How Postmedia is turning into the Fox News of Canada
It is not exactly a revelation that the management of Canada’s largest newspaper chain, Postmedia, favours conservative-friendly views and opinion. It’s also no secret that management makes decisions regarding political endorsements, regardless of their editors’ views.
But new revelations by Postmedia, uncovered by a Canadaland investigation, have raised new questions about seemingly dramatic changes underway which has the company poised to transform into a Canadian imitation of Fox News.
The New CEO
In January 2019, Andrew Macleod was appointed the new CEO of Postmedia. Though he had previously been the President of Postmedia, his rise to the top role marked the beginning of a new direction for the company. According to Canadaland, in 2018 he sat down the editors of the National Post, some of the most overtly conservative voices in Canadian media, and told them they were not conservative enough.
Since his appointment, Canadaland claims that Postmedia has directed all of its newspapers to shift further to the right and to stay consistent with this message. MacLeod’s goal appears to be to centralize Postmedia’s editorial message and to enforce this transition
The Editorial Attack Dog
One of MacLeod’s most marked changes to the company has been to put Kevin Libin, one of Postmedia’s most far-right contributors, in charge of all of their newspapers’ federal and provincial political commentary. An editor-in-chief of the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun, who had endorsed the carbon tax, made his objections heard about Libin’s new authority over political reporting. He has since been removed from the editorial board of the Edmonton Journal.
Joining Kenney’s War Room
Taking a page out of the Fox News playbook, Postmedia is blurring the lines between the free press and conservative governments. In May, it was revealed that Postmedia had lobbied Jason Kenney’s conservatives to join their “war room” against environmental groups.
UCP’s Own Columnist
Another example of the blurred lines between Postmedia and Conservative governments is the controversy surrounding Licia Corbella. While a member of the United Conservative Party (UCP) in Alberta, Corbella continued to write for the Calgary Herald without disclosing her conflict of interest. She was one of Kenney’s most vocal supporters in the media, often penning opinion pieces attacking his opponents.
Despite violating the company’s editorial code of conduct, she continues to write for Postmedia. PressProgress has reported that Corbella’s columns supporting Kenney have been removed from the site.
Ties to Doug Ford
Of course, no story these days is complete without a link to the ongoing scandals facing Doug Ford. Rod Phillips, the current finance minister of Ontario, previously served as the board chair of Postmedia. Phillips and the former CEO of Postmedia Paul Godfrey have even hosted $1000-per-person fundraiser for Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives.
In February, Phillips appointed MacLeod to the board of Waterfront Toronto, the agency working alongside Sidewalk Labs to design the Quayside community in Toronto.
Two of the top editors at the Toronto Sun have connections to the Ford family. Adrienne Batra was Rob Ford’s press secretary and currently edits the Toronto Sun, while former Rob Ford chief of staff Mark Towhey is the editor-in-chief of the Sun. He replaced James Wallace who left to become Ford’s deputy chief of staff.
Jordan Peterson’s Secret Project
Aside from all this, it appears that Postmedia is also working with Jordan Peterson on a secret project. Peterson, who became an internet celebrity for his critiques of feminism and LGBT advocacy, has been working on an unannounced project from the fifth floor of Postmedia’s offices. His language around issues of equality and minority rights often echoes the rhetoric used by Fox News.