Jesse Brown might need some vitamin d and therapy, but his online site Canadaland has good people who do good work. They do public outrage news, dragging top-shelf collusion out of dark corners into the light to look woke, and this Brian Lilley/Doug Ford story is a great example.
Canadaland: Shortly after midnight on May 6, 2018, Ottawa talk radio host Brian Lilley was irate.
Seemingly frustrated by a development in the ongoing Ontario election, in which the Progressive Conservatives removed and replaced one of their most socially conservative candidates, he took out his annoyance on the Toronto Star‘s Queen’s Park bureau chief, Robert Benzie.
Pointing out that Benzie was married to Rhonda McMichael, whom he described as a “a top communications staffer” for then-premier Kathleen Wynne, Lilley declared this was “something everyone covering Ontario politics needs to ask @TorontoStar about. Do they get leaks?”
Eight months later, Lilley moved to Toronto to take a job as a political columnist covering the Doug Ford and Justin Trudeau governments for the Toronto Sun. At approximately the same time, he moved in with Ivana Yelich, who at the time was Ford’s press secretary and is now Ford’s director of media relations.
This has never been disclosed to readers of the Sun, where Lilley’s complimentary coverage of the Ford regime is a staple of the paper’s front page.
Yelich, the daughter of a junior minister in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, previously worked as a producer for Lilley when he was the host of Byline on the Sun News Network. When Sun News folded in early 2015, he co-founded Rebel Media with Ezra Levant, quitting two years later following the events in Charlottesville. Until early 2019, he hosted Beyond the News on 580 CFRA in Ottawa but left for Toronto to take the job at the Sun and also to — as Frankput it that fall — “devote his full attention to Yelich.”
His provincial politics columns run in the Ottawa Sun as well.
Neither Lilley nor Yelich, nor Toronto Sun editor Adrienne Batra, immediately responded to requests for comment Friday evening.
At a press conference in November, Ford went out of his way to praise Lilley’s coverage of his government.
“Brian, I have to compliment you,” the premier said, “because I left the house, and my wife Karla, she says, ‘The only person’s articles I collect,’ and she cuts out, is your articles. And she left me with a comment to tell you that ‘everything that Brian’s saying in his articles, there’s always truth to what he’s writing.’ So that’s the highest compliment I can give you, when Karla’s collecting all your articles. So thanks for writing those.”There’s a tweet for everything.
Byron deleted this tweet tonight because he is the most cowardly hypocrite in Canada.
How can anyone respect that?
— Chet Walters – Ink Specialist ● (@chet_ink) March 27, 2021
I’d heard Brian Lilly lived with Ivana Yelich a year ago through a friend who works at Bell.
I don’t give a shit, so I didn’t repeat the story. The person who told me about Lilley and Yelich said Lilley moved here for Yelich and they were ‘too close’ to the premier.
I didn’t know Yelich was Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s ‘Director Of Media Relations’ (which is fucking hilarious), and had no idea they lived together.
Now that we know this, everything Brian Lilley has reported on from Doug Ford to the government’s pandemic response is now tainted bullshit. Now, nothing Brian Lilley has reported on or sourced about the PC government of Ontario has done can be taken seriously and he should be fucking fired.
Brian Lilley isn’t just compromised, he’s an agent of Doug Ford’s gov’t by way of his secret living arrangement with the Premier’s press secretary and his card-carrying conservative membership.
The Lilley/Yelich/Ford love triangle is EXACTLY what we were discussing in the podcast last week when we covered the insipid collusion between big media and politicians. Politicians and big media in Canada have always worked hand-in-hand to protect and promote each other’s interests. That’s why you won’t see negative or honest reporting on Doug Ford’s tenure from big media. The folks who own these entities want to curate a friendly relationship with provincial and federal government powers to promote their best interests as well.
So, when left/right-leaning extremists call the Canadian media fake news, they’re not wrong. They’re just misguided in their reasoning.
The CEOs, CFOs, and board members of Bell, Rogers, Shaw, et al, all have relationships with influential captains of industry and in each case, politicians and their political parties protect and promote the needs and wants of all involved parties. These relationships are used to benefit each other in a circle jerk of protection and promotion of the reputational and financial interests represented in each relationship.
Look at it like a trichotomy.
Here’s how it all works (it’s not a conspiracy theory btw..Dean doesn’t do conspiracy theories).
Politicians and Canada’s elite curate relationships in the media world to help insulate and promote their interests. It’s been going on as long as politics and media have existed. In fact, politicians are taught how to use media sources, actively looking for writers, broadcasters, and other media influencers to help drive their political, financial, or reputational narratives. In return, big media will bury unfriendly stories or promote friendly narratives then look for policy changes and tax breaks, etc from their political relationships of choice to protect and promote their interests.
There’s a reason Bell and CTV didn’t report on We Charity’s fall from grace. They started to pick it up recently but independent news broke that story. CTV and Bell were platinum partners at WE Charity and some of their executives had a relationship with the Kielburgers. It would be career and company suicide to go after strategic partners.
