling photos and deeper connection between that campaign exec and Nolan began appearing on social media. This is despite the fact that Nolan was banned from using the internet as a condition of his bail and house arrest. It was unclear if these posts constituted an accusation against the Liberal colleague, a threat to the Liberal colleague’s daughter, or if it was a cry for help. Whatever it was, it definitely violated the terms of bail.
In the meantime a forensic warrant was executed and at that very moment, someone tampered with the evidence. All of Jared Nolan’s connections to the Liberal Party of Canada were altered or outright deleted. I have proof of that as well. It caused so much concern that I contacted Anna Gainey as an LPC official, to have the party intervene for the sake of protecting due process. It surely wouldn’t help if another individual was charged for obstructing a forensic warrant and the LPC sincerely needed to protect the children in our riding.
It was astonishing, but there was proof of receiving my letters and the LPC refused to respond. Instead they supported the campaign exec who oversaw patient data, in threatening me with defamation to obstruct my police report. The party actively covered-up its relationship with Jared Nolan and declined to intervene to prohibit this evidence from being destroyed. It declined to let anyone know an election campaign official was criminally charged with heinous sex crimes against children, that are alleged to happen over the course of that campaign. It prevented the parents of children who volunteered with Nolan during that time from knowing, so they could ask if their own kids were okay (details here).
A year ago there was no #MeToo movement to help get this message out. I sought to strike a middle ground between victim rights and Charter rights by asking the party to establish Vulnerable Sector background checks for anyone seeking to work with our riding executive. That would have prevented anyone criminally charged or under investigation from working with sensitive children’s data in the Liberalist and in our community. It’s non-judgmental, from either perspective, and it’s already a norm in the volunteer industry.
But the LPC refused to do this too. They refused to protect youths in the Liberal Party of Canada, as well as youths in our riding where an executive was already charged with multiple complaints of child luring and child pornography. The party’s reaction to cover this up made them behave so badly that they didn’t even remove Jared Nolan as the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association’s Executive Vice President. While incarcerated awaiting bail and under house arrest, Nolan maintained access to the Liberalist database for another two months, before he willingly stepped down. It was during that time disturbing photos of children connecting him to the other campaign executive began appearing on social media.
I was so concerned, unsure if another child was in danger, that I contacted the police, the news, and the Liberal Party of Canada, again.
In no uncertain terms I warned Anna Gainey and the LPC about its fiduciary duty, legal liability, and to stop intimidating me from reporting what I know to the authorities. I attempted to exercise the party’s constitution for emergency intervention by LPC brass, but that was met with LPC officials shutting down the procedure and revoking the party’s constitution entirely. They did that on camera in front of CTV News and ordered the reporter to stop recording. They threatened to remove CTV for trespassing if they filmed me saying anything about Jared Nolan. I was banned from saying his name or anything about him. This happened at the riding’s Annual General Meeting and no one was allowed to discuss or inform parents that our vice president was arrested for child sex crimes (details here).
After this happened, the CTV reporter was reassigned and not allowed to pursue this story. He wished to proceed and continued working with me to obtain more information, however. Another executive came forward as a witness to help convince the producers. Still, CTV wouldn’t tell the world that their story about a child sex predator was also about a Liberal executive. They blatantly censored Jared Nolan’s position with the riding and that he was working with youths during the election campaign at the time of these allegations. The only news CTV producers would allow to be reported is that Nolan worked at the Alliston hospital.
The next development defies common sense or any shred of human dignity. Because it’s such a bizarre decision, it will oddly strengthen Patrick Brown’s allegations against the broadcaster. I don’t mean to conflate the two issues, the two parties, or the adjacent ridings, but a pattern is emerging at CTV News that is equally harmful to the complainants and the accused(s). In my humble opinion, there’s a lapse in ethical direction and this management style is quite predatory.
