David McConkey - Columnist, Consultant, Citizen
Columnist. Consultant. Citizen.

Maybe a Little Fox News Would Liven Things Up

Brandon Sun, October 24, 2010 - David McConkey

Canada’s chattering classes are all riled up now over the impending start of the right-wing Sun TV News Channel. Even Margaret Atwood has signed a petition against it. 

But if Sun News, dubbed Fox News North, can wake up the “lamestream” media, then I’m all for it.

Consider “The National” on CBC. Take its “At Issue” panel – please!

Panelists Allan Gregg, Andrew Coyne, and Chantal Hébert are knowledgeable people who I’m sure would make great dinner guests. So why do they gloss over big controversial issues? Why do they leave me wanting to fall asleep?

Contrary to popular opinion, however, ”At Issue” is not boring because it is left wing. Two-thirds of the panel are actually right wing. Gregg was a Conservative party adviser for years; Coyne writes from a free market viewpoint in his Maclean’s column.

Maybe the “At Issue” panelists would be more lively if they were forced to stand up. They are the only ones there allowed to sit down. Even Peter Mansbridge has to stand! 
Canada just does not have the zip of the American political scene. For one thing, we miss out by not having a really right-wing political perspective.

In the U.S. there is Ron Paul, Republican Congressman and contender for his party’s presidential nomination. Paul opposes big government and speaks out against subsidies to business, the War on Drugs, and (his word) “warmongering” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We don’t have anything like Congressman Paul in Canada. About the only elected politician here who espouses maverick right-wing views is Maxime Bernier.

Remember him?

Bernier was in the federal cabinet until he forgot his papers at his girlfriend’s place. So, instead of thinking “Isn’t that an interesting idea?” we are thinking “Wasn’t that the guy with the biker chick?”
We also don’t have the zest of American TV. Not only news and commentary, but also comedians like Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and Bill Maher.

Sun News in Canada wants to copy the success of Fox News in the U.S. Fox is unabashedly right wing, and has all of the top U.S. cable news shows. Number 1 is Bill O'Reilly’s “The O'Reilly Factor.”
Some fear that Fox News in the U.S. has contributed to the “dumbing down” of American politics. But come on, aren’t Americans really dumb anyway? Have you seen Rick Mercer’s “Talking to Americans”?  

A recent poll found that 14 per cent of Americans (one quarter of Republicans) think that President Obama may be the Antichrist. But did they get ideas like that from watching Fox News? (Well, maybe those who watch Glenn Beck – he really is crazy!)

Many issues that are neglected in our lamestream media could be illuminated by a right-wing viewpoint. Who knows? – we might even benefit from some good Bill O’Reilly-like shouting!

I’m thinking of right-wing ideas like smaller government and greater individual freedom.

For example, Sun News could be the right-wing voice to expose the futility of the War on Drugs. Say what few others dare to: legalize all drugs, reduce the size and scope of government, reduce costly crime, and let people decide for themselves.

Another issue worth another look is Quebec separation. After all, the Bloc Québécois recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.

So, for two decades now we Canadian citizens have been paying the salaries of a bunch of MPs who want to break up our country. Are we nuts? Or are we just, you know, too polite to say anything?

Quebecor Media, the Quebec-based parent company of Sun News, has traditionally been partial to Quebec sovereignty. René Lévesque was one of their newspaper columnists.

So maybe Sun News could shine a fresh light on just what the heck is going on with Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Love it or hate it, Sun News will make our political discourse a lot more interesting.

Maybe Sun News could even spawn a left-wing reaction. Maybe even a comedian like Bill Maher.

Just imagine: a Fox News North plus a Bill Maher North. Now that would be some great Canadian TV, eh?  
* * * *
See also:  

Fox News Viewers Know Less Than People Who Don't Watch Any News: Study

Is it an Election About Nothing?

Issues for the Next Election?

Stephen Harper is the New Pierre Trudeau

Canadian Author Wonders What Harper is Reading

Can’t We Do Better Than This Same Old Political Routine?

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David McConkey,
Brandon, Manitoba
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