By Michael Coren, The Toronto Sun
Oh, what fun to see the oldies run and squeak. The oldies being the traditional, liberal, status quo media types in television, radio and print who have had it easy, soft and lucrative for far too long.
Quebecor announces a new network and the usual hacks drown in cynicism and outrage. You’d think that journalists would welcome another TV station — it will provide jobs and expand the debate. But anybody who has been in Canadian journalism for more than a heartbeat knows that will never be the case.
Media in this country is about shaping — and not reflecting — public opinion. It resents challenge, relishes its complacent sense of superiority and despises anything that even hints of the American model because it terrifies them. Not that the new network looks to be particularly American. The people, so far announced to be involved are all Canadians, all experienced, all highly qualified.
The new network will apparently be called Sun TV News, but has already been labelled as Fox North. “We call it that,” explained one television host, “because the guys behind it have spent time down at Fox.” What an odd thing to do! Why on earth look to the most successful new TV network in the world for some sort of advice and guidance. Far better to do the CBC thing and reformat news and opinion shows by having people stand up rather than sit down.
The real reason the Fox North title is being used over and over again is that to most in Canadian media it feels like an insult. Actually Fox News in the U.S. does have a bias, just as CNN, CBS, NBC and the rest do. The difference being that people actually watch Fox News.
After the abuse comes the argument that there won’t be a market for such a network. Frankly I think there will be, but we simply don’t know until it’s tried. What we do know is that there isn’t much of a market for what’s out there right now. Take a look at the audience figures for shows on CBC, CTV and Global and you’ll realize just how few people watch Canadian news and current affairs.
That’s disappointing in the private sector, but positively scandalous in the public. Millions of your dollars spent on programs on the CBC that attract less than 30,000 viewers. If it wasn’t for hockey and Coronation Street, the corporation would largely collapse. It’s simply an illusion that Canadian television delivers what people want. It’s more that smug elitists assume they deliver what Canadians need. And what they need, it seems, is dull, intellectually bland and consistently left-of-centre.
Ask any genuinely conservative journalist in Canada if they’ve been treated fairly by this country’s television stations and they’ll laugh at your naivete. I, for one, have been told to my face that I’ve been banned from various shows and I’m far from unique. Yet it’s not us but you who matter in all this. People deserve choice and variety and it appears they’re going to get it. Hey lefty journalists, if you don’t like it, don’t watch.
Oh but you will, and that’s what’s making you so incredibly angry.
Read Michael Coren’s blog at canoe.ca/corenscomment