Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Right Wing TV, Eh?

Lunching with a bunch of liberal friends was painful the day after the news broke that a possibly right wing TV news channel was coming Canada's way.
Boy were they all steamed up.
But as I was telling my lunch buddies it probably ain't gonna happen. I hope. St least not with the same partisan vengeance shown on Fox News.
Quebeccor Media Inc. says it will launch Sun TV News to become a sort of Fox News North.
It will replace the local Toronto outlet Channel 52 which currently reruns tired old movies and has consistently lost money. CRTC missed the boat by awarding this franchise to a Calgary company (Craig Communications) based on proposals nobody could have kept.
Then the station was sold to the Sun which barely survives as a tabloid these days.
President Karl Peladeau said the new news channel will "challenge the English Canadian TV news establishment".
Yeah, right. There's not going to be enough dough to jump start it and where will the advertising come from? Glenn Beck this year has lost some of his biggest accounts because of his scary racist views.
First of all the CRTC has stringent rules in place governing news channels and continuing outward bias is not permitted.
In the U.S. right wing TV news on Fox TV only flourished after the FCC rescinded its old rule giving equal access to both sides in all debates.
Once that hurdle was cleared it was a free for all.
Peladeau must also anticipate huge resistance from CBC and CTV which already hold news licenses and are bound to point out Channel 52's scraggly past and lack of quality Canadian TV fare.
Having another all news channel would seriously affect their bottom lines and could force several other channels into the loss column. Does CRTC want that?
Here is where I must admit I occasionally glance at Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck. It's now forgotten but Beck was a mere shadow of himself when hosting a similar show on MSNBC.
His rabid racism offends me and many Americans --he's lost many of his biggest advertisers as well as half his audience in the past year.
Could a Glenn Beck flourish on Canadian TV where the government supported CBC reigns supreme in news?
Wait a minute --I've never seen Peter Mansbridge cry at all whereas Beck can summon great floods of crocodile tears without any effort. In fact there's recently been the suggestion the whole tearful moments may be staged.
Do you really want to understand the Beck phenomenon? Then rent the DVD of the movie classic A Face In The Crowd (1957) with Andy Griffith as a Beck-like TV character.
He wouldn't be able to get away with many of his crazy comments on Canadian TV without having to summon up a spokesperson for the other side.
And Bill O'Reilly, a great blowhard in the Ted Baxter mold is more a poseur than a commentator.
Even Jon Stewart gets away with a lot and couldn't really make it on Canadian TV. He's around as an import but we like to watch Americans skewering Americans, don't we?
And remember Rush Limbaugh really bombed on his own syndicated TV series. He's a radio favorite and his show is given free to many radio stations --in return for which they rake in advertising dollars.
I'm not saying we don't need more diversity on Canadian TV but I rather like our comprehensive coverage of Ottawa politics whether it's CTV's Tom Clark or CBC news's Evan Solomon.

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