I know in my example the CTV reporter didn’t wish to censor Jared Nolan’s status with the Liberals. He was trying to overturn the executive producer’s decision by supplying more evidence. In the case of ex-Conservative leader, Patrick Brown, it appears CTV management censored a third complainant because of her ties to the Liberal party as well. According to CANADALAND, the director of communications at CTV News said,
“In fact, we can confirm there was at least one other woman who came forward who made allegations of a sexual nature against Patrick Brown. We did not pursue her story due to her public support of the provincial Liberal party.”
It’s not likely that journalist Glen McGregor killed a third of his own exclusive about Patrick Brown. The management at CTV News needs to explain who keeps censoring Liberal sex allegations, whether it’s from an alleged perpetrator or a victim’s perspective. They say they don’t want to make the #MeToo movement a partisan political brawl, but they have no problem concealing the information when a Liberal is criminally charged, or when a Liberal is making the accusation. In contrast, anything seems like fair game if it’s about a Conservative politician, by another Conservative.
This situation is so unfortunate that I gave CTV News an earful last year. When the reporter in my example pushed to complete the story, he was told to cultivate children from our riding to interview as prospective victims. This is the only way CTV would release the information about Jared Nolan’s status with the Liberals. It didn’t matter that he was already under house arrest for prosecution as a child predator. Management required that a small flock of kids be located to canvass for new allegations, before they would alert the public about the danger that was already thoroughly established. They wished to create their own ‘exclusive’ by blindsiding local children and prodding them for salacious tips.
If you find this hard to believe, then please see all the evidence. I still have the text messages, emails, screencaps, video, and record of phone calls to prove everything I’ve said.
At that point I refused to work with CTV News due to its lacking ethics. I was so stunned by the outrageous plot to interfere with potentially vulnerable children that we didn’t get to argue about the network’s refusal to reference Nolan’s Liberal affiliation whatsoever. I lambasted CTV, this is how the innocent get incarcerated and the guilty go free.
I regret that my account will likely be used to discredit the complainants against Patrick Brown. That is not my agenda and I have no personal knowledge of that situation to comment on either side. But it behooves me to speak up when I know children are still in danger, a cover-up is still in progress, and the behaviour of CTV management is destroying everyone’s access to justice. CTV executives need to learn that they’re not the judge, jury, executioner, or a Crown representative to offer selective pardons. When both sides of the #MeToo movement are complaining there’s a political problem at CTV News, can we not agree there must be some issue? The accused are citing political interference. The victims are citing political interference. And witnesses are citing political interference.
In Simcoe-Grey, the political interference is so great that it crossed over between the news and police. There are conflict-of-interest issues affecting the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association. The candidate who oversaw Jared Nolan’s work at the hospital, as well as the election campaign, also sat on the OPP’s board of directors. The Liberal candidate publicly stated that he exercises influence over this particular police agency (details here).
Coincidentally, the OPP now refuses to accept evidence of Nolan’s access to children through the Liberal Party of Canada. They’ve charged him with luring children from the hospital and subsequent child pornography, but the lead investigator is refusing to investigate possible victims from the Liberalist and youth volunteering program.
In fact, the police took a 2-hour statement from me prior to LPC brass getting involved. After evidence was deleted and the party censored its business with Nolan, the OPP changed its tune and aggressively refused to take official statements anymore. They refused to provide a report number from the one I already submitted. They became unable to locate the officer who took my initial report. They declined to inform the crown attorney about this new evidence and scoffed at investigating Nolan’s relationship with children in the Liberal Party of Canada. This man is being painted as the most dangerous predator to children anywhere outside the Liberal party, but not within it. They believe Nolan was safe to manage sensitive children’s data within the Liberalist and spend intimate time with young volunteers for the past few years. He was not however safe to work with children’s data at the hospital, or be near young patients during the identical time period in the same neighbourhood (details here).
