Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Evan Solomon and the Conservative Broadcasting Corporation
When Evan Solomon was appointed host of the CBC program Power and Politics, I didn't think he would be able to fill the very large shoes of the departing Don Newman.
He was missing about thirty years of journalistic experience.
And although I was right, he gradually began to win me over, in his own way.
In recent months I thought he was finally starting to lose his patience with the Cons, for parroting their PMO lines instead of giving him or anyone a straight answer.
So I must say this came as quite a shock.
CBC has fired marquee host Evan Solomon after the Star reported that he was taking secret commission payments related to art sales involving people he dealt with as a host.
“I regret to inform you that CBC News has ended its relationship with Evan Solomon,” executive Jennifer McGuire said in a brief statement issued late Tuesday, a day after the Star presented the findings of its investigation to the network.
And I say that because I know Evan, from back in the days when he was promoting young Canadian writers...
And I can honestly say that he is genuinely nice guy.
The kind of guy who when he sees you runs across the street to give you a big hug. And is not in my opinion the kind of person who would compromise his still budding journalistic credentials by allowing anyone to buy him.
So I can only think that he was betrayed by his compulsive desire to try EVERYTHING; books, technology, TV, radio, and now amateur art dealer for a rich friend Bruce Bailey, the one they call the Gatsby of Canada. Betrayed by his occasionally really bad impulsive judgement, and of course by good old human greed.
But then greed is everywhere in Stephen Harper's Canada. The Senate scandal is only the latest example. Ottawa is a grubby little place.
And Lawrence Martin is right when he quotes Shakespeare: “Where the bee sucks, there suck I.”
And reminds us of this other scandal.
The CBC has a new member of its board of directors. The Conservatives have appointed 35-year-old Rob Jeffery. He is a Halifax chartered accountant. He is senior director of taxation for Sobey’s, a leading food retailer.
You may be wondering what other compelling qualifications the young man has to preside over the state broadcaster in our complex, ever-changing media world? Well, there is something else. He recently served two terms as treasurer for the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia.
With its obvious implications.
It hardly requires a stretch of the imagination to reason that he got the appointment because he’s been a loyal worker for the party who will likely do its bidding in the further emasculation of the CBC which, as we know, is not one of the Prime Minister’s most favoured entities.
And now that I know that Stephen Harper is strengthening his hand even more at the Conservative Broadcasting Corporation.
I can only wonder whether his Cons saw an opportunity to cripple or fry the CBC further by removing one of its big players just before an election. After trying to torpedo its coverage of the leadership debates.
And instructed the hapless CBC managers to fire Solomon immediately. Even though there is no evidence Evan's amateur art dealing compromised his journalistic ethics. He never interviewed any of the people involved as far as I know.
He clearly didn't try to hide anything if he took Bruce Bailey to court.
Amanda Lang, who is guilty of far worse, is still on the air...
And so is this Con clown and ghastly pimp of Big Oil...
Only when they fire him will I believe that CBC management is serious about journalistic ethics
And until then I will continue to believe those managers are the scared puppets of the man who would destroy the CBC..
Still believe that Evan Solomon may be his latest victim. And despite his appalling judgment and obvious greed, I will still hug the very human Evan if I ever see him again.
And of course I will continue to believe that we will not get our CBC, or our country back.
Until the happy day Stephen Harper is defeated...
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I agree with your sentiments about Evan Solomon, including the shock part. Unfortunately, anyone who even asks a basic question about the Con fascists will get the axe long before the other (Con-supporting) tools in the shed are tossed out for better reason. Most Canadians don't know or understand what's going, so thanks for reminding us Simon!
I just scoured the Bilderberg List for 2015........a few new faces from Canada! And then read about ES! Wow!
Bravo on this posting Simon.
Last night I was contemplating as to how this 'art dealing' involved his day job and thought the facts must be worse than Amanda's case and the details will eventually come out but it looks like his former Biz partner contacted the Star..........
I see your point about shock. I also agree with your preamble about E.S. ability to fill Newmans shoes. I stopped watching power and politics long ago when I was sick of Soloman's shilling for the Conservative Harper government. He would always allow the con's the last word and would never question the obvious. Even last Saturday on the radio he was aggressively going after the Liberal senator with regards the latest findings. I don't see a conspiracy here because the cons have been happy with soloman protecting his backside.
