Andrew Potter doesn’t know squat

- April 6th, 2011

Andrew Potter, writer and thinker. Not a prostitute, intellectual or otherwise.

I am an intellectual prostitute. I know this because Andrew Potter told me so and if anyone knows intellectual prostitutes it’s Andrew Potter.

Andrew who?

For those of you unfamiliar with Potter he is, “a Canadian philosopher, author, and magazine columnist.” According to his Wikipedia entry, which he surely wrote himself, Potter has an academic background in “metaphysics and political philosophy, post-secondary educational policy, branding, consumerism and popular culture. He maintains an interest in technology and the future of the news media.”

Ring any bells?

You might have read him in your dentist’s office if you picked up Macleans where he supposedly has a column or in Canadian Business where he writes stuff but otherwise…..meh.

Oh, and he wrote a book called Authenticity Hoax, which remarkably is a book on our culture and not his autobiography.

Anyway, Potter is upset because I wrote an article that linked one of his friends to the CBC Vote Compass in a way he didn’t like. In the article I pointed out that Peter Loewen, a University of Toronto political science professor, is part of CBC’s Vote Compass.

Of course I didn’t point this out to promote CBC’s “tool.” The state broadcaster is doing plenty of promotion on their own. What was also of interest was part of Loewen’s past.

Loewen was a policy advisor on Michael Ignatieff’s failed 2006 Liberal leadership campaign.

Cue Potter’s outrage!

In addition to being upset that I wrote a story critical of one his pals, Potter claims that I engaged in a “deliberate withholding of facts.”

“As Peter Loewen himself told Lilley when Lilley interviewed him for his March 31 story, Loewen did the same sort of work for Harper in 2004 that he later did for Ignatieff. Loewen was also a staffer for a  Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative leadership candidate in 2005. And he once donated money to Pierre Poilievre’s nomination campaign.”

Sounds like I did something wrong here. Potter tells me I’ve been a bad, bad boy.

“This information was available to Brian Lilley, his editor, and to Ezra Levant. It is thoroughly despicable that it was not included in the stories that were published.”

Loewen never told me that he “did the same sort of work for Harper in 2004 that he later did for Ignatieff.” What he did say is that he “did some work” for Flanagan.

Well, we checked with Flanagan, actually he emailed us to defend Loewen ahead of us contacting him and here’s what he said.

“Peter didn’t work for me in the sense of being a paid employee, but I shared data and discussed things with him.  I have no doubts about his objectivity.  I’d hate to see a promising young guy like him become roadkill on the media highway.”

So while it could have been nice to include the line about Flanagan defending Loewen’s objectivity, to do so would have required me pointing out that Flanagan denied the young academic worked for him.

Just for the record, there were other emails about this. Flanagan denied Loewen worked for him or the Harper campaign. Here’s an email from Flanagan on April 5th, after The Globe chimed in on this.

“The story has gotten a little distorted, I think.  He was never on my payroll.  I think maybe five years ago I sent him some data when we were emailing back and forth about a research project of his.  I really can’t recall the details.”

And then again on April 6th after Macleans repeated the CBC claim that Loewen had worked on the Harper campaign.

“He was not a paid employee of the national campaign in 2004.  I don’t know what he may have done in a local campaign.  After the campaign, I had a lengthy email correspondence with him about some research he was doing, and I think we shared some data.”

I normally wouldn’t share private emails, especially ones that I wasn’t even a part of, but someone else has released some of this and is using it to claim I left out information.

Again, if I had included the claim that Loewen had worked for Flanagan, now exaggerated by CBC and his supporters to say he worked on the Harper campaign, I would have had to have included Flanagan’s denial and essentially called Loewen a liar.

So what about the other info?

Loewen did tell me he worked on Bill Black’s bid for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party in Nova Scotia. Really that’s not the point here. The story was about someone connected to a controversial voting guide that had links to one of the leaders in a federal election. In addition, provincial and federal parties don’t always match up, just look at Liberals in BC.

It is also true that Loewen once gave $50, that’s what he told me, to Pierre Poilievre’s nomination race in 2004. The young would-be MP is an old roommate of Poilievre’s. My old roommate is a big Liberal who I have helped with campaigns, including helping to raise far in excess of $50. I was helping a friend back then and that’s what Loewen was doing.

I included the most pertinent connection to the Tories there was. Loewen told me he gave $100 to attend a fundraiser for Stephen Harper to hear the Conservative leader speak. I also included Loewen saying he had no role in the placement of the parties and that he was not biased.

It appears Potter, CBC and others would have preferred I remain silent on this issue but something tells me no one would have been silent if it was Ian Brodie, the academic turned Harper chief of staff, who was working on Vote Compass.

I’ve now written about twice as many words to explain my story as I did in telling it. I shouldn’t have to do this, other media outlets don’t attack the journalism of their competitors the way they attack Sun Media.