An open letter to the prime minister, justice minister, chiefs of police, crown attorney, all political parties, and the provincial youth advocate, was further ignored. The provincial advocate was the only entity to respond and he was sorry the agency couldn’t get involved. They didn’t feel they had a mandate to support children if sexual allegations involved a political party.
For an added bonus, the Globe and Mail responded from the Twilight Zone. Not only did they decline to report about Jared Nolan’s criminal charges and his executive position with the Liberals, but they also broke from journalism ethics by deleting a relevant speech from the prime minister that was inflammatory to the situation. The public editor responded to my complaint by saying she couldn’t accept the complaint at all. She accused me of trying to hack her computer because I didn’t type in the Globe and Mail’s preferred font. I couldn’t make this up if I tried and that email exchange is documented in the open letter as well. The Globe and Mail claims it can’t investigate ethical breaches from evidence outside the Globe and Mail publication. Their computers can’t access the internet, apparently (details here).
This experience was particularly devastating because the Globe and Mail reporter and public editor are females. The Liberal party official is female. The provincial advocate’s investigator is female. The Conservative member of parliament for our riding is also female and this group of women actively silenced the #MeToo movement before it had a name in the case of Jared Nolan. They hung female children out to dry for their own political advantage, as CTV News was seeking to exploit them from a male-dominated perspective. The sickness was so overwhelming and there was nowhere left to go, until the controversy with Patrick Brown provided an opportunity to try again. The irony isn’t lost on me and I hope it’s not lost on you. No matter anyone’s guilt or innocence or the veracity of complaints, this is indicative of political interference to retard sexual allegations within the Canadian political arena from everyone’s point of view.
Even the NDP’s white knight, in charge of ethical oversight, wouldn’t lift a finger to protect Liberal children in Simcoe County. It won’t help them to grandstand now, because they declined to care as the Official Opposition holding the government party to account. The Conservatives won’t benefit by crowing about an alleged child predator in the Liberal party either, because Kellie Leitch declined to speak for these kids despite being their MP, when she was too busy running for party leadership. (That too is documented.)
These events caused me to have to see the disgusting underbelly of our politics and media. It’s the reason I backed away from both, because I couldn’t be one of these willfully silent people. I was born with a voice and I’m tired of being gagged when my job is to be the messenger. It’s also impossible to overcome the censorship in Canadian media when it comes to reporting about politics and the government. Everyone has an agenda. It may change from month to month, but rest assured that our news is based on the whims of executive editors and producers, who don’t know the first thing about due process or the safety of women and children.
Another gem I’ve had to digest is that our police won’t act on political sex issues unless the political news decides it can be reported and potential victims consent to being publicly exploited. In this experience regarding Jared Nolan, it seems the LPC determines what CTV can report, then CTV decides if it will cajole the police to investigate.
Maybe if we confront this circle-jerk we can begin to sort it out. Goodness knows the #MeToo movement depends on our collective honesty and anything short of this is political lip service. If we continue at this rate, Gen Y will never vote, download a news app, or fund a police budget. At least the children in Simcoe-Grey and Simcoe-North won’t, because they have no reason to trust any of us. Here, they can’t safely tell their stories on either side of the equation, without someone seeking to exploit or silence them. I remain worried that because all parties are rife with sex allegations that they’ll continue silencing the children in Simcoe-Grey, if it doesn’t benefit their political agendas. The response to this statement will help me decide if the #MeToo movement is real in Canada, or just a tool to weaponize our women and children.
Full disclosure: For the record, I resigned from the Liberal riding association at the onset of these events. I never worked in media at the same time I engaged with local politics, and I’m not employed by any mainstream media currently. My only agenda is protecting these kids (full details here, including the letter of resignation).
In a stunning twist to the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, new details emerge from the reporter who broke this story that cast doubt on the professional integrity of his investigation. On or about December 11, 2014 and after charges were laid against Ghomeshi, Jesse Brown provided a friendly interview to Ed The Sock that raises considerable issues (clip appears below).
