It has all the trappings of exactly the kind of sensational story that puts the modern media machine in overdrive: sex, power, profile, scandal and a defence lawyer who loves to cavort for the cameras. Yet when the kiddie porn case against a one-time influential bureaucrat who had the ear of some of the country's most powerful Liberal politicians was back in court last week, the only media outlet that covered the story was Sun News - an organization that the self-proclaimed Canadian media elite like to dismiss as buffoonish and irrelevant.
The day after every media outlet in Toronto turned Jian Ghomeshi's first court appearance into a spectacle, Sun was the only outfit that sent a reporter to cover a court hearing for Ben Levin, a former Ontario deputy minister of education and confidant of Premier Kathleen Wynne. The charges against Levin are no less appalling than what Ghomeshi is accused of, and include making, distributing, accessing and possessing child pornography, counselling someone to commit sexual assault on a child, and agreeing to or arranging for a sexual offence against a child. Besides the charges themselves, the most unnerving element in the case is that Levin was reportedly one of the main architects of a revised sexual education curriculum that would have introduced sex ed in Ontario classrooms as early as Grade 1. The proposed curriculum overhaul was rejected in the face of a public backlash.
It's remarkable to me that a virtual army of media would turn out to cover the sex trial of a guy whose greatest claim to fame was bitch-slapping Billy Bob Thornton on national radio, yet on the very next day in the very same city, they take a pass on the case of a prominent academic and bureaucrat who advised the government on sex education and ended up charged with kiddie porn. If nothing else, they could have at least counted on a good sound bite from Levin's lawyer, Clayton Ruby, whose conduct after Levin's initial court appearance last year was preposterously unprofessional.
Little wonder Sun News coined the phrase "Media Party". The Sun is rough around the edges, but it doesn't try to hide its conservative leanings behind a pathetic facade of impartiality.
The lack of attention to the Levin case is conclusive proof that the remainder of the media are collectively incompetent or have an agenda of their own. There is no other explanation.