Friday, 23 July 2010

Eric Margolis out

Veteran Sun op-ed columnist Eric Margolis is another casualty of Sun Media's shift to the far right, with little regard for longevity or popularity.

"I wrote for the Sun chain for 27 years because it allowed me total freedom of expression even when the editors disagreed with my opinions - something very rare in the media," Margolis told Toronto Sun Family in an e-mail today.

"This policy has changed. My views are displeasing to Ottawa," he says. "Accordingly, the Sun and I are parting company."

We'll miss his unique analysis of world politics. We also mourn the loss of op-ed diversity.

Margolis, like other high-profile Sun columnists who have been axed or forced into retirement without an opportunity to say farewell to readers, will remain visible online.

"My weekly columns on foreign affairs will still be available at each Sunday, and at and I am also on Twitter and Facebook."

As Eric says, there was a time during the glory years of the Toronto Sun when opposing views were welcomed by management and appreciated by readers.

Quebecor's newly-planted henchmen are putting an end to that editorial freedom.

It's eyes right these days as Sun Media turns into a haven for former PMO staffers intent on morphing the chain's print and broadcast image into Fox North.

Sun Media's parliamentary bureau has lost five columnists in the past month:

Greg Weston, Elizabeth Thompson, Christina Spencer, Peter Zimonjic and Kathleen Harris, who is still writing but as a national reporter from outside the bureau.

"Basically, all five people with substantial experience covering the Hill are out," says a TSF source.

"Another aspect that seems to have escaped the public is that with central layout of national pages, whoever controls the Parliamentary bureau controls the content of the national page inserted into a lot of papers," the tipster says.

"That person is now Kory Teneycke."

As you know, Teneycke is Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former director of communications.

Question of the day is, what happens to the new crew and dreams of Fox North if the Conservatives are trounced in the next election?


  1. Funny how this blog posits a "far right" conspiracy against Margolis, but fails to mention at any time that this guy was about as far left as a columnist could ever get for years and years. His blind hatred of G.W. Bush and his role as apologist for the forces that Canadians are battling in Afghanistan, etc. - these are the themes that resonate with an insulated, urban, academic leftist elite and not with Canadians in general.

  2. Not to worry, the Conservatives will not be trounced in the next election.

  3. Absolutely hilarious spoof of the coming Fox News North monster, modeled on their own wacky online ad from a while ago:

    God bless free speech.

  4. "...if the Conservatives are trounced in the next election?" ... Isn't that a big IF ..???

  5. Margolis was a republican for most of his life (he's American) but quit the party now that it is under the control of protofascits from the tea party movement. Margolis calls it like he sees it and reminds people there was a time when conservatives actually valued reason and democracy, rather than fantasy and ideology. The Sun will have its readers -- all 14 of them -- but it turned itself into a joke long ago. Just making stuff up, doesn't mean people will believe it. This is one margolis reader who will follow him to his online channels and will likely never pick up a copy of the Sun again. I don't have a TV so I won't be watching the yahoos on Sun TV either. Go ahead, enjoy your circle j%rk.

    1. Margolis turned left loooong before the tea party movement - and long before bush. I have read his work for many years and can almost count on 1 hand the times I thought he wasn't a sneering, condescending, leftist pseudo intellectual.

  6. To 9:31 p.m.: As Eric said, he was allowed "total freedom of expression" for 27 years, whatever direction he was coming from.

    That speaks volumes for the conservative-leaning tabloid when it was under the control of fair and balanced newspaper people like Doug Creighton. Peter Worthington also relished the occasional right-left columnist confrontation in the Sun.

    Those were the days when the Sun was fun and opinions were varied. It was a unique and successful formula that has been terminated by years of Quebecor cutbacks and, as witnessed in the past month, a full assault on experienced political columnists on the Hill.

    Right? Left? How about informative and diverse?

  7. "...if the Conservatives are trounced in the next election?" ... Isn't that a big IF ..???

    If anyone can manage it, Stephen "Stats" Harper can.

  8. It is a sad day for quality journalism at the Sun when they let go their best writers for ideological reasons. Mr. Margolis was the only reason I ever read the Sun and I will thus continue to enjoy his insights at the new venues. I will no longer read the Sun as it completes its transformation to a far-right echo chamber.

