Centre of the Continent

Thoughts from the middle of North America

Archive for free speech

The Sun News Network–Can They Complain Any More?

Sadly, the answer is probably yes.

The latest whining  over the CBC getting exclusive broadcasting rights to the Parliament Hill Canada Day celebrations. The reality is, the CBC is the most logical choice to broadcast party on the hill. They are the network that is available to most Canadians absolutely free. No other network has the reach that the CBC has. Sun News isn’t even on every major digital supplier. The fact is, the Sun Network could have bid for the rights but chose not to. It suits their mandate to not try and then claim that the CBC has an unfair advantage. Just like CTV has an unfair advantage because of Bell’s ownership of them and ExpressVu. Let’s get our facts straight on that controversy – Bell did not say they wouldn’t carry Sun, they just chose not to pay what QMI wanted to charge.

This, my Sun News friends, is what is called a free-market economy. Exactly what your columnists and commentators beg for day in and day out. Apparently unless it doesn’t work out in your favour. Al Jazeer is paid for and Bell chose to pay what Al Jazeer asked. If they don’t want to pay your price, who are you to ask the CRTC intervene? Day one of your broadcast, I listened to your very own Ezra Levant scream at the top of his free speech, free market, keep the CRTC out of my TV choices lungs. The government has no business regulating what should be a free market. Ezra has been strangely silent on the topic lately.

Say what you want about the CBC, they are a successful player in the Canadian media landscape. There is always room for improvement and exactly what and how that looks can be debated but they seem to have found a balance between expressing a Canadian identity and remaining commercially viable. CTV / TSN won the rights for the Olympics for the foreseeable future and they did it bidding against the publically funded CBC. The story is the same for the Canadian Football. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s Bell again and their unfair advantage. The advantage being that they are actually successful.

And seriously, stop calling the CBC a “state broadcaster”. State broadcasters are those that are solely there to promote the state’s agenda. The CBC clearly is not such an entity. CBC’s reporters were regularly frustrated with the Harper government’s conduct during the election. In fact the news organization that seemed to have a Conservative slant to it was the Sun News Network. This included some questionable inside information and a former Conservative advisor on the executive payroll. Be careful when you throw that state moniker around, you never know where it might end up sticking.

Sun is a latecomer to the playing field and that is the real disadvantage they face. Asper tried to build a third national network and we know how that has finally ended up. Added to that is an utter lack of intelligent content. Commentators without sleeves are acceptable. Commentators without apparent skill or knowledge are not. Krista Ericson likes to say that she has finally found a place that “lets her be her”. Well the CBC was happy to let Krista go – her first trip to Ottawa with the “state broadcaster” she felt it was kosher to feed questions to the opposition. This is the kind of talent that Sun felt fit their model – at best, inexperienced and sloppy. She continues to show that ignorance daily. To the Sun family that ignorance is referred to as “taking a side”. The only side they normally end up on is that of the lowest common denominator.

I was honestly hoping for some genuine debate when Sun came on the scene. Unfortunately, there has been little to argue save Sun’s attacks on the established media that amount to little more then whining because they don’t get their way. Sun is just the new bully on the playground that no one wants to play with.

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Free Speech vs. Right Speech

warninglabelThe Sun News Network is asking the CRTC to step in on a pricing disagreement with Bell Media. This is one of the most hypocritical actions I have ever witnessed. On day one of Sun’s young life Ezra Levant went on a CRTC bashing rant and stated in no uncertain terms that the CRTC has no business interfering in the media. Furthermore, the business of the media should be a free marketplace with little or no government interference. As with most issues with the far right, I am finding that their opinions and principles are not as rigid as their tirades would make them appear.

OK. That was a bit of a rant of my own. I’ll continue with what really disturbs me when it comes to the right and free speech.

My real issue with the right is with the horrible dark side that comes out if there is something they disagree with. Ethan Baron published his feelings on the election results. I invite you to read it in it’s entirety here. In short, he is disappointed by the Harper majority and saddened as a newly anointed Canadian. Charles Adler posted a link to this story on his Facebook page. Here are some responses:

“As a 6th generation Canadian…I implore this “new” Canadian to please leave MY country if he cannot abide by the decision of the Canadian electorate…!”

“That is the most insulting garbage I have ever read. The guy should be fired. Are people not allowed to execise (sic) their democratic rights if they don’t agree with a nobody like him. What an arrogant human being.”

“Go back! Leave Canada. We don’t need people that haven’t put their time, sweat and blood into this country to have such high sense of entitlement. But i’m (sic) sure they want the social benefits and Canadian pensions… I’m disgusted that canadian (sic) citizenship is given so freely to people like that!”

Rather then debate or argue rationally, the right insults and taunts. I included the last quote because what the writer did not bother to research was that Ethan Baron has been working in Canada for 20 years. It’s just recently he got his citizenship.

Charles Adler likes to stir things up. Here’s another story he posted to his page: “American Indians object to ‘Geronimo’ as code for bin Laden raid”. This one drew out an even worse reaction — all out racism.

“and they wonder why we sent pails instead of toilets.”

“FN’s are just worried that the war on terror will become brown v red! Heya howa.”

For none of these will I post a name. While this isn’t about calling out any specific person I also acknowledge that thankfully these comments don’t represent the every Conservative or right-leaning thinker but as is often seen when the dark blue curtain is lifted, these ideas are just below the surface of the Conservative Party.

No Conservative MP or staffer would be able to make these comments without being reprimanded by the party. The problem is that these extreme views start to creep into policy. The Canadian Council on Social Development, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Office of the National Science Advisor, the Canadian Child Care Federation, the Office of Democratic Governance, The Law Reform Commission of Canada and the National Association for Women in Law are just a few organizations that have had their funding gutted or eliminated. These defenders of the disadvantaged in Canada were targets because their ideas too often contradicted the government’s will.

“Defunding” is the new catchphrase for discrimination. Most often what is defunded are the groups that support sectors of the population that are disadvantaged and less likely to be Conservative voters.

This is subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) oppression that must be fought against at all costs.

Sources:

All comments quoted were responses to posts by Charles Adler on his Facebook page and were readable at the time of this post.

“New Canadian just can’t believe in a Harper majority” – Ethan Baron, The Province, May 4, 2011 – http://www.theprovince.com/mobile/iphone/story.html?id=4714587

“American Indians object to ‘Geronimo’ as code for bin Laden raid” – Neely Tucker, The Washington Post, May 3, 2011 – http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/american-indians-object-to-geronimo-as-code-name-for-bin-laden-raid/2011/05/03/AF2FZIjF_story.html