Ed The Sock is a provocative puppet personality and a former fixture at CityTV. The character was played by Steven Kerzner who no longer stars on MuchMusic, but he maintains an obscure podcast to keep in touch with nostalgic fans. Kerzner previously ran for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario before supporting the NDP, as well.
With fewer than 1,200 listeners, Brown admitted numerous details he withheld from the Ghomeshi exposé, that was eventually published in conjunction with the Toronto Star. A hearty dose of laughter accompanies this discussion about Brown’s “recriminations”, that may precipitate a need to examine his involvement.
Personal & Professional Conflicts at CBC
Jesse Brown begins by confessing he is a personal friend to Kathryn Borel, the former CBC producer who alleges Ghomeshi threatened to “hate f–k” her during a business meeting at Q. It is unknown whether Brown failed to disclose his personal conflicts, or if the Toronto Star agreed to withhold the information in light of Ms. Borel’s intention to remain anonymous at the onset. Neither Brown nor the Toronto Star would respond to questions about this matter.
Not only were Brown and Borel friends, but they were also coworkers. Jesse Brown failed to disclose his relationship with CBC as a radio host, in competition with Ghomeshi, at the very time Borel confided in him about the alleged harassment. The three were CBC colleagues and Brown now admits he was the employee who didn’t come forward to report the abuse. He goes on to suggest that all men need to have this conversation, about why they remain silent as he did and what is required of men to protect women in modern times.
From Brown’s perspective and due to the shrinking pool of available jobs in journalism, he felt that reporting Ghomeshi would result in losing his position for rocking the boat and forcing CBC to confront its workplace issues. No events were mentioned to cause this apprehension, but Brown freely admits his own ambition was a factor in staying quiet, as the only person who also confesses to knowing about Borel’s predicament. Every insult and allegation leveled against Q staff and CBC producers was ultimately directed inward.
CBC Complaint & The Missing Witness
The other part of Brown’s explanation for remaining silent raises issues for the internal investigation. CBC hired an outside lawyer to determine what went wrong, because Borel claims to have submitted a complaint that was ignored by the union and broadcaster.
However, the Canadian Media Guild denied receiving a complaint that included sexual harassment allegations and CBC is under fire for failing to discover corresponding records that identify her claim. In the audio clip, Jesse Brown mentions that Borel never made a complaint and he was sworn to secrecy because she didn’t wish to come forward. He says it wasn’t his place to betray Borel’s wishes and he supported his friend by instructing her to keep notes, at least.
Brown adds there was a witness to the former producer’s allegation; but none was mentioned in the Toronto Star report, witnesses were excluded from the Ghomeshi narrative and Brown is continuing to withhold that name. Without it, neither the CBC nor the police and Ghomeshi’s lawyers can investigate.
Kathryn Borel also approached foreign press at The Guardian to finish telling her story, instead of sharing with the immediately concerned Canadian media. In her editorial, Borel adds new sexual assault allegations that accuse Ghomeshi of massaging her upper body and thrusting his private area into her backside (clothed). She claims there was a witness to this event in support of Brown’s recent interview, but doesn’t disclose that name either.
The Toronto Star and Jesse Brown declined to comment about their knowledge of Borel’s newly published allegations. It’s unknown if Borel withheld this information in her anonymous account, or if the investigating reporters withheld these details since the beginning. The more fulsome description that was published in another country isn’t aided by Brown’s confession that he “amended details” about all the women’s stories, due to his self perceived “license” to direct, craft and alter their reports.
This is also the first time a friendship between Kathryn Borel and Jesse Brown was disclosed, by the complainant and not the journalist. Furthermore, Brown admits he was the one to solicit Borel’s allegation for the news. He explains sharing her story with the other women and offering to seek his friend’s support to bolster their claims.