    This is further evidence of the end of Toryism in Canada. The Conservative party is NOT a Tory party. It is sad to see Canadian conservatives who value reason, intellectualism and honest debate left orphans by the drift to the far-right by the party and the resulting jingoistic ideological purity it entails, as has already occurred with the Republican party in the US.

  9. Great that Margolis has lost his soapbox.

    If his opinion is so important I'm sure he'd be picked up by the Toronto Star or the Globe. But people with his views are a dime a dozen in the media.

  10. Perhaps the CBC, CTV and Global might be interested in funding his left of centre views.

    Nothing wrong with an organization making human resource changes to reflect an untapped audience in Canada.

    Fox News produces most widely watched product? Audience included 30% Liberals? Anyone wonder how many Canadians also tune to American news vs the existing lousy Canadian product?

    No CBC, Global news show?

  11. This policy came into full force 2 weeks ago if you follow the editorials in local and small town newspapers .

    They have become outlets for Harper conservative main party website . No by line , no sources named and biased opion .

    i.e. ” Jet deal could see Grits crash and burn
    Posted By ?” (Barrie Examiner)

    ” MP candidates derailing Liberal Express bus tour By QMI Agency BARRIE, Ont. – Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s cross-Canada tour hit some more speed bumps ”

    I do apologize to all journalists but you have allowed Harper to implement his press policy since 2006 . Did you think he didn't have a goal starting with putting the Ottawa press gallery in it's place ?

  12. Sounds like a lot of sour grapes Margolis. There is no evidence that the Sun has turned to the right. The new TV station is not even on the air. You or other critics have no idea what it will look like. You talk about the years in the parliamentary press gallery. Thats the problem with the media today. Its a bunch of old warhorses who want the status quo and anyone particuarly a Conservative who wants to make changes is villified. The media is suppose to report the news. The PPG tries to create it. The census issue and the last prorogation were perfect examples. It is the media who tries to create the news and that is not what their purpose is. Report the damn news without bias and political ideology. Let Canadians make up their own minds without having some reporter with an agenda trying to advance a particular story line. Pack mentality? You bet.

  13. Question of the day is, what happens to the new crew and dreams of Fox North if the Conservatives are trounced in the next election?

    Well...that's really the point isn't it. Kory and several others do not expect Harper to last, which is why they are jumping ship.

    SunMedia is of the same view, which is why Margolis and the others are being axed.

    With a centrist group in power, there are far better prospects for an ultra Conservative medium to survive and thrive.

    We're facing some hard times ahead; harperites do not want to be in government - forced to make tough austerity-style decisions. Much better to leave that job to someone else.

  14. this is because the super rich corporations are supported by the far right which are buying up media organizations all over the world to trumpet only thier views, soon all tv and newspapers will lie like fox news

  15. Anonymous on July 23 at 11:50pm -

    You don't know what the hell you're talking about. Exactly the kind of idiot that would read Margolis.

  16. I for one will miss Mr. Margolis's excellent and balanced style.
    He will be replaced by establishment shills.
    Subscribers will not renew.
    Eventually the Toronto Sun will file for bankruptcy.
    Seems by design.

  17. It matters not whether Eric Margolis was "left" or "right" in his views. What matters is that he could express them. This culling of displeasing views from ALL media outlets in Canada and the US has been purposefully marching forward for several years. The result is an ignorant, uniformed, unable to think for themselves public - - just the way TBTB want it.

    I didn't always agree with what Eric wrote, but it was always worth reading for the information.

    Thanks, Eric, and hats off to you. Hope you have an even more prolific life as a private blogger.


  18. Given the state of the industry, I cannot honestly say that I wish I owned a newspaper.

    But if I did I'd hire Eric Margolis faster than you could say 'quick'.

    The Sun's loss will be someone's gain.

  19. Riddle,

    How do tell if journalists and reporters are good at their job?

    Answer: They get fired.

    On the other hand, lapdogs and doormats last forever.

  20. After 12-years of Liberal government and revelations around the sponsorship program, a plurality of Canadian voters decided it was time for a change in our federal government. It's safe to say that too few gave sufficient thought to the possible consequences of that change. But then again, who would have thought that after a mere four years of Harper Conservatism, one of Harper's lapdogs would be moved into the right-wing media to tighten the screws on what is left of free-thought among political commentators? Thus the loss of Eric Margolis. It's a sad day for journalism; it's a sad day for Canada.

