12.16.2013 10:42 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: I don’t bite, Justin.

Justin Trudeau won’t agree to an interview.

With Sun News, that is.

He dismisses queries from Sun Media reporters on the Hill, even super nice guys like David Akin. He routinely dismisses questions from Sun Media reporters.

And, last week, we asked him if he’d do one of those friendly year-end interviews with a Liberal-friendly audience — that is, Yours Truly — but he dismissed the idea.

Now, we may be the biggest newspaper chain in the country, with an audience in many of the places where the Liberal leader needs to be heard. We may be able to get to every other Liberal leader you can think of, including my former boss, Jean Chretien. But Justin Trudeau isn’t interested in talking to Sun News.

On the one hand, it’s easy to understand why.

Some Sun News folks have been completely over the top about Trudeau, calling him names and whatnot. If he feels that he sometimes doesn’t get a fair shake from Sun News, he’s entitled.

On the other hand, it strikes Yours Truly as a pretty dumb media strategy. For example, Rob Ford famously stopped talking to the Toronto Star because it published a story about his conduct as a football coach. Didn’t exactly work out for Mayor Crackhead, did it? Nope.

Since Justin Trudeau has decided not to ever speak to Sun News, we are left to imagining what a Justin Trudeau interview would be like.

If I’d been given the opportunity, this is the one thing I wanted to speak to him about — him, and how he speaks.

In a year-end interview he gave to The Canadian Press, Trudeau was asked about his verbal missteps — saying he admired China’s “dictatorship,” saying the Boston Marathon bombers felt “completely excluded” from society, and so on. He gave an answer that fascinated Yours Truly: He acknowledged his mistakes. And he said, in effect, get ready for more flubs.

“Even though every now and then I give a little extra fodder to my opponents to try and go after me, ultimately I’m right in trusting Canadians, that they will understand that my focus is entirely on trying to serve them in the best and the realest way that I possibly can.”

(Nota bene: “Realest” is not a word, although Tupac Shakur used it. It means being truthful.)

This answer was clever, in two ways.

One, it’s a candid and honest admission by Justin Trudeau about one of Justin Trudeau’s shortcomings, for which he deserves credit. Or, two, it’s a bit of pre-conditioning — some inoculation — against future verbal gaffes. Which is astute, and for which he also deserves credit.

Either way, there’s no downside — and a fair amount of upside — to saying such a thing. He wins either way.

But here’s the problem. Here’s the question I would have asked him, had he given me the chance: “Given that your opponents, on the right and left, clearly want to depict you as lacking judgment and lacking experience — given that they want to persuade voters that you’re a rakishly handsome man-child — isn’t it simply a better idea to, you know, stop making verbal gaffes?”

That’s the question I would’ve asked Justin Trudeau, if he had agreed to an interview. So perhaps no one is going to ask him that in year-end interviews.

Canadian voters, however, one day will.

And voters are not so easily dismissed.


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    Ron Horwath says:

    Your cher Justin will become political dead meat once the election campaign starts seriously. He will be depicted for what he is, a louche Liberal following in the downward spiral of Martin, Dion, Ignatieff, Rae too.

    He has conveniently “apologized” for his gaffes, e.g. québécois superiority, admiring the Chinese regime, toking pot, HoCs absenteeism, moonlighting while a MP when he should be learning his trade as a MP and now a PM-in-waiting! His apologies will be ignored once the Con and NDP attack ads portray him as a silly man.

    His charisma will be shattered once Canadians have a good gander at Justin Trudeau and stripped of his celebrity image.

    I see Justin Trudeau as the last leader of the soon-to-be defunct federal Liberal party because his greatest challenge will come from Mulcair, not Harper. Harper needs the Trudeau Liberals to split the liberal-lefty vote, while Mulcair must destroy Trudeau and the Liberal party to ascend to government.

    That in a nutshell is the reality of the game.

