Sun News Network: The Secret Ingredient In Harper Majority Stew!
Okay, so on Monday night I got my very first taste of the long-anticipated Sun News Network (commonly known as “Fox News North”). Unsurprisingly, they took full advantage of the recent decision by the CRTC to loosen broadcasting standards around “fair and balanced” news reporting, (the result of a hard push from the Harper administration). And Sun News wasted no time launching their dirt clods at Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal campaign.
It did not come as a surprise to me that a self-proclaimed Conservative news organization would be prone to taking cheap shots at the leader of the Liberal Party. One thing that caught me off guard though, was just how deadly dull it was to watch! Forgive my naiveté, but I would just naturally assume that a news program unburdened by such tedious hindrances as “facts” might be afforded a little more pizzazz. I would think some smoke and mirrors would be called for to distract an audience into accepting unfounded allegations. Is it becoming that easy to be implausible nowadays? No need to dress it up?
In any case, the show I had the great privilege to see was “Adler Nation”. It features ex-American talk radio personality Charles Adler sitting squarely at a desk between an old-fashioned broadcast mic (a visual redundancy given that the clip-on mic on his shirt is also in plain view), and an Emmy! He spends his first five minutes defending his Canadian loyalty despite being an immigrant, and the next five minutes alleging that the Ignatieff family played a role in crushing the Hungarian revolution in 1956.
This might be a good moment to add that within 72 hours of being on air, the Sun News Network has already been threatened with litigation by none other than American billionaire, philanthropist, and left-wing ideologue George Sorros. The Sun News Network has since issued a formal retraction that was read aloud on air.
(See Rabble’s Sun News Watch http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/media-watch/2011/04/dont-be-blinded-suntv-read-rabbles-sun-media-watch-blog).
Something else on Sun News that really threw me for a loop was the amount of air time that Adler alloted to the condemnation of comedian Rick Mercer, painting his attempts to improve voter turnout among young Canadians as a left-wing conspiracy designed to rig voting to the detriment of the Conservative Party.
It makes sense that the Conservatives would try to discourage youth voting, since a strong voter turnout in the 18 to 28 age group could be the edge that the Liberals need to foil Harper’s hopes of a Conservative majority government. Young people voting is never good news for Conservatives (and not just because Harper hates children).
The fact that Sun News made such a point of degrading these efforts of the part of Rick Mercer indicated two things to me. One being that Sun News is clearly not just a right-wing broadcaster with an independent mandate, but instead seems to be a vehicle for the Harper agenda and we can expect to see it used to justify the Conservative platform for the remainder of this campaign. Secondly, by drawing so much attention to Rick Mercer’s promotion of youth voting, it has only served to lend more credibility to this issue as a threat to the Conservative agenda.
I would personally like to thank Rick Mercer for raising the issue in this election, and for doing so much to promote voting on university campuses across Canada. And I would also like to congratulate him on being identified as a significant threat to the Harper Majority!