  21. In Cornwall, Eastern Ontario, we get only 'Canned'west news and editorials. I, too, will follow Margolis and another favourite, Elizabeth Thompson, wherever possible.

  22. The last reason to read the Toronto Sun is gone. It will now join the rest of the tightly controlled public media and provide only the "approved" "news". It's going to get harder to find out when WWIII really begins in earnest.

  23. Last Sun paper I will ever buy was yesterday

  24. I hope Eric will put it in a book , soon?

  25. Canada has gone American.
    Conservatives won't make it out alive.

  26. One more reason to stop reading the Toronto SUN. I learned to read with that paper when I was three years old and since I was a teenager, I have been a tireless defender of Sun Media. For all its sensationalism and glaring typos, I forever appreciated that multiple viewpoints were not only permitted but encouraged. Contrast that with the Toronto STAR, the unofficial motto of which is "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted" (funny, I thought the motto of a newspaper should have something to do with reporting the news!)
    Of course, a couple of years ago, the SUN doubled its price, eliminated a good deal of its content, and put the rest online for free. Strange business model, that.
    Ah, well, back to my Globe I go.

  27. Smooth move, dumping Margolis.

    Wow: what bright bulb did that?

    Do you actually wonder why circulation is going down...?

  28. The lame stream media ship is sinking folks. Alternative media is the new kid on the block and considering we the listeners & readers have had enough of corporate views that newspaper editors must follow, its a good time for Margolis to go. Eric Margolis at least made an effort to bring an alternative view on world events that sometimes irritated the staus quo. Farwell Margolis & farwell to the Sun

  29. After reading the above posts,an old perception of mine came to the fore: Common sense and a realistic world begins and ends with the prairie provinces.

  30. Since about 90% of the media in Canada is leftist, I doubt that Eric will have trouble finding another gig. Time for the Sun to shift right where it really belongs in order to try and offset the other 90% of the media that is not. (real conservative)

  31. So, the U.S. morons have taken over another of Canada's resources.

    And anti-democratic forces at Quebecor follow them down to join the failed U.S. empire.

  32. This "news" cell will be the opening salvo in something Canadians of
    any sane and reasonable stripe might just look back upon as the beginning of the end.

    For certain adherents to openly gloat about their loyalty to a "Fox News"
    has had emails flooding back and forth the country.

    Not everything that forms public opinion is in mainstream media.

    The last real Canadians heard of "Fox news", they were mocking Canadian war dead.

    Apparently some find this alarming antiCanadian hatred something to adore.

    There are going to be problems.

  33. For Americans who are hopeful that the US government's coming to the rescue of dying print media might lead to good things, take a lesson from this. Gov't money will lead to gov't control of editorial direction and content.

  34. In reference to the post by July 24, 10:54 p.m., can you list the institutions that are so-called leftist media? And then please list the what you consider friendly right-wing media. If you see the job of journalism as comforting the comfortable, giving support to a particular ideology rather than asking people to explain themselves, then please go back to school and take J 101.

    Rob Lamberti
    Toronto Sun Unit
    87-M CEP

  35. Meh, print is dying, I see them giving the Sun away free all over the city. Who cares what hacks and flacks they have writing for them? Who reads newspapers anyway? Amish? Cavemen?

  36. Sad, sad news. Eric Margolis is a guy who stands up and yells "bull!", when it is needed.

    Indeed, he says too many things which some do not want to hear -- because they have something to fear.

    No Zen-like moments here.

    No "whatever... let him speak, even if I think he's crazy" talk.

    No, "he really pisses me off! Shut him up!... What are you talking about? He doesn't bother me at all".

    And the Toronto Sun becomes even more irrelevant.

  37. In 1995 we contacted Eric Margolis and requested his permission to publish him on the WorldWide Web. When he asked what that meant, we said that it would help his career and he gave us his permission. Since then, every Monday he has emailed us his column for posting at In proofing and publishing Eric's work over the past 15 years, I can recall only a single article with which I disagree (it was something pertaining to the new Pope). Even when a newspaper permits free jounalistic expression it does not mean that the writer is totally free from his awareness of the power of potential constraint. The upside of Eric's new freedom may well be that we will experience this brilliant and experienced foreign correspondent's totally free and unfettered journalistic expression.

