I came to this late after the idiocy had already been scrubbed but, apparently, Ottawa journo Glen McGregor allowed himself to be goaded into childish dumbth by Rebel News hack and self-described oil patch trailer trash Sheila Gunn Reid. As I can piece it together from indirect evidence, Reid called out McGregor for alleged conflict of interest involving McGregor's ex-wife being employed by the WE charity. Rather than knowing how to properly respond to the perpetual sleazefest and deliberate provocation that is Rebel News, McGregor apparently took the bait, made an ass of himself on Twitter, then scrubbed the evidence. Point: Rebel News.
Before I explain what McGregor should have done, first some schadenfreude. It was only a few years ago when the bottom-dwelling scavengers at Rebel News were being refused accreditation to events they wanted to attend (and crap all over) that various Canadian journalistic endeavours, boasting of their nobility and fairness and sense of journalistic solidarity and whatever the fuck they thought they were bringing to the table, stepped up and defended Der Rebel; in return, Rebel has subsequently taken a steaming dump on the lot of them ever since.
Some of us tried to warn them; for our troubles, we were ignored. So ... how's that sense of solidarity working out for you journos? Yeah, I thought so. In any event, to business, and my take on how McGregor should have responded in a way that would not have seen him getting spanked publicly.
There is always a little irony in anyone from Der Rebel accusing others of bias or a conflict of interest, given that Rebel News appears to float on an ocean of conflict of interest, driven by little more than what fills their coffers. Much of this is speculation, but I believe I can paint a compelling picture, so let's go for a stroll.
First, it's all about the mailing lists.Whenever you see an org like Rebel creating and promoting eight zillion fundraisers and twice that number of useless petitions, it's almost a certainty that the goal is to create a priceless collection of contacts that can be used for solicitation/fundraising, especially if one can rent that list out to others for the same purpose. And why do I think this?
It's because I am, in fact, on Rebel's mailing list. No, I did not sign up -- the evidence suggests I was added as a cruel joke, but it turns out that being on that list has been remarkably informative since part of what is dumped on me is clearly campaign material representing the occasional political candidate who appears to have handed over cash in order to have their nonsense spewed forth to Rebel's target demographic of mostly illiterate, racist, xenophobic, hygienically-challenged, mouth-breathing troglodytes. This material can generally be identified as it comes tagged with the phrase "Sponsored Content," which kind of gives away the game, if you catch my drift.
So what's the potential problem with this scenario? I'm glad you asked.
Speculating just a little further, if one simply follows the money (as one is always advised to do), it would seem that there is at least a little conflict of interest in:
- advertising a clearly right-wing-flavoured mailing list to right-wing political candidates,
- taking money from said candidates to promote their candidacy or fundraise for them, then
- subsequently interviewing those candidates, peppering them with softball questions and relentlessly touting their virtues to your viewers.
For Rebel News "Alberta Bureau Chief" and head screech harpy Sheila Gunn Reid to yammer on about someone else's conflict of interest if her own "media outlet" is doing the above would be just a wee bit hypocritical, wouldn't you say? And is there any proof of this? Well, apart from the "Sponsored Content" I've seen, some Rebel coverage does seem more than a little slanted, as some of the recent CPC leadership candidates got fawning coverage, while others got ripped several new orifices. Even now, after the leadership race is over, Rebel still seems to be oddly gushing over losing candidate Leslyn Lewis:
Is one allowed to ask whether this ongoing hero worship involves any quid pro quo? (And, hey, as conservatives love to say, I'm not making any accusations, I'm only asking, right?)
In any event, the next time anyone from Rebel News has the temerity to start slinging around accusations of bias or conflict of interest, it might be amusing to ask if they're taking actual money to promote the very people they end up interviewing and praising on air.
Hey, I'm only asking.
BONUS TRACK: I distinctly remember at least one "Sponsored Content" blast from Rebel on behalf of deranged wingnut Maxime Bernier and, lo and behold, look who Rebel Media is touting today:
What are the odds?
Have I made my point? Yeah, I think I've made my point.
You're welcome, Glen McGregor.
UPPITY DATE: Oh, Good Lord ... as if to prove my point, Rebel News continues to fawn all over failed CPC leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis: