The Rebel's steady spiral downwards - Macleans.ca
 

The Rebel’s steady spiral downwards

It became the Canadian angle to a violent and deadly white nationalist protest. Is this the alt-right website’s breaking point?


 
Faith Goldy (C), a Canadian right-wing social and political commentator speaks to supporters of US President Donald J. Trump as Lauren Southern (L), a Canadian conservative and libertarian activist listens at an event at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, California, USA, 27 April 2017. (John G. Mabanglo/EPA/CP)

Faith Goldy (C), a Canadian right-wing social and political commentator speaks to supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump as Lauren Southern (L), a Canadian conservative and libertarian activist listens at an event at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, Calif., April 27, 2017. (John G. Mabanglo/EPA/CP)

Rebel Media’s sympathetic coverage of the white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Va.—correspondent Faith Goldy repeatedly calls marchers on that side “patriots,” as many of them called themselves—was finally what pushed Rebel co-founder Brian Lilley to break with the activism-media outlet.

The Rebel had become increasingly toxic in mainstream Canadian discourse, and the target of a campaign for companies to pull ads from its website. The latest bit of chumminess with overt racists at a violent and deadly rally also prompted Conservatives to urge colleagues disavow them, from MP Michael Chong to Alberta conservative leadership candidate Doug Schweitzer.

But the attrition from within was something different; after Lilley, occasional contributors Barbara Kay and John Robson bolted Tuesday.

Sure, Lilley hewed to the website’s uniformly anti-Trudeau and pro-Trump lines, and repeatedly slurred asylum seekers as “fake refugees.” But Lilley was always a sort of straight-man in the radically askew operation; his commentaries sounded less like rants than most of his fellow rebels, and he steered clear of the rallies and activist stunts that had come to define much of what Ezra Levant’s Rebel does.

“What The Rebel suffers from is a lack of editorial and behavioural judgment that left unchecked will destroy it and those around it. For that reason, I am leaving,” Lilley wrote in a Facebook post, in which he acknowledged this decision was long in the making.

“As a serious journalist with nearly 20 years experience at the highest levels in this country, and abroad, I cannot be a part of this.”

His diagnosis of the problem is one commonly shared by conservatives when they think about The Rebel. The last sentence in that quote, however, is key–Lilley has worked as a professional journalist, a career radio reporter before Sun News Network scooped him up for hosting duties. When Sun shuttered in 2015, he joined Levant to try liberating themselves from unemployment with an online media startup.

The remaining Rebel crew have deeper roots in politics and activism. There’s Levant himself, an old Reform party aide who then drifted into commentary journalism; Alberta bureau chief Sheila Gunn Reid, formerly a stay-at-home mom with a penchant for tweeting invective at liberals; Gavin McInnes, who co-founded Vice magazine but more lately has launched the thuggish Proud Boys group; an undergraduate student named Jay Fayza whom Levant says he hired for his contrarianism at a university campus rally; alumnus Jack Posobiec was a conspiracy-minded player with Citizens for Trump; and new recruit Laura Loomer, who was with an undercover ambush video outfit. After joining Levant’s group, she rushed onto a New York stage in June to disrupt a Julius Caesar performance featuring an assassinated Trump-like protagonist. Lloyd Grove, writing about Loomer for the Daily Beast, wisely didn’t call Loomer a reporter but rather a “Rebel TV operative.”

There was a time, early last year, when Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s office barred Gunn Reid from covering the Alberta legislature and journalists gulped and defended The Rebel’s media access. It’s much harder to see that happening 18 months later, after any number of episodes that may have prompted Brian Lilley, as a professional journalist, to leave and warn about the dark path Levant’s organization has taken to draw clicks, eyeballs and crowd-funding. Maybe it could have been the anti-Notley rally dotted with “lock her up” chants from the crowd; coverage of the Quebec City mosque shooting that focused on doubting that the white male charged with murder might have done it; a Toronto rally against a House of Commons motion denouncing Islamophobia doubled as a pro-Islamophobia rally; Rebel commentators appearing on conspiracy-monger Alex Jones’ Infowars; or McInnes’ drunken rant from Israel originally titled “10 things I hate about Jews.”