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      Kevin T. says:

      Sounds like someone is in line for a Patrick Brazeau-ing in 2015.

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        bluegreenblogger says:

        A new verb? was Patrick Brazeaue’d or Trudeau’d ? A common theme is emerging, Trudeau vastly underestimated, keeping expectations low at all times, comes to bat and hits a triple. Consistently. Boxing match. Leadership contest, attack ad salvo, fundraising drive, by-election wins, what’s next? Stay tuned.

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      Lawrie Jeffrey says:

      Go change your diaper. Like all the rest of you right-wing extremists, you’re scared shitless of Justin. Besides, if Harpo is lucky enough to split the vote, then its time for an NDP-Liberal coalition. So enjoy the last of this fiasco gov’t cause you’re gonna be exiled to the wilderness.

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    Matt says:

    Just wondering Warren:

    Do you know if Harper, Mulcair or May were asked by SNN for year end interviews and if so, did they accept?

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    Sean says:

    The same attitude seems to work for Harper… and if we have learned anything from Harper, it is that voters ARE easily dismissed.

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      JH says:

      I agree. Harper absolutely drives Bob Fife crazy because he won’t talk to the press. I also suspect the public loves it that the PM ignores the Dandy Lions of journalism ( present compnay excepted of course). The folks don’t seem to have that much regard for the Parliamentary Press Gallery crowd themselves these days.

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    Sandy White says:

    Warren, I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to give you a few minutes of their time. Maybe it’s time to move onto another media outlet. Keep smiling–

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    Vankleek Hill says:

    I speculate that his handlers fear more gaffes, and want to keep him from putting his foot in his mouth…. Sarah Palin made the mistake of trying to answer softball questions from Katie Couric. She was exposed as what she really was, not too bright, and uninformed…. His handlers don’t want to make the same mistake. Keep him away from the media.

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      smelter rat says:

      You’ve obviously never heard him speak.

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        Vankleek Hill says:

        I guess Warren hasn’t either? What are these gaffes that he speaks of?

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      Kevin T. says:

      The only person who is staying away from the media is the one person who ran on accountability and shrieks like a vampire in sunlight when faced with a non-vetted microphone wielder

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        debs says:

        hah, aweseome!

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    david ray says:

    I think Trudeau should speak to Sun News after Ezra Levant steps into the ring with Justin. Shiny pony indeed.

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      bluegreenblogger says:

      If anybody gets into the ring with Levant, it should be someone of Roma extraction. Or perhaps a muslim. They have to deal with Levant inspired knuckledraggers in their daily lives.

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    dave says:

    I am not sure JT has made that many gaffes. When you read his comments in context, the entire statements, he makes a pretty good sense. Media and other parties cherry pick a phrase or one sentence, something that used to fit on a bumper sticker, or now fits on twitter, and pretend that is the whole of the statement. I likely will support a leftie, not a Lib, but I think with another year or so of JT’s leadership, and when people get to pay a bit more attention to his statements than just the cherry picked stuff his opponents and media put out, he will do well.

    I watch Suntv from time to time. To paraphrase from a Pynchon novel, How much of a right wing huckster do you have to be to say the CBC is left wing?

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    patrick says:

    I don’t think his dad did interviews with the Sun either. I remember Worthington telling his readers what questions he would ask him and then, in a moment of stunning clarity that was never again repeated, admitted there was no way he could keep up with the elder Trudeau’s intelligence and that he would probably make mincemeat of him.

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    GPAlta says:

    Sun News is not a media outlet. It is destroying formerly proud media outlets across this country, turning them into propaganda machines, and firing all of the employees of those formerly proud media outlets.

    The difference between the Star vs. Ford and the Sun vs. Suzuki/Climate Change/Trudeau/Roma/First Nations/the UN and other enemies of the Harper State is that the Star was telling the TRUTH, and the Sun is telling LIES. DAMNED LIES, and the Sun is destroying Canada with its damned lies.

