Martin Joseph Anglehart’s story was like catnip to the media.
He said he regretted joining the Freedom Convoy and going to Ottawa. He said he didn’t even even have a position on vaccine mandates but was lonely and wanted to fit in. He said he drained his life savings – to the tune of $13,000 – buying food and fuel for truckers on the promise he would be reimbursed.
My heart went out to Anglehart when I first read his story. My immediate reaction was to blame the government, not the convoy, for preventing the millions of dollars of donated funds from getting to the organizers who were collecting receipts and tracking expenses.
But other aspects of the story just didn’t add up.
For example, CBC and CTV both reported Anglehart’s bank accounts were frozen, though the federal government has said all the accounts caught up in its Emergencies Act crackdown have been unfrozen. Neither of the outlets bothered to inquire further.
CBC’s original story, archived here, said Anglehart “never saw a cent.” After people challenged this online, CBC updated the story to say Anglehart received “roughly $2,000 in cash donations from fellow convoy participants to go home.”
Screenshots Anglehart shared from one of his online banking accounts show thousands of dollars going in and out. CBC and CTV either didn’t notice or didn’t bother asking.
It’s easy to understand the allure of Anglehart’s story to the media. It allowed them to cast the convoy as predatory and sow doubts about the money. Even as key details of the story crumble, CBC is standing by it.
“The angle of this report is one man’s personal story about the amount of money he spent on the protests, as part of our ongoing coverage of the protests and their aftermath, which has included a diversity of perspectives,” a CBC spokesperson said. “CBC News has verified bank statements confirming relevant facts in his narrative and we stand by our story. Additionally, Mr. Anglehart provided a transfer receipt and text messages that match outbound payments supporting the protests.”
The spokesperson acknowledged CBC reached out to Anglehart after people disputed aspects of his account and updated the story to clarity he “received about $2,000 in cash from fellow convoy participants to help pay for his way home.”
I interviewed Anglehart on my show this week for 30 minutes, giving him the opportunity to tell his side of the story. His account was meandering and inconsistent, and at a couple of points changed within the interview itself.
The “frozen” bank account story didn’t hold up. His only evidence was an error message he received when trying to do something in his account. He admitted to having access to other accounts.
He told me he received $4,250 in e-transfers and no cash, which directly contradicts what CBC reported.
At the end of the interview, I asked if he could provide me with the names or contact information of anyone he helped financially in Ottawa. Considering e-transfers are sent to email addresses or phone numbers, this should have been relatively easy.
The next morning, Anglehart sent my producer three names. One was a pseudonymous Facebook account I’ve not been able to reach. The second was a woman who said she never received anything from Anglehart, but rather offered him food and clothing when showed up at a protest camp in Milk River, Alberta. The third was a man who said he gave Anglehart $3,000 in e-transfers and was not aware of any situations in which Anglehart provided financial support to anyone else.
Since my interview with Anglehart, others have reached out telling me how they gave him sums ranging from $50 to $3,000.
I don’t know how much he collected or how much he might have spent trying to help others. Is he a scammer or just a guy financially in over his head? Whatever the answer, he’s not the victim the mainstream media made him out to be.
How did such an easily debunked story make it through the well-staffed and well-funded newsrooms of CBC and CTV? And how they can be so unrepentant when confronted with the facts?
Before the convoy arrived in Ottawa, I wrote that delegitimizing it would be difficult when it failed to live-up to the fear-mongering narrative set out by Justin Trudeau and the mainstream media. It wasn’t a violent insurrection. It wasn’t a neo-Nazi hatefest. It was a protest filled with good people who opened their hearts and wallets to those in need.
A month and a half later, fiction is apparently still the only way to take down the convoy.
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