Chris Hall was so obviously running interference for the cons yesterday it was disgusting. Might just give up P&P completely and Don Martin has turned so sucky perhaps the fix is in there. Better to rely on alternate media. Hope a new government cleans house at the CBC.
hi anon...I hesitated to write this post because I knew I'd have to reveal that I'm a friend of his, and I didn't want people to think I'm biased. But there is something very wrong about the way he was dismissed without getting a chance to defend himself, like Amanda Lang. And while Evan should have realized that dabbling as an art dealer, could leave him vulnerable, when you look at the facts nothing he did compromised his journalistic ethics. So I suspect the worst...
hi Kathleen...yes it was quite a shock, and although I haven't seen him in years, I can only imagine how Evan is feeling. It was a foolish thing he did, but it didn't deserve such swift punishment...
hi anon...thank you, as I explained above I felt it was something I had to do. When you examine the facts as we know them, I can't see how he violated the CBC's code of ethics. He didn't interview any of the people involved, and he did not use his position to obtain clients for his friend. Evan has always operated in a rarified atmosphere, and has many rich and powerful friends. And anyone who knows him knows that he is a font of ideas and new projects. They come bubbling out of him all the time, and can drive even his lowly friends crazy ;)
And as I said if he wanted to hide what he was doing he never would have taken Bailey to court, so it all seems a bit unfair. And since I have absolutely no respect for CBC management I can't help but suspect their motives...
hi zoombats...look although I am his friend I haven't ever hesitated to criticize Evan for not being harder on the Cons. But I thought he has been getting tougher on them recently. He grilled Poilievre in a very satisfying way last week, and while he'll never be as tough as I would want, he is a very decent guy, he is definitely not a Con. And although his possible successors like Rosemary Barton and Chris Hall are good journalists, they are both far easier on the Cons than Evan. So I wouldn't be surprised if some of his harshest progressive critics end up missing him...
10% ! Any art dealer or gallery would take 40-60%. His clients on both sides got off cheap.
As much as I frequently criticize the CBC on my blog, I was saddened and disappointed to hear about Evan Solomon's dismissal. For me, he shone as one of the few critical thinkers unwilling to follow the larger CBC policy of appeasement often evident on the main network. I also admired his almost superhuman patience when his Conservative guests would refuse to answer his questions, instead parroting the lines given to them by Harper. Solomon would re-ask and rephrase his questions, seldom getting different results, but whatever disdain he felt for the puppets, he always showed respect and politeness.
He will be very much missed.
As with other Canadian institutions the Cons have been trying to bring CBC to heel for some time. Its a wonder Rick Mercer is still there. A good example of their tenacity is their internet spying program. Their ethically challenged pillar of family values Mr Toews first tried this under child porn but it failed to gain traction and he had to take one for the team before he turned into a pillar of salt. Then along comes the terrorist ruse and the rest is history. Just like a scrappy adolescent on an international stage someone will eventually throw a punch which will be used as an excuse for another round of freedom busting laws.
I always thought P &P mostly sucked, but it was as close as you could get to an actual political discussion anymore..stopped watching when Solomon started shilling for Israel, it was so blatant that his supposed 'progressive' credentials went out the window..Sorry about your friend, Simon, but this seems like a bit of payback because of all the Con senators in the news lately...the rightwing whackos fighting back...and since all the info isn't in yet, I'll reserve judgement, even though I really find Solomon smarmy in the extreme and much too full of himself to ever qualify as what I would refer to as a journalist in the old school tradition...but then, who is, any more?
Well at least we still have the G&M and their fearless copiests err, columnists.
I too had thought that ES was getting a bit tougher with the Cons. Does the PMO have a new Enemies List?
Such a convenient story to distract people's attention away from the senate rubber stamping bill C 51 yesterday.You really have to look hard to find this story today and when you do there's not much about it.
I gave up watching ES long ago.Same old same old.Except for his description of Vickers doing his Ramboesque shooting of Bibeau and his oval-shaped nonexistant bullet holes description in the alcove which CBC had to retract bcos they found out those holes were there when google did a walkthrough a few years previous.Then again maybe someone in the PMO wasn't impressed with Solomon's interview with the woman with the baby carriage who challenged the RCMP's report on the Ottawa shooting.