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      bluegreenblogger says:

      Honestly speaking, the Star is only better by comparison, not really in absolute terms. I have been ‘Liberal Friendly’ for my entire adult life, but I could not stomach the relatively subtle bias in Star news reporting. That the Sun is so overt in it’s partisanship says more about their readership/viewers than their ethics. It would be nice if all news organisations drew lines between columnists and news reporting that were a little more explicit. But they won’t, because they like having power, and they can use it to their advantage. I blame it on Rupert Murdoch, and his political, er um I mean Media empire. He blazed the path, and lesser Canadians like Conrad Black merely followed in his footsteps.

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      Matt says:

      To be fair, yes the Star was right about the video, but they lied about Ford verbally abusing and pushing members of the Don Bosco Eagles and continued to report it even after the kids who were the alleged targets denied anything happened.

      The Star/CBC did lie about him calling a 911 operator a “bitch” and saying “do you know who Iam? I’m Rob f**king Ford. The f**king mayor”

      Both Chief Blair and the OPP Commish listened to the tape and confirmed he didn’t.

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    m5slib says:

    Warren, one time you said something about a candidate being defined by who their enemies are… or something to that effect. The owner of this website notwithstanding, I think Trudeau would do well by having Sun news go after him like they always do. A part of me thinks he even does it intentionally because it plays into the correct narrative. The kinda voters who will buy Trudeau’s message aren’t really the Sun news loyalists, but I could be wrong.

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    ottlib says:

    What would be the point? Sun News is going to make him out to be a reptilian kitten eater whether he speaks to you, Mr. Akin or the ghost of Ghandi.

    I do not blame him one bit for ignoring and avoiding them at every turn.

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    Beth Higginson says:

    The problem is that when they were in Milton, the only question they asked him was bout pot smoking.

    The only time I watch Sun Media is when Warren or Lisa are on.

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    SherryBellamy says:

    Well, according to Ezra Levant, Justin Trudeau is now a Muslim, having recited the appropriate prayers in a mosque. In addition, Ezra informed us that Justin’s wife and mother posed for their 2013 Mother’s day portrait wearing the hijab. (Near the end of the article Ezra states that he “doesn’t believe” that Justin Trudeau is a Muslim, but to the readers of Sun News, that sneaky little backtrack is meaningless.)


    I can only assume that Mr. Trudeau won’t speak to Sun News because of some instruction contained within the statutes of Sharia Law. That would be the Sharia Law that many Sun readers think is imminently coming to a courtroom near you, courtesy of the newly-minted Muslim Justin Trudeau.

    What else could it be?

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    Hal Bernstein says:

    Apparently, his advisors believe like David Suzuki: Sun News should be avoided at all costs. If you want to butter him up, remind him that Elizabeth May let Sun News people into some events where they were being banned.

    Beyond access issues, herein lies the fascinating tension. You’ve got a good-looking “man-child” with star power – the political equivalent of Justin Beiber – yet, it is realistically impossible to expect him to “stop making verbal gaffes.” Is he punch drunk, high on grass, the siren’s call of the genes, this lack of impulse control? Nobody knows. Everyday must be a white knuckle day for the JT war room, having now bet the Liberal farm, and wondering what bizarre pearls of wisdom may fall from the lips of the Dear Leader.

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    SherryBellamy says:

    One more thing….(Nota bene: “we are left to imagining” is not a real string of words to employ in a properly constructed sentence. Maybe Tupak Shakur used it.)

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    bluegreenblogger says:

    I am surprised that Trudeau would decline an interview. It would give him a chance to speak to Sun viewers in full sentences instead of selective and out-of-context quotes. It is not the same as declining to answer their newsprint reporters, as the filter is life and real time, not an editor and reporter picking and choosing quotes.

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    William says:

    Trudeau’s biggest asset is voter fatigue and scandal in the sitting government.

