How to Manufacture a Story: David Suzuki Edition

What’s the over/under on an upcoming settlement between Sun News and environmentalist David Suzuki? One million? Maybe two?

I ask because I’d imagine Suzuki is about ready to unleash all his lawyerly hounds after Sun’s Ezra Levant called him a “dirty old man” who makes “bizarre and sexist requests.”

I’m inclined to stay out of this one. I also find the cult of David Suzuki kind of nauseating and Ezra, well, there are better life pursuits than hacking through his spin (I happen to be paid to hack through other people’s spin).

But Ezra and others are now saying the reason other reporters aren’t leaping on the story is because Suzuki is protected by the left-wing “media party.” Ezra makes this sort of claim a lot, and this seems as good an example as any for debunking it.

The thing with Ezra is is that much of the time his scoops disappear into thin air when you examine them too closely. So here’s my argument about why my socialist, media party hive-mind brothers and I might choose not to follow the Suzuki sex scandal.

The key with Ezra is you have to look through what he’s saying for what he can prove.

What he’s saying: As part of his rider for a speaking engagement at a small college, Suzuki demanded attractive young women follow him around dressed in sexy outfits. These women would then be invited up to his private Penthouse (presumably for some hot, carbon-neutral hanky panky).

What he can prove: Suzuki’s assistant requested he be followed around by female body guards.

That’s actually it. The rest is all in Ezra’s imagination and clever phrasing. The “rider”? Requesting the bodyguards be pretty? Made up by Ezra. There’s no sign that Suzuki requested the women be dressed any way at all.

So why have bodyguards? Apparently so he can “travel from one venue to another without being accosted too many times along the way.”

Ok, but why female body guards? I assume because he wanted to avoid the optics of the kind, old environmentalist being guarded by big, intimidating men. I assume this because that’s what the emails actually say: “No seriously, I believe it is his way of being discrete and less intimidating.”

This seems to be backed up in the correspondence we see about the bodyguard’s attire. The consideration seems not to be making them sexy, but making them appear not like bodyguards: “Please be certain that the women are nicely dressed, we don’t want them in evening gowns, but definitely NOT Police Tech uniforms.”

Keep in mind the emails about outfits were between school staff, not Suzuki’s people. There’s no evidence Suzuki’s assistant requested the girls be pretty, only some school staff fussing about the appearance of the people who will be following around their expensive guest speaker.

As for the penthouse, you have to torque this quote pretty hard to make it scandalous:

“In terms of acknowledging their contribution after the tours are completed, we will need to gather them together at the end to either give them some brief time with Suzuki (which I will try to make happen, either by having him step out of the penthouse or enabling them to join the group in the sanctified air).”

So this is a group of students (it doesn’t seem to be the bodyguard girls) getting a chance to either talk to him outside or with another group of people indoors. Hardly a private invitation to David Suzuki’s sex den. The only offensive thing about this statement seems to be the use of the gag-inducing term “sanctified air.”

The total cost of $40,000 does seem insanely high for a David Suzuki speech but hey, the college gets to decide how it spends its own money.

So where’s the sex scandal? All I see is a somewhat odd request for female bodyguards accompanied with a plausible explanation.

Ezra is a talented spin-man. I once watched him put together a case that the Liberal Party of Canada was behind Anonymous based on literally nothing. If he has real evidence that Suzuki is creepily asking for sexy college escorts then he’d have a story. But all I see so far is another one of his smoke and mirror routines.

UPDATE: My old coworker David Rodenhiser points out Suzuki spoke to a sold-out crowd of 1,600 at John Abbott College and his speech was live-streamed to about 14,000 more students. So his speaking fee worked out to about $2 per student.

UPDATE #2: Commenter Jay Watts points out that Suzuki was the keynote speaker at a fundraising gala that night. According to this faculty association memo the dinner was a hefty $650 per plate. That means just 64 attendees would have paid off the entire cost of bringing Suzuki into town. Of course, the dinner itself would have costs but it still seems pretty likely the college made money off of Suzuki’s visit.

35 thoughts on “How to Manufacture a Story: David Suzuki Edition

    • We agree conservatives will be in power for a long time. Stephen Harper will never leave. Canada, in his mind, will always need him. When he finally leaves it will be as Frans de Waal, the scientist who studies other monkeys, observes nasty for Stephen Harper. He, as a nasty leader will be castrated. And monkeys don’t use tools for this task. They use their teeth. P

    • my guess, you are santa clause and yoy dont want your house damaged as suzuki the jap says it will happen.{sorry abt jap, you see i still remember pearl harbour} also i remember how tricky they were then. and cruel to prisoners of war. i dont think i would put it past the jap to do all that levant said. i forgive him. now send him home to japan please.

      • I lived in Japan for 7 years. I found them to be normal distribution of nice to nasty people. Most people are basically nice. A few are jerks. I found it similar in Pakistan and England and Canada. Suzuki is a nice person. He is Canadian. Nasty jerks hate some one for their heritage.

