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Blame the media, not the women

The role of the media in the demise of Patrick Brown

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By —— Bio and Archives January 28, 2018

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The role of the media in the demise of Patrick Brown
Of all the blame dished out surrounding the resignation of Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown, the media seems to be getting a pass in their role in the scandal that rocked the party.

Wednesday night, Brown spoke at a hastily called press conference. He had been contacted by CTV News about two hours before. He was told the network was airing a story later that night alleging he engaged in sexual misconduct with two young women years before and given the opportunity to speak to these allegations.

Brown, almost in tears, vigorously denied these allegations, said he has contacted his attorneys and will fight to clear his name. He made no mention of stepping down as leader. The Ontario election is scheduled to be held on June 7 of this year.

Early Thursday morning, Brown made another statement, this time saying he was resigning as leader of the party although he was staying on as an MPP. What transpired in the interim was his three closest advisors, his chief of staff, campaign manager and deputy campaign manager all told him he should resign. After he refused, the three of them resigned. Brown also took part in a conference call with some MPPs who said he should resign.

The first incident is alleged to have occurred about 10 years ago. According to CTV News, he met an 18-year-old woman in a Barrie, Ontario bar and invited her back to his place. He asked for and received oral sex. At this time, the relatively young leader was in his late 20s. Although the woman had been drinking, her recall of what happened seems good and she did not allege she was so drunk she was unable to consent.

In 2012, Brown invited one of his young female staffers back to his home in Barrie and she willingly accompanied him to his bedroom. He lay on top of her and began kissing her. She said no, she had a boyfriend at which point Brown stopped and then drove her home. Like the first woman, she was intoxicated but obviously able to consent because she clearly told him she did not consent.

Both of these alleged incidents occurred while Brown was a CPC MP in the government of Stephen Harper.

Neither of these events rise to the level of a sexual assault or sexual harassment so they are conveniently labelled “sexual misconduct.” #MeToo has now become a verb. Patrick Brown was #MeToo-ed.

While the media was criticized, together with politicians including Conservative MPs and MPPs for applying the presumption of guilt routinely imposed in these types of accusations, the media seems to be given a pass for CTV’s role in outing the conservative leader.

Many conservatives placed the blame on Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal Party

Many conservatives placed the blame on Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal Party. It is hard to believe Wynne would do this— five months away from the election. If the Liberals were to do this, they would have waited until the election was called. It would be virtually impossible for a party to recover from the loss of a leader and run a successful campaign at the same time. And it is hard to believe Wynne would prefer to campaign against a leader other than Brown. Brown had extensive social conservative credentials while he sat as a federal MP and the Liberals were looking forward to go after him on the views he held.

Others think the revelations were an inside job. After being elected leader, Brown told social conservatives they were no longer welcome in his party and while initially opposed to Wynne’s controversial sex-ed curriculum, after he won the leadership Brown did an about face. Brown also was in favour of a carbon tax to save the world from destruction by climate change. Brown angered a lot of conservatives and the timing of the revelations were such it is more likely an inside job than the work of the Liberals. The Toronto Sun is reporting Brown’s ouster was a “palace coup” orchestrated by supporters of Caroline Mulroney. The daughter of the former prime minister will run in the upcoming election and is expected to run for the leadership of the party.

The two “unnamed” women bore the brunt of the anger about the release of these allegations. Why, after all this time, did they “come out” with this stuff now? But the media seems to have escaped criticism for the release of this information. And CTV News was responsible for bringing down Brown.

And the rest of the media piled on. Some reported Brown was accused of sexual assault although neither of the allegations rises to the level of a criminal act. One reporterette with CP24 described the woman in the first incident as “underage.” True, if she was 18, she was too young to be in a bar. But that was not Brown’s fault. He did not take her there and it was not his responsibility to ensure people in the drinking establishment are not underage. Brown’s only responsibility was to make sure she was old enough to consent to sex before attempting sexual contact and she was.

Brown’s downfall was brought about by the meida to throw the opposition to their beloved Liberals into disarray. The network never would have done this to “their party.” Despite the scheming that led up to these revelations, the media deserves the blame. Certainly not the women. Their stories have a ring of truth to them because if they had plans to take Brown down surely they would have accused him of actual sexual assaults rather than what is now being labelled as “misconduct.”


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The irony is CTV’s desire to take down Patrick Brown is not likely to help Wynne

What CTV obviously failed to realize is these career-ending episodes are not limited to politicians. Several media personalities such as Matt Lauer have been found guilty without trial for similar accusations. Bridget Brown (no relation to Patrick) formerly worked for CTV in Calgary. On Friday she wrote about her experience with Toronto CTV reporter Paul Bliss on her blog. According to Brown, she met Bliss about 10 years ago. He invited her into his office at Queen’s Park, kissed her and grabbed her head indicating he wanted oral sex. She refused. Brown said she was only talking about this now after seeing Bliss reporting on Patrick Brown. CTV saw the blog post, spoke with her and Bliss has been suspended pending an investigation.

The irony is CTV’s desire to take down Patrick Brown is not likely to help Wynne. With Brown’s social conservative background while he was a federal MP, there is little doubt the premier would rather have faced Brown in the election than whoever will be appointed as leader.

Blame the media, not the women.

Arthur Weinreb -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. Arthur’s latest book, Ford Nation: Why hundreds of thousands of Torontonians supported their conservative crack-smoking mayor is available at Amazon. Racism and the Death of Trayvon Martin is also available at Smashwords. His work has appeared on,  Drudge Report,

Older articles (2007) by Arthur Weinreb