There are a couple of simple reasons for this.

First we are about to launch Sun News Network. Lots of people don’t like that. We promise to be different, to steal away part of their audience and they were quite comfy with the way things were before we came along.

Second, I’ve been pretty active in the pages of all our papers in writing about CBC and their dismal record in telling us where they spend the $1.1 billion tax dollars that they receive from us each year. Journalists, especially elite ones like Potter or those in the Press Gallery, LOVE CBC. And I mean LOVE.

In my experience, when a reporter on Parliament Hill says they saw something on the news or heard it on the radio they are inevitably talking about CBC. Peter Mansbridge may host the third most watched national newscast but for Hill people he’s still number one!

It is important to note that CBC probably has about one-third of the memberships in the Parliamentary Press Gallery. Then there are all the other reporters. When you see a reporter from another media outlet on CBC giving their analysis, just remember they are not there for free.

CBC pays anywhere from $200 an appearance for these extra reporters and analysts to close to $1,000 per appearance.

Your tax dollars buying up the gallery.

If you’ve ever wondered why there are not more stories on CBC and how they spend your money, you now know the answer. It wouldn’t do to bite the hand feeding you.

I’d stick up for Ezra Levant, my fellow intellectual prostitute, but Ezra’s already done pretty well himself.

Categories: CBC

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10 comments

  1. bigcitylib says:

    You didn’t mention that big expose you did on CBC not being able to account for all of its chairs. Because that was, like, major.

  2. Gabby in QC says:

    For what it’s worth, Mr. Lilley, I’ve always found your reports very informative and quite balanced.

    I appreciate your persistence in getting CBC to comply with ATI requests. It’s regrettable that journalists/pundits and bloggers, for that matter, who champion freedom of expression are so quick to either try to limit or contest someone else’s exercise of that very freedom. The advent of Sun TV has raised the hackles of some media personalities fearful of losing their grip on disseminating their version of “information/news.”

    I trust you will continue to produce reliable reports and columns.

  3. Lawrence says:

    Yes Gabby but it is more than media bias.
    It’s utter contempt for the Canadian people.
    All done in order to create the perception that the minority are the majority and the majority are bad, racist, homophobic, mysoginistic, francophobic, religious, conservative, from Alberta etc.; labels are used as weapons to try to destroy counter opinion and to intimidate Canadians into not speaking up or speaking their minds.
    This is about how the biased and co-opted mainstream media in Kanada kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people and collude to shape the news in favor of one political ideology.
    It IS criminal.

    Mr. Lilley is a ‘knight in shining armor’ in outing these hacks.

  4. Platty says:

    Once again, bigcitylibs hair is blowing in the wind as the point rushes swiftly over his head while he teeters dangerously off topic……

    =

  5. Guy says:

    Well said Brian, I don’t think you need to defend yourself or your actions as a working journalist, you did your Job and you gave us a good story, I am sure this will be the first of many sparring sessions oyu will have as you start rubbing elbows in the press gallery with…. “the Hill people” Great work, we are starving for ” good journalism without the Liberal spin ” nice to have met you yesterday,

    Guy

  6. anonymous coward says:

    bigcitylib, bigcitylib. Talking of major, has your party found and returned the Adscam millions yet? You know, the money that helped steal an election?

  7. Geoff says:

    @bigcitylib – I think that when the taxpayer spends anywhere from $200-$1000 on a chair – and then cannot account for these purchases it is news. In fact, any government institution that is cavalier about its spending and the accountability of that spending to the public should have its budget cut. I don’t know about you, but $200 is a lot of money to me and to the rest of us peons!!

  8. badbeta says:

    Good question anonymous coward, in fact I have asked the Liberal Party of Canada that question thrice in the past week. I also asked when they plan to name the Quebec MP’s and candidates that took dirty ADSCAM money. Alas, they never respond. :( Maybe that littletwitliberal can answer that for us.

  9. Chris says:

    Professor Potter is author of two successful, left-antagonizing books taking umbrage with the central thesis of books like Naomi Klein’s No Logo. Your ilk would actually enjoy them (If you bothered to actually investigate, inside of just offering some cheap ad hominem attack)

    These include The Authenticity Hoax and The Rebel Sell. The latter has a cover featuring Che Guevara on a latte cup and “betrays a deep conservatism” according to one review.

    Pretty rich to be so dismissive—I’ve never heard of YOU, Mr. Lilley, until Sun Media was launched.

    Regarding Vote Compass’ default position, if it shows that people with no opinion on anything are voting liberal….It pretty much provides justification that people who are disengaged, are blindly vote for the Big Red Machine (also the nickname of the Hells Angels, fittingly) in the mushy middle. I think that’s pretty accurate.

  10. Chris says:

    I mean..”Sun TV News”…and blindly voting, not vote.

Comments are closed.