The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posted by Matt on June 20, 2010

Thoughts on Sun TV:

This really, really isn’t as big a deal as some have made it out to be. The Quebecor/Sun Media empire is a tiny, trashy thing with little to no real influence. Sure, some people read their papers, but I’ve never heard anyone take them even the remotest bit seriously. They gleefully embrace their position as a distributor of sensationalist tabloid horseshit; that’s the key to their success.

Of course, they’ll never admit this. The moment they admit to pandering to idiots, the illusion is gone, and they will lose everything. Thus, all the talk about them being ‘hard news’ and an ‘alternative voice for Canadians’, when they have shown no real interest in anything resembling journalism in the past. And chances are, they aren’t going to change anytime soon. The new head of their television division on CBC Radio One Saturday morning saying ‘we answer to our shareholders first’ (of course, that was in response to a question about whether or not they’d listen if someone in government complained about their coverage) and his emphasis on their aim for high ratings pretty much confirms that.

I don’t have anything against there being a tabloid news network. Television is a sea of shit, so what’s another turd? Despite all their attempts to appear to be a legitimate news network in competition with CBC and CTV, there’s no reason for anyone who has ever even glanced at a Quebecor newspaper to believe that they will be anything other than what they usually are. And this is a sound strategy for them, because being real news would lose the attention of their base, who are generally not interested in real news.

especially if their gunning for ‘must-carry’ status funded by tax dollars. Not that most people honestly care about where their money is being funneled, except when the bill goes up. Even so, gunning for that status has already been a kick in the ass right out the gate. (Edit: Apparently, this is not true. ‘Category 1’ Status does not require anyone to subscribe to/pay for the channel)

As for the ‘Fox News North’ label…mmmm, maybe. It’s definitely going to have to be a lower-key affair; Quebecor may be a wide-reaching company, but they’re no Murdoch. It would also be wise of them to try to keep comparisons to Fox News to a minimum, considering that Sun TV will likely only have access to whatever droning knuckleheads the Canadian commentary backwaters offer, so they’ll essentially look like a boring, stupid Canadian version of Fox. And we’ve had a long, long history of turning boring, stupid Canadian versions of American things into an even bigger joke than the American source. Or, even worse for them, people will dismiss them outright and ignore them. Considering that one of the arguments Quebecor pulls out to justify the channel’s existence is that Canadians would rather watch American news than local stuff, what exactly can they do to convince them to watch this channel instead of US news/not-news channels? The chance of them lucking on a ranting hobo or overpriveleged white douchebag with as a strong a voice up here as the ranting hobos and overpriveleged white douchebags the US equivalent has is dreadfully slim, especially since most of Canada’s biggest nutters (Steyn) have moved to the US. And if they do as they say and tried to find ‘balanced’ commentary…what makes them so different from all the other news channels? They’re already fucked.

So, what do we have here? A channel that will likely offer mediocre news as competition for the rest of the mediocre news we have, coupled with boring, half-assed ‘alternative’ commentary delivered by bland personalities. It will likely suffer through development hell as it overestimates how much Canadians care about getting an ‘alternative’ news source and goes for the gold when all it will likely get is a rusty tin can. It’s not offensive, it’s not detrimental…if anything, it’s kind of sad, considering how doomed it is from the get-go.

Of course, they could always prove me wrong, showing that Canadians really did want to see a Canadian goblin-people yelling conspiracy theories at each other. I am willing to concede this.

Now read this take.

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