Based on Jesse Brown’s confession, there appears to be a conflict of interest to protect his old job while selectively blaming former colleagues and censoring the bulk of details that include his direct involvement. Ethics forbid this behaviour and the failure to disclose, but Brown admits he is new to investigative journalism and believes that online reporting is allowed to play by ‘different rules’ than the mainstream is required to uphold. These rules are understood by journalists as libel law and issues that concern truth in reporting, vetting and verification.
Were The Women Using Jesse?
In this interview with Ed The Sock, Jesse Brown elaborates on the other female complainants. He describes the initial email from the first woman and says it led to consecutive interviews with the others. Brown nor the Toronto Star would comment if the first complainant coordinated the others, or if these women approached Brown independently.
But he did accuse the females of “using him”. When Ed The Sock realized the inappropriate nature of this comment, he guided Brown to describe the event as washing each other’s hands, as opposed to being used. Brown responds by agreeing and admits his professional position was compromised, that he crossed into “sticky territory” as a supportive and friendly therapist. There were questions if the women were “pissed off”, that Brown used their friendship to obtain a story – one they didn’t wish to be told. He describes a process of having to remind the complainants about his status as a reporter, when they shared details about their relationships with Ghomeshi.
To achieve the females’ consent, Brown admits he amended details and yet there were still “certain places they didn’t want him to go”. He admits altering more than their names and “all sorts of stuff” was withheld. This suppression occurred in concert with censorship that Brown demanded, because to him this wasn’t about a sex scandal. In his license and authority to reconstruct the narrative, he admits fighting with the Toronto Star to bury and exclude information that would shift from his focus on violence and CBC as a sick institution.
Regarding acts of sexual violence, Jesse Brown reports the women questioning their memories and if they could trust their recollections. According to the interview, he describes having to “push and pull” the complainants to obtain their information and admits “media proofing” them prior to the Toronto Star‘s publication.
Strombo Equated With Ghomeshi, Levant On A Pedestal
Expanding on Brown’s view about the real problem surrounding Jian Ghomeshi, he blames the CBC for creating stars when they’ve done nothing to earn that prestige. To him, this wasn’t about the criminal charges and rather the success of talent that he doesn’t deem worthy. Brown goes on to discuss his greater performance and believes he lost his position at CBC because they’re not looking for skilled staff of his caliber.
For some time Brown rants about the employment of George Stroumboulopoulus and claims the same case can be made against him as Ghomeshi. It’s not that Brown is alleging sexual misconduct, but this drives the point home that his concerns about Ghomeshi didn’t focus on the women or the alleged assaults. To him, this was strictly about the future of CBC, his own access to employment and ratings.
It’s Ed The Sock who feels compelled to defend George Strombo and he appears surprised by Brown’s attack. The clash occurs again when Brown slurs “they could never wash the CityTV off” and then accuses CBC of poaching unmerited celebrity from competitors like MuchMusic and bands like the one Ghomeshi starred in.
To provide context, Jesse Brown lavishes Ezra Levant with admiration for his exceptional talent at pushing everyone’s buttons. Two weeks before this commentary, Levant lost an $80,000 lawsuit that was filed against him for defamation. The judge cited his “reckless disregard for the truth”, but this had no effect on Brown’s perception of successful news personalities, versus the substandard celebrity he attributes to the CBC and the vast majority of Canadian entertainment.
Politics & Jeffrey Dvorkin
In another interview with J-Source that slightly pre-dates the Ghomeshi story, Brown describes himself as a bitter and disgruntled, ex-employee of the CBC. He says Canadaland was losing money and the show’s more generous sponsorship had come to an end. At the midpoint of a Ghomeshi investigation, Brown told The Walrus he was struggling so badly that filmmakers and comedy writers were being added to cover the gap in entertainment. He felt the podcast had become poisonous to his connections and career.
These commentaries span a few months and mere weeks before the Ghomeshi story broke, he lamented about a need for stable funding to continue. Brown attributes some optimism to daily encouragement he received from other journalists, specifically naming Jeffrey Dvorkin.