This is a gob-smacking inventory. The bridge too far for Lilley was his organization becoming the Canadian angle to a violent white nationalist protest, even as less than half of The Rebel’s audience actually resides in Canada. The ensuing international coverage that casually called The Rebel an alt-right website finally prompted Levant himself to say: hey, we’re not cool with that stuff, and we are not racist and not alt-right.

“Simply covering controversial figures doesn’t mean we agree with those controversial figures,” he stated. This might hold water if Goldy was an impassive observer, not a commentator who often raises the alarm about demographic change bringing “white genocide,” and openly advocating a new “crusade” against Islam. Talking to a video live-stream at the Charlottesville counter-protest, an activist scolded her as alt-right and she sarcastically replied: “I’m here to learn about multiculturalism. And I’m here to learn about how diverse groups lead to very high-trust societies.” She said this right before her video feed caught a motorist deliberately ramming into several people. Goldy spoke generously of the alt-right’ s Charlottesville Statement, with robust and “well-thought ideas” touching on matters like “race and the JQ.” You get a sense of the discourse community she’s in when she doesn’t feel the need to explain that JQ stands for the Jewish Question.

David Duke, the former KKK leader not known for tweeting articles he dislikes without comment, tweeted Goldy’s take on Charlottesville without comment. Why? In that video, Goldy declared the violent confrontation between anti-fascists, Black Lives Matters and neo-Nazis along with their  fellow travellers was part of an “escalating civil war.” (Levant, to his credit, noted it was a mere 500 people on the white nationalist side.) On Israel’s Channel 2, it was compared to 1930s Germany and called “Weimerica. America’s become the new Berlin and some people want to keep it that way.” In this analogy, the 2017 white nationalist side would be the actual Nazis.

Levant, the self-styled Rebel Commander, also criticized Richard Spencer, who branded his movement the alt-right.

Spencer has been interviewed on the Rebel before–that itself is not a crime, as many organizations have profiled the believer in racial superiority, but McInnes gave a chummy interview, and cheekily asked Spencer’s view on the fact Levant is Jewish. “He’s a neo-conservative, as I understand,” Spencer replied. “The fact he has you on, you’re kind of pushing things in our direction in your own way. The fact I’m on here and we can talk respectfully, that’s great.” Spencer also authored that Charlottesville manifesto about which Goldy spoke reverentially. It calls ethnically defined states “legitimate and necessary.” Its point Number 2, about Jews, stresses them as distinct from white Europeans and calls the term “Judeo-Christian values” a distortion of reality.

Lilley, having watched a steady spiralling downwards of Rebel into conspiracy and white identity politics, finally found his breaking point. Levant will defend himself as not racist, but inevitably some people will see continued caterwauls about white oppression, relentless bashing of Muslims and refugees and Black Lives Matters as rather racist.

Many viewers and supporters have stuck in for the Notley- and Trudeau-bashing and put up or ignored with the stoking of cultural fires, but that must keep getting harder, as inevitably there will be more disturbing episodes to come; while other Rebel supporters will stick around specifically because this is a safe harbour for one side of what Goldy terms a civil war. Ezra Levant is seldom one to back down, and his organization’s descent into darkness seems to be getting harder and harder to reverse even if he tried.


 

The Rebel’s steady spiral downwards

  1. I find this entire story quite disturbing. I would be more focused on the death of Heather, the young woman who was killed after being hit by the car. Her parents thanked Trump for his condolences. Unfortunately this conflict would not have occurred if the Black Lives Matter and Antifa counter-protesters were not allowed at the Robert E. Lee statue removal protest. These groups had no permits to be at this rally, and had no legal right to disturb what otherwise would have been a peaceful protest. These two George Soros Leftist Anarchist Groups provoked the protesters swinging bats and spraying pepper spray at them. Rather than charging the members of these groups with a felony (“secure domestic tranquility”), they stood down. In fact they split the right protesters into to groups and pushed them up against the Antifa and BLM counter-protesters, thereby helping instigate and incite a riot.

