Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is Ezra Suing Former Employee?

Merle Terlesky is a former employee of Ezra Levant's. Last year, he.... Well, let the fellow from Dust My Broom tell the story:

In late October 2007 I was in Calgary to see a concert and just prior to it I had dinner at some food court in some mall. As you went to sit down there was a bunch of those free lefty rags in stands so I grabbed one and browsed through it as I ate. This was not too long after the former publisher of Alberta's Western Standard Ezra Levant announced that they would no longer be printing the magazine and so the lefty rag was full of the expected Ezra this and Ezra that.

One of the articles of interest in Fast Forward Weekly was titled Lowering the Standard - Ezra Levant’s controversial right-wing mag is gone. Will anyone miss it? (October 25th, 2007). Read it then come back.

A week later a letter was written to Fast Forward Weekly by a former employee:

[Update 23:18 Contents of letter removed because I can now apparently be sued]

Apparently Ezra contacted the rag to get an apology and retraction for the article and the published letter, didn't get it and is now suing Fast Forward Weekly for the Lowering the standard article and letter writer Terlesky for a combined total of $100,000 for libel.

I'm not going to reproduce the contents of the letter here, but if you Google "Merle Terlesky" and "Dust My Broom"", you can read the cached version. Let us just say that it casts doubt on Ezra's stated reasons for publishing the now infamous Dutch cartoons.

Now, one might say argue Ezra is pursuing his case through legitimate means (the court system) and this makes all the difference. But read the fairly tame contents of the letter, note that the magazine itself had no problem publishing it, and decide for yourself whether or not it constitutes unacceptable/libelous speech. If it doesn't, ask yourself: why would someone launch a lawsuit they can't possibly win?

And if you come to the obvious answer--to use the legal system to silence speech they don't like--then ask yourself: is it the silencing of dissenting speech you're worried about, or are you okay with that goal if you approve of the technique being used (even where it is being abused)?

h/t to CC and Bartholomew, who has a brief statement purportedly from "Merle" in his comments section.

PS. Yo Mark Steyn! Come over and defend Merle against your Speech Buddy!


Ti-Guy said...

"Speech buddy"...heh.

The longer this goes on, the more I think Ezra Levant is completely insane. The contradictions are very difficult to reconcile: freedom of expression used to rail against diversity of thought; engaging in personal attacks and defamation while simultaneously complaining about "attacking the messenger;" constant complaining about oppressive statist collectivism while accepting state support to fund one's private enterprise, and so on and so forth.

I guess the bottom line is "conservatives," no matter how hard they try, cannot turn crap into something other than what it is and cannot turn dishonesty into the truth. I think I could write a PhD thesis on how current "conservatism" really is just an attempt to extinguish critical thinking and banish the very idea of standards of excellence (which I assert exist for every single thing, whether it's hot dogs or high technology) by those who, in so many different ways, are not intelligent or skilled or talented or creative or hard-working or pretty enough to meet any kind of standard of excellence whatsoever.

Cliff said...

Amazing. The FFWD article was if anything too nice to Ezra, fueling the meme that the loss of any independent media voice diminishes us all...blah blah blah, etcetera and so forth.

Merle Terlesky's letter expressed an opinion about Ezra's real motives for publishing the cartoons that anyone following his career with any kind of neutral intellectual honesty is going to inevitably come to. Interestingly, when I touched on this stuff here, another former Standard employee joined the discussion and Merle later contacted me wanting to reach out to that other contributor - his reason for doing so is becoming clear - as are that other individual's reasons for wishing to remain anonymous behind a screen name.

Ti-Guy said...

fueling the meme that the loss of any independent media voice diminishes us all...blah blah blah, etcetera and so forth.

I've heard that quite a bit from publishers in relation to The Standard's demise, and I've been finding it a really, really unconvincing argument. It's like lamenting the loss of a flavour of toothpaste (the one that tastes like vomit) among the 3000 that exist.

Magazines themselves might be suffering, but there is no shortage of information (in fact, there's a glut) that focuses on the conservative critique of liberalism, and in a much more compelling and persuasive fashion than anything The Standard ever published.

Greg said...

It's pretty easy to see what is going on here. Ezra's problem isn't free speech, it is the fact that the riff raff have a state sponsored way to bring people like him into court. He just wants to make sure that the wealthy have a way to shut the rest of us up, while maintaining his own freedom to say whatever the hell he wants. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Levant is doing more to truly protect freedom of speech in this country than all you leftard whiners put together. You talk about free speech, but you dictate taht only the Left should be able to judge what should be allowed. If one side is allowed to abuse a right, then sooner or later the other side will have that power as well. If you ignorant hypocrits could only see past your mind-controlling rhetoric for a moment, you'd see this to be true.

Reality Bites said...

Geez, don't you just hate it when someone lets out a loud smelly fart and won't own up to it?

Ti-Guy said...

Levant is doing more to truly protect freedom of speech in this country than all you leftard whiners put together.

I'll send him a cake with a file in when he ends up in the slammer.

Rest assured I've already spent plenty of time pouting and looking dismayed about the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Will you leftards be supporting this guy in his fight for free speech?

Anonymous said...

The funnt thing about all this is that Ezra has since launching this lawsuit agsint me said much worse and defamtory statements towards Syed Sowhardy than I ever said about him. Yet he calls his words free speech and mine defamation.

Anonymous said...

Lol... I worked for Levant too and I know Merle and this would be hillarious if it wasn't so depressing and I suppose predictable. I know other people who Levant has sued and ironically they are all conservatives. Sad, sad... stay away...

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