Note: I’m still working on Kinder Morgan Protest Unmasked Part II, stay tuned in the next 2-3 days, apologies for the delay…
In December 2013, this website published an article examining how Vancouver Observer writer Erin Flegg appeared to be walking the fine line between journalist and participant at several anarchist-led protests. Flegg magically had the habit of being right on-the-scene whenever masked anarchists planned illegal actions. The results of the research were inconclusive then, it may have been that Flegg was not a participant- perhaps Rising Tide was been inviting her because they knew she’d write a positive story (even when staff of Port Metro Vancouver are being assaulted).
Flegg appears to have moved on from Observer and is now writing for the equally dubious DeSmogBlog. Flegg’s recent work has the same marques of good propaganda as her work at the Observer. Take for example her profile on Burnaby Mountain Jakub Markiewicz- most Flegg’s “in depth look” into him centres around endearing the reader, and completely omits mentioning he was arrested on May Day during a violent clash with Vancouver Police. If there’s one thing we know by now about Flegg is that she’s as anarchist friendly as the publications she writes about.
Today’s story not only makes it undeniable that Flegg has stepped outside the boundaries of being a journalist, but it will also explain the soft position she took on the assaults she observed at least years Port Metro Vancouver protest. You see, Fleff was caught on-camera yesterday assaulting Sun News reporter Ada Slivinski.
So, What Happened Yesterday?
Yesterday afternoon Sun News reporter Ada Slivinski showed-up on Burnaby Mountain to investigate the RCMP’s refusal to immediately enforce Kinder Morgan’s injunction. The judge ruled that the injunction would start at 4pm, a few hundred protesters showed-up to show their disapproval.
Walking through the publicly-owned park, Slivinski found herself inside an area that the protesters quickly told her was out-of-bounds.The hypocrisy was stunning, it was only a few days earlier the protesters were complaining how it was outrageous that Kinder Morgan should imply part of the park was out of bounds to them.
Slivinski was first approached by a large man who put his arms around her, blocked her camera, and using “his big belly” to push into her. Next in the video we see some young white kid telling her she can’t be in that space because:
“This is unceded Coast Salish territory, you need to leave here”
Slavinski has explained to this site that there were native people present, but it was only the non-natives who were assaulting her. Next, after the anarchist protesters yelled at her “no media in here”, Slivinski was approached by Erin Flegg. Flegg’s first words were priceless:
“All of the other media have showed respect, you don’t see any media in here!”
The problem is, as we’ve already shown, that Flegg is part of the media. Apparently realizing her (freudian?) slip, Flegg quickly changed her tactic:
“You can be in here, but the camera cannot be. The camera, you cannot video the sacred fire. It’s the same thing with Oppenheimer, it’s the sacred fire, no it’s still a sacred fire- which means that you have to ask her permission”
While she was saying this, Flegg put her hand on Slivinski’s camera- physically touching and pushing on the lens. Slivinski responded by warning her that the camera was delicate equipment:
“Don’t touch it, this is a really expensive camera”
Flegg responded with that could be interpreted as a threat:
“Then you shouldn’t bring it here”
When Slivinski questioned the brutish manhandling and threats, Flegg responded with what sounded like a confirmation she was making a threat:
“I’m not threatening you, I’m telling you how it goes.”
Building on the protester’s hypocrisy threatening someone to leave an area in a public park while protesting a court’s decision to ban protesters from a public park, one of the protesters ended the interaction saying:
“Listen, we’re a peaceful camp.”
Erin Flegg: Journalist, Or Embedded Protester?
One of the biggest ethical problems common with Canada’s protester-friendly media (places like where Flegg has worked at the Observer and DeSmog) is that their writers often cross the line between journalist and activist. Sometimes reporters get so deeply embedded they drink the Kool-Aid, other times it’s just activists posing as reporters. Regardless of which path Flegg took, yesterday’s activities made it clear she’s not been operating as a journalist on Burnaby Mountain- she’s participating as a protester.
The best way to end today’s story is with one of the (few) sensible sensible statements we’ve heard from Observer editor (and fake Pulitzer prize nominee) Linda Solomon during this year’s fundraising appeal:
“The more I think about it, the more I feel like good reporting is the heart of democracy. Because if there’s no accountability, we don’t really have a democracy”
Indeed, it’s time for some accountability- let’s start with the DeSmogBlog and Vancouver Observer…
And in case you aren’t already familiar with the DeSmogBlog”s embeddedness in the protest industry, please check out the interactive chart…