    Nowhere in this article do you mention this. How is this news magazine to be taken seriously as neutral or truth-seeking? The fact is, McLean’s, as much mainstream media, has an agenda and this agenda is to marginalize conservatives, who much like the Tea Party, were generally peaceful liberty-loving working citizens, until Obama.

    Yes, white genocide is real, more so, Christian genocide is real. By destabilizing the middle east for no understandable reason, Obama and his partner in crime, Hillary Clinton ( and the crime spread sheet is quite large with her and the DNC) created a power vacuum, and voila, here is ISIS raping women and children, beheading men and enslaving all who do not ascribe to Islam.

    Does your magazine even touch these facts? No. Why would you? It does not fit the narrative.

    And by the way, The Rebel’s numbers are going down and yours are not.

    B)

    • Go stick a swastika up your ass.

      • Good thing your hubby paid off you student loans. So eloquent.

        • And if you support the swastika, you can do the same with yours.

          • I had you figured for some twisted ass-fetishist.

    • Quit your whining. Your first paragraph is a fairy tale. You cannot just create a narrative around a “peaceful protest” that you want to be true. There’s hours of footage of your “peaceful” friends chanting hate slogans and outfitting themselves with armor and weapons. Peaceful, my as$. Man up and accept what they stand for and their tactics. Say it. Otherwise, you’re just a coward. And your heroes don’t like cowards.

      Oh, and it’s funny how you list a litany of ISIS crimes without mentioning the new favourite of terrorist groups the world over: Mowing down groups of people with vehicles.

      • Absolutely right. If he thinks a black supremacist, racist group like Black Lives Matter and Anti-fa are peaceful protesters, the author is blowing smoke out of his ass.

  2. Wishful thinking on the part of Macleans and Rogers media to dismiss the Rebel Media. They have an incredible 875,000 subscribers on Youtube.

    I bet they have more subscribers then Macleans, and probably twice the viewership of the CBC.

    The reality is the mainstream media is all but a carbon copy of one another, whether one reads Macleans, or watches the news via the CBC, CTV, CITY, VICE etc; the news story’s are all told in the same lazy manipulative and ideologically purposed manner with as little evidence and or investigative reporting as possible.

    Thus in a world awash with Fake News but reliable high-speed internet; people are fact-checking the mainstream media against non-traditional sources. Such sources are therefore here to stay.

    • This is great. Have you submitted it to The Onion?

      • Michael Harrison – way over your head isn’t it !!

  3. Without Rebel Media, there would be nowhere in Canada anyone would be able to get the other view of Canadian issues. So, I believe it will continue to grow. If it doesn’t, fortunately we still would have access to FOX. There is good reason why FOX has a higher viewership than CNN, MSNBC and ABC together-that’s because it is far more balanced and you hear both sides of an issue rather than the one the left MSM wants to push.
    As an example, I clearly heard Trump say in the most recent dysfunctional media scrum that he abhors racists. I would assume that everyone views Nazis as racist. However, CNN spent a large part of today bemoaning that Trump didn’t say he hated Nazis specifically. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    • CNN either lies or simply omits certain facts…same with MSNBC…Trump has been denouncing the KKK since he was nominate as a candidate…the left keep accusing him of being one of them…there so many videos of Trump, starting from the /80s, denouncing the far right groups but most media simply ignore them…their only agenda is the removal of Trump…bunch of cry-babies…still upset that Hilary lost…BTW, what happened to all the Russia collusion?

  4. The Rebel media coverage of that event was not sympathetic: It was a truthful dictation of direct events that occurred. Faith was on site for the event and witnessed the crash. Just so happens, that those recorded events don’t match with the Mainstreams narrative of events that hit the air waves almost before they even finished happening. And that’s the issue here. And Rebel Media have Officially and publicly disavowed the Alt right and hate groups. Go watch on the Youtube page. Also see Faith define her self. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8WPz2u1ipA. But the left wing Media will not disavow the left wing hate groups Antifa or BLM. they have given them a free pass for many years. And lately, after the presidents condemnation of them, some have openly and passionately defended Antifa’s actions at that event as just and good.