    There’s no upside in an end of year interview with SNN where he’s liable to make more gaffes. He won’t convert any voters there who are already highly partisan and least likely to change their votes.

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    Ty says:

    I’m with Justin.

    Some good folks on Sun (including you), but the inmates obviously run the asylum to the point that it’s toxic. “Ford Nation” was the final nail in their credibility.

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      Robin says:

      Agreed. Trudeau is making the correct choice. “The medium is the message” – if he agrees to a year end interview with Sun News Network, it implies that he considers SNN to be a reputable “news” source, it’s not. If he agrees to this, what’s next; a year end interview with Patrick Brazeau for Frank Magazine? (To be clear: I am not comparing you, Warren, with Brazeau; however, SNN is less credible than Frank Magazine since Frank, at least, admits it isn’t a real news source.

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    Reality.Bites says:

    Let’s face it – he’ll reach exactly the same number of potential supporters by not appearing on Sun as he will if he doesn’t. And he will spare himself weeks of having his words twisted and outright lied about.

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    Reality.Bites says:

    that should have read “if he does.”

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    Philippe says:

    Asking someone if it’s a good idea to stop making gaffes… I’m pretty sure that they’re called “gaffes” because they unintended in the first place. Not like he can flip an on/off switch…

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    Kev says:

    Given the crap Sun “News” goes on with, I don’t blame him.

    Maybe if Sun started acting like a real news outlet, instead of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Tory Research Bureau, they’d get an invu.

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    KP says:

    Sorry WK, disagree completely. There is literally no upside for Trudeau to appear on Sun News – which is an editorial channel, not a news outlet – because he has nothing to gain.

    If you think the screeching banshee partisans who make up your colleagues are actually going to a.) give the guy a fair shake, b.) allow him to actually answer questions c.) allow you, the ‘Liberal voice’ on the network to conduct the interview or d.) soften slightly to the man after he ‘faces’ them, as though it’s a personal weakness that he hasn’t, I think you’re being a silly person. But you’re not a silly person. You just work for a silly network.

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      Robin says:

      I agree. Well said. If Trudeau agrees to an interview with Sun News Network, regardless of who does the interview, it implies that he considers Sun News Network to be a credible news network; it isn’t, he doesn’t, therefore, it would be disingenuous of him. Besides, the troglodytes who watch Sun News Network won’t be impressed or swayed, so it’s pointless.

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        Warren says:

        Guys, it’s me. We basically told them they could set the rules for the thing. No one else would be there. It was going to be me.

        They look sucky, like Ford does with the Star. It’s stupid.

        If they don’t like me, fine (I don’t know why, but maybe they don’t). So do it with Akin. He is one of the most respected and fair reporters around.

        But they wouldn’t do that either.

        Like I say: sucky.

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          m5slib says:

          Here’s the danger in him doing an interview with you or Akin (whom I think is ok, but I don’t hold him the quite the same regard you do):

          “So the Shiny Pony finally agreed to talk to SNN after months of avoiding us. Of course, being the primadonna he is, he made demands about who would interview him, and he made sure that the was interviewed by a Liberal friendly interviewer – another former McGuinty guy like his main man Gerald Butts. What’s he scared of? Is he afraid to answer tough questions? Are his people shielding him from more gaffes? I dare Trudeau Jr. to come back to SNN and face to tough questions!”

          I can just see Ezra now. Then they harp on this for a couple days, and try to get Justin to play defence. No win.

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    po'd says:

    Harper refuses traditional year-end interview with CTV for the 2nd year. He won’t get Fifed again!


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    Derek Pearce says:

    All I can say is, I will chuckle when the day comes a la you and the NP, where you and Sun News part ways and then we get to hear the real dirt about working for them actually drives you crazy 😉 I do think JT should do an interview with you (as in you WK only) since he knows the rest of QMI will sh*t on him regardless, and a positive headline or two in amongst that can’t hurt…

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    Paul says:

    who cares ..deosnt seem to say much when he does speak…

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