12.01.2014 10:28 AM

Before anyone gets too enthusiastic about Jonathan Kay, read this

Kay, in his transition to the new boss at The Walrus, has energetically sought to position himself as the sort of sensitive, progressive urban Toronto latte-sipper he spent the last decade or so attacking.  Thus, all over Twitter and Facebook on the weekend, Kay’s polemic about He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-Here got all kinds of enthusiastic retweeting in deepest Annex.  Yay! Jonathan Kay is just like us!

Not quite.  Here’s just one of Kay’s more notable misadventures on the far right, and the result:


On Monday, the National Post posted on its FullComment.com web blog a column by Jonathan Kay that repeated allegations made by Bernard Klatt in a 2006 sworn affidavit against lawyer and Canadian human rights activist Richard Warman. Mr. Klatt has alleged that a racist posting on Freedomsite about Senator Anne Cools was made by Mr. Warman in 2003. The National Post has no evidence to support Mr. Klatt’s allegation against Mr. Warman and it hereby retracts any suggestion that Mr. Warman manufactured any statement about Senator Cools. The National Post apologizes for any embarrassment this has caused Mr. Warman. [February 20, 2008].

Two fun guess questions:

1.  Guess who Kay’s source Bernard Klatt was? Surprise, surprise: a guy who hosted web sites for the Heritage Front, the Euro-Canadian Defence League and the Canadian Patriot’s Network, plus folks like the White Power Skinheads, Berserk, New Order and Nordland.  Great source, Jon!

2.  And guess who relied on what Kay wrote, and repeated it? Yep.  You guessed it: He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-Here.  Surprise, surprise!

My point isn’t about Bernard Klatt or He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-Here. My point is this: for many, many years, Jonathan Kay fanatically promoted the very views and people he is now busily attempting to discredit.

That should tell you all you need to know about the new editor of The Walrus – and, sadly, what that means for the magazine’s long-term prospects.


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    smelter rat says:

    I have no idea what possessed the Walrus people to hire him. Very strange.

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    Tiger says:

    One annoyance about that Kay column (which I agreed with in part and disagreed with in part) — Kay once again didn’t disclose conflicts. (Which is really all you have to do, in my books, to stay on the right side of journalistic ethics in these matters.)

    He didn’t mention (even just in a one-sentence note at the bottom, by the byline) his go-around with Levant over his participation in the Trudeau book.

    Those things should be disclosed contemporaneously — we all know it, but we aren’t all (or even most) readers.

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    Merrill Smith says:

    “We further acknowledge that some of our statements were based on facts that were false”. Moreover, we also acknowledge that we haven’t the faintest idea what the word facts means.

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    terence quinn says:

    I am a little disturbed by what appears to be editorial interference in what columnists write for certain papers. One glaring example for me is Andrew Coyne who appears to be pushing himself further right than he is comfortable with.

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    Michael S says:

    “There’s no whore like an old whore.” – Someone who’s name I’ve forgotten.

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      JH says:

      Brian Mulroney said it about former Liberal cabinet minister Bryce MacKasey (spelling?).

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    davie says:

    We give a lot of time and resources to columnists, opinion people, in our print media. But, I wonder if they are being replaced by what we can get on the internet. There is more space for our engagement with idea or opinions on the internet.

    Would newspapers, and, perhaps, magazines, do better to put more emphasis on reporting.

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    Jeff says:

    I have never met Jonathan Kay. But I have noticed a shift in his thinking in his columns over the course of a few years. People do change, and often enough it is for the better.

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      Brammer says:

      As a long time Walrus subscriber I am nervous about his appointment but I will, with some trepidation, give him the benefit of the doubt. I consider the magazine to be on probation.

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    P. Jackson says:

    This is actually logical. The Walrus Magazine ran in the September 2013 issue: “Letter from America” by leftist Chris Hedges, lamenting the lack of revolutionary fervor in America: ” The universal, radical, ideological and utopian visions that sparked revolutions in Russia or Germany after World War I are foreign to our intellectual traditions.” Historically, the only revolution in Russia was the Bolshevik revolution. The only notable post WW I revolution in Germany was National Socialism. These revolutions joined forces and invaded Poland in an orgy of murder and mayhem and started World War II. How is it that Hedges doesn’t know this? Hedges goes on: “The United States has never produced a great theorist, no Alexander Herzen, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxemborg, or Antonio Gramsci.” Has Hedges not figured out that the Communist Manifesto is of the same stuff as the Mein Kampf? Indeed, this is the great problem of “progressives.”

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