  1. I suppose as I’m not trained as a journalist I don’t really know to use powerful things like Google and websites, nonetheless, it took all of about 2 minutes to find out that beyond addressing the students, Suzuki was also the keynote speaker at a fundraising gala that same night – presumably his speaking fee was thought of as justified if it would encourage people to donate to John Abbott, too.

  2. Interesting that National Post’s Jon Kay jumped on this story almost immediately, praising Levant and Sun News as doing “good journalism.” Interesting that a few months ago, NP’s Andy Coyne jumped on Trudeau’s old interview about Alberta almost as soon as Sun News broadcast it. Sounds to me like PostMedia and Sun Media are working in conjunction or at least have sympathetic points of view.

  3. Perception is reality. Levant/SUN have letter documents in their possession that verifies their journalistic license to smear Suzuki. If Suzuki tries to sue Levant/SUN that will sensationalize Suzuki’s financing and reputation, unless the “Media Party” decides to squelch the story. Gonna be interesting….

    • Perception is not reality from my perspective. It seems, from my perspective, that you confuse perception and reality. There is an explanation. Daniel Kahneman is a behavioural economists. He studies how people behave versus how economists who hang on to antiquated perspectives, in a similar way as you do, who perceive we are rational maximizers. Stephen Harper perceives us to be rational maximizers. Daniel Kahneman might agree with me that you fall prey to our species of collaborative monkeys to jump to conclusions for the good of species. You don’t practice the good habit of questioning your perception. You don’t reason. You react. You are a lazy thinker. You accept perception as reality. You could change.

  4. Ezra Levant is doing what needs to be done to these sacred cows of the Canadian Media. He is showing that David Suzuki is not what his SPIN doctors in the media have made him out to be. He is motivated by the almighty dollar like anyone else and he is a bit of a creep as well. Good for him

      • Why is it that anytime someone disagrees with OPINIONS, they have to be paid by the Conservatives. When you use the same lame excuse all the time, it loses any effect.

      • Oh Ya Brian well you must be paid by Sun Media too. I mean nobody could give such a lame commentary by accident. Thanks for making me look so good.

  5. Suzuki is a hypocrite.He spoke at my daughter’s school. he arrived in a chauffeur driven limo.He proceeded to tell the students that their parents were the cause of environmental breakdown.The cars, the manufacturing etc.Then he went to the airport to catch his plane.As for the cost per student, that’s a whacky way of looking at things..$41,000/hour is more realistic…you’re no stranger to spin.

    • You are so typical of someone, Daniel Kahneman, might agree spends too much time relaying on our reactionary thinking processes. It makes you an easy target. Some one who does not question, does not reason. Reason demands using a different part of our thinking processes. Kahneman observes it is hard work to reason. You just react. You believe, think some thing is true with no need of proof, David Suzuki is not a good man and Ezra Levant is a good man. I can see why Neocons like Harper reason without faith you can be trusted to vote for any one but him. The neocons think you would vote for a Hitler, like the Germans did. I hope he is wrong.

      • Using critical thinking is the most important part of balanced, reasoned unbiased thought. It is clear that you are somewhat lacking in this Mr. Mcleod as you make statements that suggest ” those ‘neocons’ such as myself, who voted for Harper are “like the Germans” who voted for Hitler. If you would open a history book you would see that Hitler seized power. He wasn’t given it legitimately. Did Harper do the same?

      • Peter, as a neocon you know elections are to be stolen with lies. Democracy can not be trusted to voters. It should be a facade. Like religion should be just a facade. The neocon takes the nobel lie to mean it is nobel to lie. They bellieve their own lies. That is why their war, laws and policys are so catstrophic. A neocon like is a liar.

      • Donny, you be full of sh!t. You liberals know only how to steal, hide, corrupt and think you are entitled to some control that you have ruined in bygone years.
        Just get stuffed with your ridiculous insinuations about Conservatives.
        Oh and by the way, Conservatives will be in power long after 2015.

      • Let start with Harper is a “Neocon” thing of yours. – By the way is a term used to describe American Brand of Conservatism, it doesn’t really apply to the Canadian style branding or the values of Canadian Conservatism. – If you’d payed attention instead of dancing along the Pied Piper Song, you would of seen and heard Pm Harper on multiple occasion, I might add, diss-off the so called Neocons, as you put so well, on a wide array of topics including Global Economy, environmental issues and on this latest tar sand project with China. Better still just recently Harper was praising the worth and value of the rising BRICS nation economies and how it’s an golden opportunity for Canada and Canadian. Once again Harper disses off the Anglo-American Empire (Neocons) I can go on.

      • I have never heard Stephen Harper retract from his preference for neocon thinking. I know he said our democracy would not let him do everthing he wants. That will take time.

      • Being the leftard that you are, you also probably didn’t notice that Canada was getting the raw end of the deal with the Neocon (Anglo-American) Oil industry. What if Canadian oil was getting world prices? At the current Brent-Western Canadian Select spread of roughly $50 a barrel X 2 million barrels a day, thats $100-million a day. That equates to foregone revenues of more than $35-billion over the course of a year. Having a Chinese partner base investor is a far cry better then having Robber baron Dictator undermining our Natural resources.