    The Media wants the White Nationalists to take all the blame for the violence, while Antifa continues to go unnamed and unchecked. And they’ve decided that Trump or any other news outlet has to step in line, and accuse them fully of all the blame for the violence, or be accused of being sympathetic to them.

    In other words, step in line with our narrative, or suffer the consequences of being accused of being one of them. That’s rather unfair and narrow a demand.

    What the White supremacists stand for has nothing to do with the actual factual events that unfolded, and led to that women’s death. The White supremacists, Conservatives, and others, were milling about peacefully, before the Left Wing Antifa attacked them with weapons and home made armor at about 11:00. Then a car slammed into a group of people. It’s a stark contrast to the fake narrative: ‘Peaceful counter protesters attacked by violent White supremacists’.

    Brian Lilly unfortunately took the same corrupt stance. I’ve heard the CBC interview. He clearly bought into the Media’s narrative of the events, and the medias bulling. He did almost accuse the Rebel of being white supremacists on air. It’s a shame, cause he’s so wrong. But it’s clear that he’s been changing his views for a while, and him and the rest just don’t see eye to eye anymore.

    The media is protecting the Alt left wing Antifa and BLM hate groups as if their very lives depend on it. My only guess is that they support their actions fully. They must if they won’t condemn them. They are left wing, and Antifa are also left wing. You draw your own conclusions. One CNN guy openly defended Antifa’s actions at that rally. But Antifa is a hate group: The CNN should be disavowing them, not protecting them. Trump and the Rebel disavowed White supremacists, and all hate groups: but the Left with will not disavow the left wing hate groups: And that is scary.

    The deeper issue is that the Main Stream Media is losing the monopoly on controlling information. They have always had a left bias, and have always been top dog. They’ve always controlled and filtered what people see and think for since the dawn of TV. And no one out side of their corporate circle has challenged them. But now they don’t have the control any more, there narrative is being challenged: And they don’t like it one bit.

    The Media are very left wing bias, and getting farther to the left as time goes on. And allot of people don’t believe that bias any more. CNN has been branded as fake news by a sitting president: and that’s a big deal. They have every reason to be afraid. They don’t have control any more.

    • well said…what can one expect from the left wing, lying media

    • Sorry, you’re simply, objectively wrong. There is no deeper issue, not BLM, not Antifa, not some grand, fanciful notion of MSM conspiracy.
      All the hand waving and “look over there!” in the world will not distract from the neo Nazis and the President that enables them.

      These ignorant, hate-spewing, despicable lowlife fascists need to feel fear, have reason to be afraid. Because there are far more “mainstream” people who are completely fed up with these views going unchallenged, people who would see these repulsive, hate-filled cockroaches driven back to the darkest recesses they’ve seen fit to crawl out of.

      So, quit trying to hijack the issue. The issue is plain. We, as a society, do not have to tolerate neo Nazis, we certainly should not accept your invitation to look past or permit a vile ideology. There is no space we need provide, no allowance we need to make, for stupid, blind hate to breed. Violent opposition, given the circumstance, seems only necessary and reasonable.

      • Hooray and thank you.

        Finally……..intelligent commentary

        • Black Lives Matter is a black supremacist, violent group-no better that the white supremacists and more violent. They showed up along with the Anti-fa trouble makers at this terrible event armed with bats, shields, bottles of urine to throw at the police, etc. But the left MSM support them fully. They have been responsible for 90% of the violent riots and protests in the U.S. But the MSM support them fully. So, while they are tied with the white supremacists for being the winners of the vile competition, they are far more violent. They need a reason to feel afraid as well. But how will that ever happen when the MSM is in bed with them. Disgusting.

          • Oh bosh

      • You sound kinda hateful & pent-up. You should join Antifa.

        • You pegged him right!!

      • “Violent opposition, given the circumstance, seems only necessary and reasonable.”

