Yesterday the Canadian version of Fox News, Sun TV, was told that they would have to be a subscription service, and that they could not broadcast their brand of activism into household that don’t want it (like mine) (CBC, 2013). Now this started a few years ago (and I wrote about it then: Bowles, 2010), and I thought it had been resolved. But these things take a while: and for the moment, this is a success. The commission has determined that the money-losing venture did not demonstrate that it was a benefit to Canadian culture: which is no surprise to me (Rabble.ca, 2013). The CRTC did say it would “it will review the regulations for news channels in Canada” (CTVNews, 2013). However, since Sun TV already tried to change the definition of “news” that is used by the CRTC and failed (Bowles, 2011), I’m not sure this is a big threat.
However: in spite of that success, that is not the reason for this post. I wanted to look at their reaction. Micheal Coren, columnist and pundit for Sun TV, gives his opinion about the failure of the network to be granted mandatory status, and the promise to “shine on”. Some of what he says, as is common for such activists, are a little less than true… or significant.
Unless noted, the quotes below are from Sun News will Shine On.
“Well, it’s done. We’ve all been waiting a long time for this. By ‘we’ I mean the more than a hundred people who work at Sun News, and the 60,000 people who signed our support petition…” A wonderful tactic, to start by illustrating the support that the network has. What he fails to mention is that for every supporter, there is at least one who actively opposes the network. On Avaas.com, for instance, a parallel petition was established which collected over 83,000 signatures asking the CRTC not to make the network mandatory. (Avaas, 2010)
“…I mean the millions of people in this great country who want an independent, non-liberal voice in media.” And those “millions” of people have that voice, in the presence of many networks. They even have it in Sun TV. They just have to pay for it, like most of the other special-interest stations. It just seems that those “millions” aren’t enough to pay the bills at Sun TV. “Canadians don’t like or watch Sun News and now the channel is asking the CRTC to force Canadians to bail it out of millions in debt.” (Huffington Post, 2013)
“I mean conservatives, Christians, supporters of Israel… those who have intelligent and critical questions about global warming propaganda… men and women who question establishment wisdom about major policies, Canadians who want the right and freedom to speak out and speak loud.” Strange to put those all into one group as supporters. I fall into several of those categories, and I think that this network would be a national disaster. I feel the freedom to “speak out and speak loud” about the things I disagree with regarding national policy, and I don’t need Sun TV indoctrinating me in the way to do so. I would rather think for myself than be told what to believe.
“If you think this is propaganda, you don’t know me.” I do think this is propaganda: and knowing you has nothing to do with it. Everything I’ve seen in your name confirms my understanding that for you, proving a point is more important than the truth. Read on.
“Let me give you just one example of why Canada needs us. Just a few days ago, a large crowd of people gathered in Toronto to hold a rally attacking Israel and the west. The language was abusive… a man who was once a Liberal riding president and the former head of Palestine House, called for Israelis to be murdered. We were the only media that had the courage and the wisdom to be there, to cover it, and to expose it.”
I quoted that passage in full because, for me, this is the crux of the issue. Thus far, this is all opinion and bravado. But if this quote is true, then he has something of a point. I would hate to admit it (you don’t know how much): but if they are the only media outlet willing to cover such an event and report such…yes, hate speech… then Sun TV might have a purpose. I realize it was not necessarily a huge event in a city that can’t get everything covered (our recent Brain Injury event was really covered by no media) This gives me something I can test: I’m a big believer in the Scientific Method.
So I looked it up in Google. First Google News: “al quds event toronto murder israelis”. I got ten results. None of which was the report from the Sun… but which did include the above description by Mr. Coren. Apparently he’s not as in sync with what is reported by his network as he thought. And one of them was from the Toronto Star (Toronto Star, 2013). So much for our test. The event might not have been reported with the slant or the spin that Mr. Coren would prefer, but it was reported. Spin does not justify a network.
And then I generalized my search to the Internet: and got ten million hits. From several different Israeli news sources, from personal blogs, from national reports that went from Jerusalem to Australia. Almost all were critical, though not necessarily as inflammatory as Mr. Coren’s report. I will say that I did not see anything from the “Globe and Mail”… but then neither did I find anything from “The Sun”, other than Mr. Coren’s article that showed up three times in the list. I never found the article he was talking about.
The result of this test? He said “the only media… to cover” the event. They were not. Simple. At best: he was wrong, and inaccurate. Not a good testimony for a news network in the Western world. At worst: he lied.
From Mr. Coren’s own words: “If you think this is propaganda…” well I do, and he’s proved it. This is the reason. He claimed there was no coverage, and there was lots. Or maybe that’s too big a word for him. The concept might be too difficult. So I’ll be simpler. He lies. His network spins. Cheats. They misrepresent world events in such a way that is not only inaccurate and extremist, it is offencive to most Canadians. If we want that kind of thing, we can go south to Fox News. Most of us don’t want it up here at all, and we certainly don’t want to pay for it.