Mon, 05/22/2017 - 17:36

Posted by Lauren McKeon on October 25, 2011

Ezra Levant's report on Occupy Toronto was, perhaps unsurprisingly, pretty negative.

Levant kicked off his commentary by dubbing the Toronto campground Insite -- seemingly referring to Vancouver's Insite (supervised injection) program. (In case you didn't get the joke, the phrase "Occupy Toronto or Insite Toronto?" played on the bottom of the screen.) Levant was joined by Newswire host Jacqui Delaney, who dubbed the protesters "loogans" -- part hooligan, part looser  -- and referred to the movement as that "silly little occupy movement."

Together, they recapped a series of clips featuring Levant at the Occupy Toronto site. Under the premise of trying to make sense of it all, they both really poked fun at the protesters. (Though at the end, Delaney, mindful of criticism that the press aren't paying enough attention to the movement, seriously thanked Levant for "going down and representing all of us".)

You can watch the whole thing here:


Surely, some of the protesters do come across as looking silly -- but you've got to wonder how much of it is thanks to some unflattering editing.

An unedited clip released by one of the protesters does suggest a different story -- or at least a possible more complete one:

Levant, for instance, never mentions many of the protesters followed him around in a group, loudly demanding he answer their questions -- while also asking for more time to fully explain theirs.

The context surrounding the eventual chant for Levant to "clean the john's or leave the park" never made it on the air, either -- even though Levant took particular glee in explaining the activists tried to kick him out.

That culminating incident came after Levant asked one man, who was had already told Levant he was cleaning the public outhouses and who was clearly wearing plastic gloves (though the Sun camera cut this part of the frame off), whether he thought he was too good to work at McDonald's. The man had told Levant McDonald's had poor working conditions and he didn't think anybody should work there.

This didn't go over well back at the Sun studio. "He'll eat at Mcdonald's but he won't work there," quipped Levant, "That's for brown people. That's not for fancy white kids like him"

The Sun's clip didn't include the crowd asking Levant if he'd work at McDonald's, or the man asking him if he'd like to do a McDonald's job and help him clean the overflowing outhouses -- all of which lead to the chant, which he suggested came out of nowhere.

The network also never aired the repeat-after-me chant assessing Levant's news skills. After demanding why the crowd thought he should clean outhouses he hadn't used (OK, he used the term "shit in"), one protester lead this chant, saying the outhouses were beside the point: "It's that your analysis is shit that we thought it was an appropriate job."

Without the swearing, tell us what you think: Was the Sun team unfair -- or did Levant give the protesters a fair shake?

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.