If you are a Canadian who follows the news semi-regularly, you will have most likely heard about Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s boycott against Sun Media. Trudeau took this stand after Ezra Levant, host of The Source, criticized a photo of Trudeau kissing a bride on her cheek.
If this might seem strange to you, let me take a quick step back. Justin’s father Pierre Elliott Trudeau was a notorious playboy. It was not uncommon for him to bring two dates to the same events, or even to have them attend banquets along with his wife Margaret, from whom he was at the time separated. Making Levant's slut remark rude but not unfounded.
The problem here is that people are using this as an example of Levant’s right to free speech, but as an employee of Sun Media he is portraying himself as a journalist to thousands if not millions of people. Of course, journalists write opinion pieces all the time, but what spoke loudest to me was the information he withheld.
He manages to completely gloss over any mention of what the bride herself thought, saying, “maybe she felt pressured into it, maybe she doesn’t even care about her wedding day and its meaning,” effectively implying that if she did let him kiss her on the cheek she was also some sort of immoral whore.
In a phone interview with The Huffington Post, the bride herself completely turns Levant’s argument on its head. “It was all our idea for him to come into the picture,” she said. The unnamed bride also went on to explain that it was her family that requested the kiss on her cheek, which Trudeau happily did… after first asking the grooms permission.
A general rule of any type of journalism is to first verify your facts before publication. Levant stated on twitter that he had tried to contact the bride, but that she had not responded. As a journalist, he makes a lot of claims without even having the decency to back them up. Levant claimed that Trudeau was turning “her special day” into a publicity event to make him look “sexy,” when in fact it’s Levant turning what should be a happy wedding memory into a political jab at the Liberal party.
The issue here isn’t whether or not Levant called Pierre Elliott Trudeau a “slut” it is completely based in the fact that he thinks that this is an issue of free speech for journalists. I wonder if Sun Media will give Levant a quick refresher in Canadian libel laws, probably not… they have always leaned a little too far right to worry about something as icky as journalistic integrity.