Cockburn turned sharply right when entering London's Heathrow Airport on Thursday afternoon, and who should he run into but Canadian media mogul Ezra Levant, proprietor of hard-right, right-clicking web outlet Rebel Media. Before Cockburn made a beeline for Duty Free, he secured the only interview Levant gave on his flying visit — literally, in fact, as Levant landed Thursday morning and was hurrying towards a late afternoon flight back across the Atlantic.
Levant was racking up a 7,000-mile round trip to visit Tommy Robinson, the rabble-rousing English anti-Islam campaigner and unsuccessful candidate for the European Parliament. Robinson, widely despised in the British media and on the left, is currently serving a nine-month sentence at Her Majesty's Pleasure in London's notorious Belmarsh prison for contempt of court, or, in Levant's words, 'doing journalism'.
Robinson's offense was to film and name suspects in a grooming gang trial. This was illegal, and might have caused a mistrial, but, as his supporters point out, the British press has a long history of doing worse. Perhaps more convincingly, they also argue that had Robinson been a hard-left 'activist' rather than a 'far-right' bigot or racist, the left-wing press and the BBC that now assail him would be defending him as a fearless 'citizen journalist', talking 'truth to power'.