Dvorkin hails from Calgary, Alberta and now serves as the Director of Journalism at the University of Toronto. Before that, he held positions in Canada at CBC Radio and on the stateside at NPR. In 2010, he accepted an assignment from the U.S. Department of State, to lecture Niger and Guinea on the role of press in elections. This was followed by a similar mission to teach Turkish reporters about their powers in 2011, despite the widespread incarceration of journalists and a government-media scandal that ensued.
Dvorkin is also a major force behind the push to remove CBC from television airwaves, converting solely to internet production and the often debated Canadian Netflix. He was making this case at the same time Jesse Brown began the Ghomeshi investigation.
Before any news about the sexual allegations surfaced, Dvorkin appeared on Canadaland to encourage support for the dismantling and reconstruction of CBC. During this interview with Jesse Brown, Dvorkin scoffs at senior CBC staff for suggesting that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals would restore funding to cure their ills. He closes by citing cuts from Liberal governments as the reason he left CBC for greener pastures in the United States.
This viewpoint appears to influence Jesse Brown’s position, as heard in the audio clip with Ed The Sock. At length, he parrots the same talking points and goes on to assert the CRTC should plan for obsolescence too. This rant is peppered with much criticism for Canadian talent and programming, with a dig at ACTRA forming part of the exchange.
It should be noted that Lucy DeCoutere, one of the Ghomeshi complainants, is also one of these Canadian actors that Brown carelessly disparages with gusto, in addition to his description of feeling used.
Friends & Eyes Wide Shut
Less known is Brown’s entry into the lucrative tech business, as the co-creator of Bitstrips. This app was once popular on social media and allows users to express their lives in cartoon caricature versions of themselves. It’s still popular in the school system and the company received a $3 million investment, but articles about Bitstrips fail to mention Brown and he’s the only source to assert this relationship. He declined to answer questions from FreeThePressCanada about this issue.
In his other pursuits, Brown’s investigation of Ghomeshi benefited from an allegation that arose from Professor Jeremy Copeland. The Toronto Star published that Copeland shunned his students from pursuing internships at Q due to inappropriate behaviour, but Western University denied this was possible and so did the student newspaper. Other journalism programs then came forward to deny issues or complaints about Ghomeshi at their facilities. The matter was never questioned or readdressed by the press.
Cautiously and coincidentally, Jeremy Copeland worked with the U.S. government to fill a similar role as Jeffrey Dvorkin. The former was the American spokesperson for out-of-country voting in Iraq and he trained Iraqi journalists how to cover their election after the war that responded to 9/11 attacks. The same as Turkey, this country descended into chaos and lost the battle for message control. Both are now mired by ISIS and political-media issues, along with the greatest threat to the survival of journalists.
Jesse Brown describes this cast of personalities as the media version of Eyes Wide Shut in his discussion with Ed The Sock. He claims the community is Toronto-centric and he singles out neighbourhoods from Beaches and the Annex, as those who know and contribute to the decline by playing along. Brown believes they’re all friends or married to one another and he admits being part of this dysfunctional but influential posse, that determines the narrative for Canadian views.
Brown describes the group as inbred and David Akin reminds everyone that Sun TV was pursuing a ‘hotbed’ of sexual harassment suspicions at CBC since the year before. He used the Ghomeshi scandal to suggest that CBC mislead parliament when it responded to accusations in the last round. In that example, the broadcaster was accused of processing 1,454 sexual harassment complaints in Toronto and Ottawa alone (proven untrue, see link for details). Regardless, Ezra Levant from Sun TV appeared on Canadaland a few days ago.