        Those are your words, Small Fish. You just condoned the violence that ultimately lead to that women’s death. It it sounds like you’re condoning further violence.

        You don’t fight against words with weapons: You use words. But it seems that you guys have equated words with physical violence, all so that you can go in with your home make pikes and clubs.

        You guys are very dangerous; Fighting words with clubs. And considering that Antifa has used violence and weapons at speaking engagements that had simple Conservative speakers, like Milo, with no Media condemnation, you guys are dangerous indeed. You’re running amok unchecked, and getting worse as time goes by. All to the willful blind eye of the Media.

        • Both sides in that awful event used weapons!!

      • Delusions are faulty interpretations of reality that cannot be shaken despite all evidence to the contrary. I think we’ve smoked-out another developmentally stunted leftist (see anosognosia), who conflates objectivity with emotional reasoning.

        – Please support your argument with evidence that President Trump “enables” neo Nazis.

        I fear we’ll wait until the end of time for you to do so, or your pathological ego defenses will distort evidence to support your stunted world view.

        Remember, folks, that a leftist will see any counter-opinion as an act of aggression, as their diminished ego functioning means that they split all experiences into all-good and all-bad categories, with no room for ambiguity. You’ll note that our very small fish describes anyone who does not support his world view as “ignorant, hate-spewing, despicable lowlife fascists”

        The real fear is on their side, hence the impotent rage, and immature need to drive people who don’t agree with them into dark recesses.

        Dream on little dreamer. You are the short-term tyranny of the excessively vocal minority, and your days are numbered.

  5. Don’t you just wish the Rebel would disappear (you and the ever-vigilant, left wing, Emily). The Rebel is here to stay. It is the only news outlet that does not go along with whatever politically correct view is current. Conservatives do exist in Canada, whether you like it or not, and we are many, so why do you and the CBC cater to the left all the time.l

    • Wake up Lois……I, like most Canadians, am neither left nor right. You’re all crazy.

  6. ‘Das Sturmer’ spiralled higher for a decade, or so. Then the editor was hung as a war criminal.

  7. Here’s the story not being covered by anyone. The Rebel is a “media” outlet in the exact same way as, say, Leadnow is a media outlet. I.E., not.

    I expect The Rebel has put out MORE petitions and held more events than Leadnow, and I expect has more funding from American donors. The added bonus is they don’t have to adhere to Third-Party advertising rules, and can put out whatever they want in support of their chosen political players (like, say, do “interviews” putting their candidates in an enthusiastic and positive light). All while actually employing few to no experienced or trained reporters.

    Why not do a story on that, as well?

  8. Wow… I have rarely seen a more one sided commentary, but this is typical of the leftist mainstream media. It is a fact that very few of the economic migrants to the west are asylum seekers. the vast majority are economic migrants, and do NOT conform to the UN regulations to be confirmed as “refugees”.

    Am I bitter and jaded with Canadian policies under Jihadi Justin? Yes. Illegal economic migrants flock across our borders but i can’t bring my wife of 14 years and 2 daughters here to Canada from Costa Rica. Why? Because our oldest daughter at 19( obviously from a previous relationship) became very sick with ulcerative colitis and had her colon removed, and now has to wear a colostomy bag. Ontario won’t let her come as she has a pre existing condition now which will require ongoing care.
    On top of that i have been back in Canada 3.5 years and have yet to find a decent job at all. Now I am 61.and E.I. from a menial job is about to run out.

    So yes I am resentful… My daughters and wife are brown,,does that help? Unfortunately my wife is educated and English speaking, as are both daughters at 20 and 7. Eldest daughter with the bag received full scholarship to UCR for theatre arts, which of course is on hold. As were her plans to continue at UWO or even Fanshawe here.

    Rebel for the most part was on the money and speaking the conservative view.. not white supremacist views. too bad they have gone a littl astray. So am I jaded..yes. Omar Khadr gets 10.5 million for being a terrorist and a murderer, and i can’t bring my Canadian by law daughter ( the 7 year old) here, or my family, or find a decent job. Jihadi Justin and his people can go to hell.