      • Neocon comes from thoughts of Leo Strauss. He was a politcal philisopher. I suggest he should have learned from Victor Frankl. While Strauss was thinking of ways to keep nasty people from leading he failed to appreciate most of us are nice. A few of us are nasty. Nasty people, like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Chaney, led us to economic and enviromental disaster. Stephen Harper is a proud neocon. I spend nearly 15 years living in Asia selling high margin Canadian designed and manufactured product that created jobs of $100 an hour jobs for Canadians. On trade Harper is an idiot.

      • Donnie, I hope you realize that you are contradicting yourself.

        - ” I know he said our democracy would not let him do everything he wants. ”
        - ” On trade Harper is an idiot.”

        Just who do you think sets up these trade agreements? Our elected officials?
        Again, you really don’t know much about how the Canadian political arena works, by what you’ve stated know even less about Geopolitics. For some reason I have the feeling that you’re one of those Leftard known it all that always as to have the last word. You’re going to have to do better then that Donnie.

    • Hmmm, sounds like another Levant type comment above. I would need proof of your story – if this story teaches anyone anything, it should be critical thinking. Make sure the facts support the opinion. So weary of people throwing out stories to try and create hype.

    • You lost me at comparing Harper to Hitler. Harper is a Progressive Conservative. Hitler was a Socialist or have you already forgotten what NAZI stood for?
      The closets ideologies and/or values floating in and around Parliament Hill of late that relate to or are of significant NAZI influences are being propagated by the LPC, the UNPA infiltrated NDP and the rest of the Circus opposition be it Green party USAID Elizabeth may and the Marxist BQ. Seriously learn your freaking politics before spewing out pointless propaganda.

      • Harper told his base implementing a social conservative agenda would be political suicide. They must be patient. It is another proof that Christian Conservatives are liars. They should never be trusted with political office.

        On trade, Harper is blind to Canadians human strengths. I blame this blindness on his Calvinist faith. This strength could be used to create jobs bringing the average salary up in Canada. Instead he seems bent on driving the average salary down.

  6. “Sun’s Ezra Levant called him a “dirty old man” who makes “bizarre and sexist requests.” Levant didn’t call him that. Those are your words. And the requests did come from Suzuki. So, where’s the lawsuit.

  7. Suzuki is a failed fruit fly scientist turned into a communistic zygote infecting liberally educated Canadians with his marxist hatred.

  8. Ezra Levant his quickly turning into the Canadian version of Glen Beck and associates, it might be good for SunNews ratings but in the long run well… I won’t get into the details. The Suzuki SunNews media soap opera, is just that, a soap opera.

    David Suzuki ain’t no saint, never as and never will be. He may talk green but he isn’t.
    A few years back I did what most Canadians thought, many I’m sure still do, as being inconceivable. I took on Saint Suzuki at a public gathering designed to reaffirmed the U.N. mass thought control claims as acknowledged in the Integrated Climate Change Strategy Projects supported by the paid for propaganda Saint Suzuki foundation. With financial help from Desmarais (Mr. Petrole in Europe) controlled Toronto Dominion Group and the Rockefeller Brother (ExxonMobil) funded Pembina Institute Saint Suzuki became Canada’s answer to U.S. ‘I invented the internet’ Al Gore’s push for UN lead Global Governance carbon for profit Agenda in Canada.

    Suzuki wasn’t to happy about little old me asking the tough questions the controlled media wasn’t and still aren’t asking. Needless to say it quickly turned into me getting the verbal abuse end of the stick from the gathered sheep, saint Suzuki and the predictable and usual rough and tumble escort services provided by the rent a cop security officers.

    If Ezra really wanted to show Canadians just how much of a sleazebag Suzuki really his, he would of expose Suzuki’s relationship with the money driven Globalist cartel behind the climate change nonsense. He should of expose the criminal network (Tides Canada) hiding behind bogus Non-for profit ENGO’s (David Suzuki Foundation) who are leading the ignorant mass away from any recognizable truth, but he didn’t. Which begs the questions, Why?

    Unfortunately we live in an age of disinformation and social manipulation SunNews Network plays along the same rules as any other media cartel in Canada. Good news, bad news, fake news, news is news, it doesn’t really matter what news, as long as the Ignorant mass give you the rating approval you win. For SunNews partners, winning is everything especially when Pierre Péladeau of QuébecOr/TVA Group Inc. and SunMedia Corporation partners are requesting broadcasting license approval from the CRTC.

    Challenging issues don’t make the ratings go up. Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll do.

  9. E. Lavant makes me sick. I work at this college, and I can tell you there was nothing untoward about Dr. suzuki’s visit and the TWO speeches he gave that day; he met with groups of students on several occasions (boys & girls with lots of faculty and admin. present) and the reference to the penthouse was a joke – it referred to the top floor of what is our new science building that opened this fall. CHEAP SENSATIONALISTIC JOURNALISM in my opinion; and it is clear that E. Levant has an axe to grind.

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