10% is peanuts . Art galleries, dealers, auction houses charge from 30 to 60%. I have paid 10% finders fees ans accepted 10% finders fees. Its good business and its polite .
hi anon...yes, Chris Hall is so conservative and stodgy that whenever he's doing the show first I scream and then I fall asleep. Just remember though that there are many good ordinary worker bees at the CBC, and it's the management cult that needs to be purged...
hi rumleyfips....yes, Evan is really going to have to pull his socks up, if he wants to dabble as an arts dealer. You know there was a very funny comment from another Evan Solomon who lives in San Francisco and is being mistaken by some for the one who lives here:
And in some report I can't find now he said he'd be very impressed if some of the talking heads in the U.S. media were running an art business on the side...
hi Lorne...yes it is a sad story. He is despite his many human flaws a very nice person. And that's the reason he is so patient, too patient in my view, with some of the Cons that appeared on his show. He lacks a killer instinct, but what he loses as a journalist, is what makes him so decent. And I find the CBC's treatment of him very unfair...
hi anon...yes I feel the same way you do. If Canadians knew how much the Cons are monitoring the internet, trolling it, and playing games on it, they would be horrified. But we are a complacent people and we are going to pay for that big time. I should add that I am not scared of them, and the day we catch them in one of our traps they are going to squeak like mice...
hi mizdarlin...look I haven't seen Evan since he moved to Ottawa. We move in different circles (thank goodness) He is rich I am poor (happily) I don't like personality driven shows, and he is not a journalist in the old school tradition. But having said that what other show dedicates two hours to Canadian politics every day? Who can deny that he has made Power and Politics a fairly entertaining show, and attracted some people to the show who wouldn't otherwise be interested in politics? He is a decent genuinely warm human being, who among other things doesn't hit on young women like some of the other creepy old "stars" at the CBC. And his treatment by the cult-like managers at the CBC is definitely unfair. As they say, all things are relative. Look around at this broken country and ask yourself why we are so hard on ourselves, or ask yourself where we are going?
hi jrkrideau...yes good point. Evan may not have been hard enough on the Cons as far as I am concerned, but he could still be harder on them in one day, than others are in two months if ever. If progressives think that Power and Politics is going to be harder on the Cons now that Evan is gone, they are in for a rude shock. And I don't know if the Cons have a new list, but with the election on the horizon they will be going after their political enemies harder than ever....
hi anon....yes you're so right, it is a great distraction. And also right when you point out that hardly anyone in the MSM bothered to cover the Senate vote. As for Evan, as I have said he is far from perfect, and his glorification of the "hero" Vickers was one of his low points. But he was still more of a thorn in the side of the Cons than most others in the MSM, so I still think his departure is a loss. So many in this country are willing to be so hard on our own, without ever taking a look at themselves in the mirror....
Hi Simon! Although many of us have felt that Evan Solomon was rather soft on the Cons, but at least he was able to ask some pertinent questions about the current government's behavior. Now that venue has been depressed. Both Rosie and Hannah have a chance to excel, unless the CBC Board undermines them which I expect will happen.
I must say Rosie did a good job moderating today, and she handled that extremely rude and obnoxious Roxanne James with class.
I thought they were quick to pull the trigger on Solomon. What dirt does Amanda Lang have that she continues to be employed at the CBC?
hi anon...unfortunately I missed Question Period, but I heard Rosemary Barton did well and I really would have loved to see her take on Roxanne James, for James really is the worst kind of Con. The CBC still has some good journalists, but I fear this latest management atrocity could have a chilling effect on all of them....
I am very sorry Evan S. was fired. His "art dealing" in my opinion had nothing to do with how he did his job. It might have been that he was doing his job too well that got him fired. the art "dealing" was just the excuse his employer was looking for. About all that is left is Mark Kelly. Guess they'll be brooming his shortly also.
the CBC might want to remember Herr Steve is on his way out. Good luck to Evan S. He really has been doing a decent job.
Okay so how many people have two or even three jobs in Canada? Too many to count so why all of a sudden what Evan did is a mortal sin it did not interfere with his job. Now that being said he should sue the con heads of CBC for wrongful dismissal and bankrupt the bastards...
Evan at his best "Just answer the question..."
you mention a couple of times that evan had not interviewed either carney or balsille, but I understand he has interviewed carney and was actively pursuing balsille ...
and doesnt it come down to pure greed ? he was going to sue the art dealer ... and bite the hand that fed him ... for a million dollars ... so the art dealer made all the emails and details available to the star ... and brought him down ...evan clearly did not properly consider the full effect and ramifications of suing the guy who was making it possible to earn the $300,000 that he did
lol the CBC is anything but conservative...biased leftie canadian propaganda corporation, demanding the leftie status quo on all subjects maybe, but a voice for conservative ideas....never...I think we're all on the same page that the CBC needs to go, but to squander your vote on baby Trudeau, or our resident french citizen, Mulcair, is laughable. Unfortunately, the PC's are the only choice this time around. Any other option is plane foolishness.
well I guess, stop pissing and moaning for poor Evan, the art swindler, considering he's so industrious, he'll just bounce right back, maybe selling snake oil for the libs, or junk bonds for the NDP
He was brokering deals with people he was supposedly unengaged with when interviewing...not a dealer, a sneaky middle man
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