Cash Flow Returns, But Politics Remain
In Jesse Brown’s history with the CBC, he once faced a dispute about the right to republish work from The Contrarian on his own website. The broadcaster has a policy to archive online materials after a period of 2 years, thereby causing the content to become inaccessible. As Brown attempted to save his creative input from the compression pile, he received a takedown notice from CBC management and today these shows are nowhere to be found on the internet. When the same issue arose regarding Jian Ghomeshi and the public’s sensitivity toward archiving programs from Q, Brown was at the forefront pushing for this content to be relegated in the same manner.
After the Ghomeshi story broke, the Globe and Mail reported Brown’s income had risen to more than $9,000 per month. The Columbia Journalism Review went one step further and tracked these increases on a monthly basis since October – the same month Brown’s crowdfunding campaign went live and the Ghomeshi allegations were published.
One month after that major headline, Ed The Sock was a guest on Jesse Brown’s Canadaland in a role reversal. During this interview, Steven Kerzner (aka Ed), is asked about sexual misconduct allegations involving Moses Znaimer at CityTV. Odd behaviour is discussed, but Kerzner declines to contribute to any rumour mills.
When Brown visits Kerzner less than two weeks later, they discuss Jesse’s pitch to all the major publishers for an earlier version of his media criticism program. Brown reports he was prepared to be ‘more responsible and sober’ and ‘not a satirical’. These blanket denials to provide him with a venue resulted in the establishment of Canadaland, described in the audio clip as kicking people in the shins, in lieu.
When the income generated by Brown’s podcast hit the $10,000 per month benchmark, he intended to hire staff. Brown declined to answer questions about his income, but Sean D. B. Craig was employed to break the Amanda Lang story on behalf of Canadaland more recently. Craig is unknown as a journalist and no bio can be found online. Originally he promoted himself as a CBC producer on social media, but later apologized for the humorous misrepresentation, due to the commotion and confusion it caused. Brown then introduced his new hire as a “pinko comrade”. The term pinko is commonly directed toward supporters of the NDP, both fondly and as a slur.
Jesse Brown, CBC, the Toronto Star and lawyers for Jian Ghomeshi were contacted.
The CBC was approached with this audio clip and a proposal to run the story. Director of Government Relations, Shaun Poulter, was exceptionally helpful to facilitate contact with others at the broadcaster. The Head of Media Relations, Chuck Thompson, also took a concerned interest to facilitate discussion. The latter agreed this information should be forwarded to the external investigator, but a decision to print the story would need to come from the news department directly.
Thompson involved the senior producer of CBC News, Ian Kalushner. After three days of debating the story without hearing the file, he declined any proposition to provide coverage. Mr. Thompson was then re-approached and encouraged to review the clip before another publication was canvassed, in lieu of the broadcaster’s response.
At this time Thompson attended the news department to discuss the clip with Kalushner. A compromise was reached and the reporter regularly assigned to the Ghomeshi file was asked to evaluate the evidence, as the most knowledgeable person about these developments on staff. CBC News expressed hesitation to publish freelance work, despite the fact that FreeThePressCanada had a history of reporting politics for the broadcaster in years past.
After another five day lapse, CBC journalist Ioanna Roumeliotis accepted the file for review. Both she and producer Ian Kalushner responded,
“You would be accurate to describe my assessment of the audio clip as material that is not newsworthy.”
Chuck Thompson responded,
“… I don’t make editorial decisions for CBC News and I know you have been in touch with them. It’s their call as to whether or not they want to go further with what you have discussed.”
Jesse Brown was notified about the impending article and presented with 42 questions for comment. He declined to provide answers and politely rebutted,
“The story of my investigation of Jian Ghomeshi is an important one that I will tell the public in detail.
It will take a lot of work and care. Here’s what I need to be mindful of:
Protecting my sources’ identities. Presenting a full account may expose them, so I need to go over everything very carefully, consulting with them where possible to remove identifying details.
Legal concerns. The professional and personal behaviour of many people will be discussed, so this story needs to get lawyered.