If you need hard proof, in 2015 then Bell CEO Kevin Crull told CTV employees not to interview the chair of the CRTC because he wanted to control the editorial process, and Bell’s reputation with it.
Source: Last month, Crull told Bell Media-owned CTV and BNN not to interview the head of Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, Jean-Pierre Blais. They did so anyway, and Crull later apologized.
Now, weeks after that incident, Bell Media, which owns dozens of TV stations, announced it fired Crull, saying in a press release that “The independence of Bell Media’s news operations is of paramount importance to our company and to all Canadians.”
Bell president and CEO George Cope added that Bell Media’s journalism outlets would “always uphold the journalistic standards that have made CTV the most trusted brand in Canadian news.”
The Sun’s Brian Lilley bangs Doug Ford’s press secretary. Big deal? If you look at Lilley’s Conservative/Ford-friendly reporting it sure as fuck is.
Adrienne Batra is the Editor in Chief at the Toronto Sun. She also happens to be former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff and very good friends with Brian Lilley, who lives with Ivana Yelich, who is still Doug Ford’s press secretary. See how it works?
Adrienne Batra hired Brian Lilley to work at the Toronto Sun and together they produced the kind of news Doug Ford and all conservatives can be proud of.
Is Canadian media ‘Fake News’?
In a sense, yes. We only get unbiased information when the information has nothing to do with the media entity or its strategic/personal partnerships.
Lilley has been pounding out Ford/PC-friendly news because that’s what Brian Lilley is. A conservative who’s happy to be an agent for the Conservative Party, working for a newspaper run by another high-powered conservative with direct ties to the conservative government. Liberals and the NDP party operate the same way and do the same things. This isn’t new, and it’s not just conservatives and The Sun who control and promote protective narratives instead of reporting the news.
Every major media outlet does it.
Journalists do it.
Broadcasters do it.
Political pundits, politicians, and influencers do it.
I know because I was one of them. Nothing feels greasier than getting a phone call from a former Maple Leaf to help with a lawsuit. Nothing made me feel more like a fucking servant than having a politician who was trailing in an election ask me to sewer their opponent by way of our company CEO. Nothing sucked more donkey-cock than being told I couldn’t report a story about the Blue Jays because it would upset ownership.
I wasn’t a broadcaster or journalist at that point. At times I was a lemming operating on behalf of the interests of my boss’s best interest which diluted the content and made me feel like shit.
The ‘Human Cost’
While the Brian Lilleys of the world are cashing checks to write on behalf of political interests, unbiased journalists are on the bread line and it’s fucking gross.
Bell and Rogers’ consolidation of media across Canada over the past 15 years has DESTROYED unbiased journalism. We get Maple Leaf postgame questions from 5-7 reporters who work for the same company that owns the fucking team. The majority (if not ALL) of questions asked by reporters who are permitted to ask questions at a Trudeau Covid presser are pre-selected by liberal-friendly news agencies. The same goes for Doug Ford’s Covid pressers. They are filled with reporters who are conservative-friendly reporters who apparently live with Doug Ford’s right-hand woman.
Not only does big media go out of their way to control the narrative, but they also prevent good reporting by great reporters by controlling hiring/firing at every level in every medium in this country. It protects them from unwanted reporting or content providers damaging their brand from within.
I have a feeling that if @brianlilley was not living with Doug Ford’s press secretary his columns would be pretty much the same.
I mean, in the tank is in the tank, right?
Also, imagine his reaction if this happened to a Liberal.
Or just read his reaction instead! pic.twitter.com/cQh3RasZK0
— James DiFiore (@jamesdifiore) March 27, 2021
Remember when @brianlilley tweeted this gem the day before the announcement was made to close schools last March? I wonder how he knew?
— Peter Phinney 😷🇨🇦 (@phinney35) March 27, 2021
Pro Tip: Every major news outlet or media entity and every political party is guilty of a serious conflict of interest. We’re just talking about Brian Lilley and the conservatives because they got caught, thanks to independent journalism free of corporate/political influence.
Don’t take Bell, Rogers, Post Media, or Quebecors content as definitive.
Work harder for the truth and cite legitimate sources, not politically or financially motivated opinions. Don’t educate yourself with skewed information from compromised media corporations. Their goal isn’t to deliver unbiased, fact-based information. Their goal is to control the narrative and protect their brand while growing revenue for themselves and dividends for their shareholders at all costs.
If that means destroying lives and respected institutions along the way, so be it.
Direct all your hate at Ford and Lilley’s arrangement but remember, it’s fucking everywhere. Not in the baby eating, Qanon, satanic worship kinda way. It’s more about cashing in on your reputation for a few gold pieces, the odd scoop, and preferential treatment.
I have friends and colleagues who still do it. It’s all true and THAT is all I care about.
PS. At the time of this post, I hadn’t been sued for silencing. I’ll keep you posted.