  38. Margolis is no "leftist".

    He is a libertarian-leaning, small-c conservative classical liberal whose economic orientation is predominantly, if not purely, capitalist.

    What Margolis is NOT, is an anti-intellectual, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, right wing, nationalist, National Greatness, militaristic (despite his own lengthy military career), racist, Big Government, hypocritical, neo-fascist, neocon nut job.

    So he had to go.

    And he is better off.

  39. Eric Margolis was the ONLY remaining reason for me to pick up the Sunday Calgary Sun.

    Their local pundits are lame.

    Weston was a once-in-awhile-read who was reliable and relevant in terms of Hill coverage. He's gone, too.

    Instead we now get the occasionally interesting but nonetheless nutty neocon Ezra Levant. And not ONE other columnist worthy of newsprint.

    (Kory) Teneycke and his new Sun are representative of the latest of late stage decay in a corrupt and disappearing mainstream print media.

    Let them have their wreck of a newspaper chain and stillborn TV snooze channel; I too will follow Margolis online.

  40. the answer to the question "what happens to Sun Media if Tories don't win* the next election" - same thing as happened to FauxNews when Obama won. Nothing. WH was too scared to shut them out and so will any Lib govt be.

    * (win as defined in Canadian pol parlance, since the Tories current "least worst loser" minority status).

  41. Margolis and Copps...
    The reason I quit reading the Sun.

  42. The only real surprise here is that he was employed by them for so long. As someone else pointed out, 'journalists' with his political views are a dime a dozen. No sympathy here.

    But just out of curiosity, was everyone here equally upset about Rex Murphy being dumped by the G&M? If not, why not?

  43. Eric AND Greg are gone?! They were the only reason I ever picked up a Sun or visited the Sun website. Never again.

  44. I love the irony of the liberals posting here. They whine about the Sun moving to the right yet make no mention of the CBC which is clearly the mouthpiece of the Liberal Party of Canada and the worst offender of them all, the Toronto Star. If the Star were any further left, they would fall off the spectrum. As usual, liberals are all about free speech provided its pro left bias.

  45. Weston gone? Margolis gone? Bono gone?

    not much reason to read that paper anymore...

    (though Christina Blizzard's provincial politics column still a 'must-read'.. let's hope she is not axed too!)

  46. Bono's not gone, but it sure feels like it when he's writing anonymous editorials instead of columns. We can only hope the editorials gig is strictly a summer job, as promised.

  47. Ironic that liberal leftist types would whine about a far north Fox News . Could it be that they realize how powerful it is to control public perception as this has been the leftist plan since I was in college and belonging to such a group ?

  48. Hey the sky has fallen you can claim the lead in mushroom style journalism.. feed the public unbalanced crap while preventing any light from entering . There is a Leonard Cohen song about it.. "Democracy is coming to the USA "

  49. I have never, ever, agreed with anything that Eric Margolis has written or said on tv and radio, but his left of centre message was consistent and you always knew where he stood on an issue as wrongheaded as I always found his conclusions to be. Sun Media has been in flux for some time now, and their shift to centralized editorial pages chainwide affected my bottom line in a small way a couple of years back but I accepted that it was a business decision and carried on. As for Sun Media moving to the far right, that is as ludicrous as the notion that Harper will be trounced in the next election. The only world leader guaranteed of a trouncing, is far-left Prez Barry Obama in 2012.

  50. Thank goodness for the Sun. If I wanted only a liberal view of stories, I would buy the Star or watch CBC. When I watched CNN, I always felt I was not getting the whole story, or the other side of the story. Once I started watching Fox, I knew I had not been getting the whole picture.
    Fox is number "1" for a reason.
    Canada is ready for a Sun News channel. Once it comes, who will watch CBC?
    It is not a matter of a right or left only view, but a "Fair and Balanced" view of the news.

  51. I've been reading the Sun newspaper for many years. While I am a small C conservative, Eric Margolis was one columnist that I read without fail on Sunday mornings (yes I read Peter Worthington, Ian Robinson, Michael Coren and company as well. To bad they now only have the Peter Worthington and Ian Robinsons left. I thought the point of having editorial commentaries was to have various viewpoints. No matter whether you agree or disagree with a columnist's point of view, there was (and I stress was) a variety of differing viewpoints. That seems to be less and less. I look forward to the Calgary Herald bringing in a tabloid format. The quality of everything at the Sun seems to be deteriorating. As sad as it is, the only reason that I read the Sun anymore is that it is easier to handle.

