Home News Canadian right-wing pundit Rex Murphy dies at 77

Canadian right-wing pundit Rex Murphy dies at 77


Canadian newspaper, radio and television commentator Rex Murphy died on May 9 in Toronto. He is 77 years old.

He died of cancer, be announced On the front page of the National Post, a widely read daily newspaper for which he also wrote a column, one of several he has published in Canadian newspapers over the years, including Toronto’s The Globe and Mail. Kevin Libin, editor of the National Post, said Mr. Murphy died in hospital.

In his heyday in the 1990s, Mr. Murphy was a rare political commentator with a national audience, lashing out at Canada’s elite and sometimes fragile national consciousness. His roots in Newfoundland, Canada’s youngest province and one of its most rugged, gave him a combative patriotism and a love of the country’s working class.

From 1994 to 2015, he served as ” “Transnational Inspection” A popular weekly radio hotline show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. When grumpy listeners expressed their views, he would listen patiently and then express his own points pointedly. For much of that time, he provided weekly commentary on The Nation, CBC’s main evening television news program.

“He was Canada’s No. 1 provocateur for a long time,” said Tim Powers, a former CBC colleague and friend.

in a 1996 IntroductionCanadian news magazine Maclean’s said of Mr. Murphy: “He has become the most unlikely of Canadian celebrities—an eccentric, unphotogenic being who defied the canons of conventional programming wisdom and etched himself into the world. in the national consciousness.”

Mr. Murphy was a novelty in Canadian broadcast journalism with his long sentences, regional accent and Rhodes Scholar vocabulary.

He expressed a modest view of his contribution. “You can stir the pot a little bit, but this is really conversational stuff,” he told a CBC interviewer in 1995.

Yet his control over conservative national audiences is unquestionable. “In a country where people are more likely to take a ‘one side, another side’ approach,” Mr. Libin said, “Rex did no such thing. He knew exactly what he wanted to say.”

Mr Murphy has made a sharp political rightward turn – from commentating for centrist outlets such as the CBC and the Globe and Mail, where he had regular columns until 2010, to his advocacy in the National Post ’s right-wing views – which have their roots in, in the view of those who know him, his own working-class background.

National Post, founded by media mogul Conrad Black Murphy was convicted of fraud in the United States in 2007 and pardoned by President Donald J. Trump in 2019, and Black has expressed admiration for him in articles. Murphy proved to be a forum for like-minded people.

For example, he echoed the standard defense of Mr Trump in the US conservative media. He claimed in a 2021 column that the real story was that “FBI leadership attempted to frame Trump using the now-infamous Steele dossier,” a reference to former British spy Christopher Steele Materials compiled by Trump detailing unsubstantiated ties to Trump. Trump and Russia.

Mr Murphy’s journey to the right can be seen in his comments. He went from mocking OJ Simpson’s “Rolex Lawyer Platoon” on the CBC in 1995 to deriding what he called “Bush haters” in a Globe and Mail column in 2004 (then targeting George W. W. Bush) and then published a tirade in the Globe and Mail. The National Post objects to what he calls “climate alarmists,” people concerned about climate change.

He often takes responsibility for what he sees as the sins of “woke” politics and “wokeism.” In a February 2023 column, he wrote: “I have finally settled on a definition of progressivism. It means giving up on everything that matters, not caring about the things that make life difficult for most people, and disdainful of the realities of everyday life; Instead, they channel very specific political interest groups.”

His final days were marked by diatribes against critics of Israel’s war with Hamas and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s liberalism.

In his final column of the month, he called Trudeau “clumsy, incompetent and amateurish” and asserted that Canada’s “position on the world stage has been diminished.”

Libin said Murphy was excited because “we feel like we’re being ruled by people who look down on us.”

Still, despite Murphy’s public distaste for what Libin calls “meritocracy,” he remains a defender of some of the country’s economic elite, particularly the oil industry. In 2014, he was criticized by CBC viewers and listeners for giving a paid speech to industry executives. He left the network three years later.

Robert Rex Rafael Murphy was born in Carbonear, then the British Dominion of Newfoundland, in March 1947. (A 1996 profile of MacLean stated that “his date of birth is a subject of controversy.” Murphy himself was wary of answering questions about his background in interviews.)

He was the second of five children of Harry and Mary Murphy. His father was a cook at a U.S. military base in the Newfoundland port city of Argentina, and Rex attended nearby Freshwater School. He entered Memorial University of Newfoundland at the age of 15 and graduated with a degree in English at the age of 19. In 1968 he won a Rhodes Scholarship to study law for a year at Oxford University.

After returning from Oxford, he worked at local radio and television stations in Newfoundland and ran for the provincial parliament three times in the 1970s and 1980s, twice as a Liberal Party candidate, but was unsuccessful. Participating in the CBC satirical television show “Up Canada!” brought him national attention, and he became a national celebrity when he began hosting “Cross-Border Physical Examination” in 1994.

Mr. Murphy has also produced several documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, including one about his native Newfoundland.

Powers said he was briefly married to Jennifer Davis Gay, with whom he had a daughter, but they had long since divorced. Complete information about his survivors was not immediately available.

Throughout his career, Mr. Murphy placed a premium on verbal expression. His fans and critics alike agree that his unique and sometimes exaggerated use of English sets him apart from other journalists in his country. The profile notes that he loves the works of John Milton as much as he loves “The Simpsons.”

“I’ve always believed that style is more important than substance,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1995. “If you’re sloppy, slangy, vulgar, profane,” he said, “you’re all thinking the same thing.”

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