Two weeks ago the National Post newspaper sent us an e-mail gleefully banning our reporters from setting foot on the grounds of the Alberta Legislature.
No explanation. No appeal. We weren’t invited to the secret witch trial. They just banned us.
It’s bizarre that our right to send journalists to the Legislature depends on the permission of a snobby little club of obscure, left-wing reporters called the Alberta Legislature Press Gallery. But for reasons that no-one can remember, they’re in charge of granting security passes to the Legislature.
And two weeks ago, they used that power to ban their main competitors: our reporters Sheila Gunn Reid and Keean Bexte, who run circles around the Media Party reporters there.
So we immediately launched our CancelThePost.com campaign, telling Rebel supporters to simply cancel their Post subscriptions. I mean, other than Rex Murphy and Conrad Black, is there any reason to read it anymore? Why not just read those two writers online, and save the $300/year subscription fee?
Hundreds of Rebel News subscribers cancelled their Post subscription.
But we did something else that terrified the Post: we had our lawyer send them a letter under the Competition Act.
You see, five years ago when Postmedia bought out its competitors (so now they own both the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun; and both the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun), they made a legal promise not to engage in anti-competitive behaviour.
Well, they broke their promise spectacularly and viciously by banning Sheila and Keean.
So last night, faced with a massive boycott and a Competition Bureau lawsuit, they blinked.
Not only did Postmedia disavow their own letter banning us, they actually ordered all of their own reporters to quit the Alberta Press Gallery themselves! And — even more delicious — they ordered their sullen reporters to just shut up about it, and to stop promoting censorship!
WATCH the video above to see Sheila’s thoughts on the subject — including the Post’s mealy-mouthed confession.
What irony: left-wing reporters at the National Post tried to ban us from the press gallery, and gag us. But now they’re banned from it and they’re gagged — by their own company!
Obviously, this is humiliating for them. It’s pretty clear the National Post is not the same newspaper that it was 20 years ago when I worked there. It takes $140,000 a week from Justin Trudeau’s newspaper bail-out. And it shows.
Other than columns by Conrad Black or Rex Murphy, is there any reason to even read it? And who knows how long they’ll be allowed. A few weeks ago, 30 National Post reporters — the majority of their newsroom — signed a censorship letter, demanding that Rex Murphy be banned from their pages.
If they’re willing to censor Rex Murphy, it’s no surprise that they wanted to censor us — we’re their largest competitor in Alberta.
The National Post embarrassed itself, it lost a lot of money, and it had to admit that it’s wrong. Those are hard things to do — and they didn’t do them very gracefully. You can read their angry editorial here — they condemn censorship, but they don’t actually tell their readers their own central role in the censorship fiasco. They call us a dozen names and insults — but then criticize us for being mean to other journalists.
I was on the editorial board of the Post for two years during its glory days — I can assure you that such an incoherent editorial wouldn’t have been published back when they had standards.
But enough about them. Today is a day of celebration — a group of censors had their bullying blow up in their face.
There is still a rump of reporters left in the tiny little Press Gallery that remains, including Trudeau’s CBC men . We’re going to re-apply for membership right away. If the remaining group of gatekeepers is stupid enough to ban us again, we’ll take them to court — and those sullen reporters can explain to a judge why they’re infringing on freedom of the press of their competitors.
Here at Rebel News, we believe in freedom.