  52. The only reason I ever read the Sunday Sun was for Eric's columns. The only thing readers or viewers of any media should ever remember is that the supposed 'left lib media' is only as left leaning as the 'right' leaning owners of that media allow it to be.

  53. Eric Margolis is an excellent journalist. He is well travelled and has had a lot of interesting experiences. A lot of things that he had predicted in his books became true. He discussed those subjects that very few other columnists would dare touch. He has always done a good job of educating his readers. It will be better for him to move on. It is really sad to see that a lot of companies/organizations/newspapers etc. in Canada are adopting zero tolerance policy for opposing views.
    We were never that way. Eric will be missed. The best measure of greatness of a country is how it handles and nurtures the differences among its citizens. Biologists say that if a species of plants and animals have the exact same genes; it won't be able to survive natural disasters. The same principle applies to the thought process of a society.

  54. I find it amusing that Ottawa is concerned over the writings of a single journalist, even though the remainder of the writers and editorial board are free to express their right-wing rants. It seems the truth, however small and oppressed, is a heavy contender and threat to the enormous train-wagon of deceit and lies by the conservative corner of media.

  55. They main reason I bought a Sunday Sun for the Margolis article.
    The rest was leftover stuff I read on line days or hours before.
    In a while the Toronto sun will set in the west with the rest of the Reformers who took over the Conservative Party never to be seen again. Control Freaks and US sucking politicians. Sure is hard to get them away from the trough once they get to it.

  56. Eric Margolis believed that Pope John Paul was the greatest man of the 20th century. he applauded the expulsion of the liberation theologists from the Roman Catholic church and supported The Reagan administrations' supression of the democratically elected Sandinista regime. How sad that we've moved so far to the right that neo-cons accuse Margolis of being left wing.

  57. I always enjoyed reading Eric Margolis ~ I now read me him online at his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter ~ because:

    1. He is a well-informed and to-the-point veteran of international affairs. He doesn't mince words.

    2. He doesn't tow any particular party line. Agree or disagree ~ and I usually agree with him ~ you know you're dealing with an honest point of view based on years of field experience.

    As a resident of London, Ontario, I can attest to the deterioration of The London Free Press during Quebecor's ownership.

    For several generations, The London Free Press was a strong and proud voice for Southwestern Ontario under the Blackburns.

    When Sun Media bought the Free Press in 1997, it appeared this fine tradition would continue when London-born Big John Paton was publisher.

    But the bottom dropped out when Quebecor bought Sun Media shortly thereafter. It was a lousy turn of fate.

    And it's not that the remaining staff at the Free Press are incompetent or lazy. There's simply been far too many cutbacks in staff for them to provide proper coverage while they receive their marching orders from out-of-town bean counters.

    As a result, circulation continues to plummet and staff morale is at an all-time low.

    Further, there's far less diversity in opinion columns with fewer local, regional, national and international voices.

    Even the quality of editorial cartoons is in the toilet.

    At one time, the Free Press provided editorial opportunities for talented, up-and-coming local writers to get published in a daily newspaper.

    Not anymore as Peladeau's Quebecor throws nickels around like manhole covers, notwithstanding the fact that advertising revenue at the Freeps remains high.

    It's a significant loss to readers, aspiring journalists and the country itself.

    This sad situation is mitigated somewhat by online opportunities, but there is no substitute for a vibrant print edition of a local newspaper.

    Currently, I can read the print edition of The London Free Press in a few minutes, including the once comprehensive Saturday edition.

    It's little wonder that former LFP editor-in-chief Paul Berton made the jump to the Hamilton Spectator several months ago.

  58. The one redeeming quality of the Sun was its policy of allowing a wide variety of non-conventional viewpoints in its op-ed columns.
    Now life is simpler: one less media outlet to choose from.

  59. TitoMoraga - Toronto10 March 2012 at 14:53

    I have been reading margolis' aticles from 1974 when I come from Chile after that military cup de etat -- Margolis was a defender of brutal Pinochet, but some time his analysis was right in perspectives -- Time pass and now I read his articles about Middle Orient and I found his opinion very smart and clear -- Perhaps Eric was refused in his opinions by "The Lobby" por never defend the Israel abuses made in USA in the region -- My respects, Eric