Michael den Tandt writes that the apology Sun News issued this week to Justin Trudeau will go down in history as a superb example of insincere sincerity:
Having first suggested last week that Levant is not really a Sun News journalist, but rather a mere comment contributor, the network saw fit to broadcast its mea culpa via a voiced segment, in vintage newscaster baritone, that aired just before Levant’s regular Monday evening spot. The host himself did not apologize, or acknowledge the apology in any way. It was as though, as far as he was concerned, it hadn’t happened.
Like Paul Calandra's blubbering last week in the House of Commons, everyone knows that, behind the babble, there is no commitment to change:
Perhaps Levant threatened to quit rather than personally apologize? Or maybe the network preferred not to force the issue. Either way, it is now a given there will be future Levantist overreach, given this host’s odd, almost fetishistic obsession with the Trudeau family, and the federal election in the offing. No matter what tripe Levant spouts, whether about the Roma or about a federal politician, Sun Media does not withdraw his platform. Clearly, they love the guy.
Brian Mulroney reportedly insisted on the apology. But clearly there will be no attempt to change the organization's culture. In fact, nothing in Conservative culture has changed -- not for Levant, for Calandra -- or for the master of insincere sincerity -- the multiply apologetic Rob Ford.
But, den Tandt writes -- all indications to the contrary -- people are not stupid:
There is a reason why Levant is not taken seriously by many. There is a reason why Calandra is now a punch line. There is a reason why Rob Ford, before cancer took him out of Toronto’s mayoral race, was on track to get booted from office, and it is simply that most people are not idiots.
Despite every attempt by political professionals to purge a sense of honour from our politics, the majority of individuals still possess an instinct for truth. They still respond viscerally to its obvious presence or absence. They still can spot insincerity for what it is. And they are still predisposed, in a democracy, to punish politicians who routinely play them for fools.
Which begs the question: How will Canadians react when Stephen Harper tells them that going to war in Iraq is a "noble" enterprize?