Accuracy. This is a complicated story, key aspects of which unfolded rapidly. I need to go over hundreds of notes and emails and dozens of public documents. Since I see no immediate urgency in reporting this story as soon as possible (I’m not finished with the investigation of Jian itself yet!) I’m going to take my time and tell it as precisely and as well as possible.
Finally, I am in the news business, so of course my intention is to save all this stuff for my own report.”
The Toronto Star was provided with a similar opportunity to comment and 25 related questions. Multiple attempts were made to contact investigative journalist, Kevin Donovan, and the newspaper’s editor, Michael Cooke. Both were informed they are the only source that refuses to respond, beyond Mr. Donovan’s messages to inquire about the nature of these questions on social media.
That silence was broken by an unrelated Toronto Star columnist, Jack Lakey, who proceeded to insult and intimidate FreeThePressCanada for approaching his colleagues to send the email inquiry.
Henein Hutchinson LLP accepted the audio clip quite recently. The law firm representing Jian Ghomeshi hasn’t received a reasonable amount of time to examine and comment. If a statement is forthcoming, this article will be edited to include that response.
The Clip: Jesse Brown & Ed The Sock
Please be advised this audio contains profanity and racial, religious jokes that some may find offensive. Originally published by Ed The Sock’s Soundcloud account, December 11, 2014. This is re-posted for news reporting and fair comment purposes (original source).
Also, this investigation isn’t meant to detract from the seriousness of allegations against Jian Ghomeshi, a police investigation, or the equitable court process. It is not meant to discourage victims from seeking justice, through professional, compassionate and capable members of law enforcement. This investigation only reflects the techniques of a journalist and ethical reporting. No inference or suggestion about the female complainants or Jian Ghomeshi is made by FreeThePressCanada.
2013 was an amazing year for journalists around the world. A record number of fearless reporters were kidnapped, killed or silenced by their governments for heroic efforts to bring you the truth. This was the original intention of the Fourth Estate, to act as a counterbalance to government by keeping the honesty of politicians in check.
However, as we learn about the extent of NSA spying, it has also led to revelations about CSEC (the Canadian partner) and Five Eyes allies, causing everyone to question their freedom of speech and any existence of freedom of the press. Some thought Canada was a pillar of civil liberties and her people would not succumb to intimidation or the shift to corporate mainstream media, that has replaced journalism with public relations advertising in a perfected exercise of bait and switch.
As an affected freelance investigative reporter, I’m here to say this viewpoint was beautifully hopeful but sincerely misplaced. I’ve seen political gatekeepers installed as editors across the spectrum, to a point it is no longer feasible to publish articles with any grit. I was raised in an era that empowered journalists and instilled a duty to hold bright torches in every dark corner. They doggedly pursued the truth and while it didn’t win them many friends, the respect they earned was celebrated as a necessary tool to maintain a functioning democracy.
Today is not the same. I’ve written many investigations for larger outfits like CBC, the Huffington Post Canada and Open Government projects. Some of my work has been syndicated in the US and I’ve also been a guest on politically driven radio and television programs. Since the global rise of corporations over government and government over the people though, I can no longer publish these stories. Aside of becoming virtually blacklisted at major outlets, my family has also become the target of harassment and intimidation, in an effort to silence this work completely.
Despite this, I am not a fan of cowering to fear or trading ethics and integrity for PR dollars. My family feels the same because we were cut from the same cloth and they support me in this endeavour to speak, whenever the mainstream would prefer to keep things quiet. This project will begin with my own investigations, but if other persecuted journalists can add reliable, independent reports, their work will be (vetted for accuracy and) welcomed in the future. If you have a burning story with irreproachable evidence and you are unafraid – then you’re invited to get in touch.
Unfortunately most reporters of the investigative ilk have relinquished their incomes for the sake of telling the truth, so please request permission with appropriate fee to re-publish in other venues. Otherwise linking from this site is appreciated and approved. Thanks for your support to restore bona fide journalism and hopefully in the process, a respectful democracy.
Yours very truly,