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Maclean’s Newsmaker of The Day: Ezra Levant’s New Project

<I>Maclean’s</I> Newsmaker of The Day: Ezra Levant’s New Project

As Canada’s best-known Conservative pundit, Ezra Levant provokes discussion and debate wherever he appears. Whether it’s taking a hard look at human rights, political correctness, the ethics of oil, or the political events of the day, he has something insightful to say about everything, and he encourages everyone to think critically—and skeptically—about what’s going on around us. He is the former host of Sun TV’s always-controversial daily news program, The Source, the bestselling author of Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands, and the author of Groundswell: The Case for Fracking. Maclean’s magazine named Ezra their “newsmaker of the day today,” for his new online initiative, The Rebel:

The sun always rises for Ezra Levant. Just weeks after the great Sun News experiment officially failed—sunk by many factors, but mostly by its sale to Postmedia and the latter’s lack of desire to keep the cash-bleeding ship afloat—its biggest star has announced his next project: a crowd-funded news outlet called The Rebel.

Never mind the fact that the rebels in question seem to be a 99-per-cent white, aging Zoomer-demographic throng, one of whom is using an iPad to take a photo—The Rebel seems likely to be a valuable project to the greater Canadian one. As Scott Gilmore has already argued in these digital pages, the country benefits from more diverse voices, of which the arch-conservative Sun News certainly was. It may have been disagreeable at the best of times, and downright false in its premises in others, but just because you disagree, doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong.

And as Steve Ladurantaye noted on Twitter, this is the latest in a recent effort by individual Canadian journalists to trek out on their independent own, all while banking on their personal brand and crowd-funding. It’s been a success so far for former Maclean’s writer Jesse Brown at his Canadaland website and podcast, and time will tell if it’s a success for Levant. The reality is that no one quite knows what works in digital media—the major takeaway from no lesser an institution than the New York Times and its leaked digital innovation manifesto—and so The Rebel‘s crowd-funded format represents at least an effort to see what sticks. Maybe The Rebel will fail, too—but that seems unlikely; in mere hours, two $4000 professional-grade cameras have already been funded. One thing’s for sure: In Levant’s hands, things won’t be boring.

By Adrian Lee/Maclean’s/February, 2015