The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posts Tagged ‘Real News’

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.

Posted in Idiot Box, Leinks, Observations | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Matt on February 27, 2010

Another new digital rights law that is more complicated than it’s actually worth.

Why is it that every time someone’s government tries to update their copyright/digital rights laws, they always end up inadvertently screwing over regular people rather than pirates? It’s like they’re all kneejerk reactions prompted by corporate whining, and not honest attempts to adapt laws to the Internet age.

To be fair, they at least sound like they might be interested in rethinking parts of the law so that small businesses, libraries, and universities won’t suddenly be denied Internet access because one guy among thousands likes Pirate Bay too much. But why would you ever draft a bill like this without a reasonable amount of consideration about how it applies to different sorts of people and organizations? Read the first paragraph in this post again.

It reminds me all too much of the last attempt to amend Canada’s digital rights law, which was filled with blatantly sneering provisions that, shockingly, hurt more normal people than law-breaking n’er-do-wells. Of course, that thing was nixed when our witless leader went for a mediocre power-grab, sweeping this unfortunate piece of bad legislature under the carpet before it could be torn apart in parliament and shifting its mastermind to a completely unrelated position in his cabinet.

So now we are still a hive of Internet scum and villainy, according to the people whose job is to determine such things. Somehow, I’m not entirely concerned about that.

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I’m a terrible person

Posted by Matt on December 7, 2009

There are people dying in Perm.

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Posted by Matt on November 12, 2009

I wrote this near the end of last month, but we couldn’t fit it into the issue. Since it’s no longer even remotely timely, I’m not going to try to get it published again. So here it is, my dead editorial about a story that no one cares about anymore:


The latest big story hitting all their major sources a few weeks ago: something might have happened, but actually didn’t! This warranted up-to-the-minute reporting on all the major American networks, front page updates on all the news sites, and follow-ups on the story even after it turned out that nothing really happened.
That, in capsule, was the saga of the Colorado Balloon Boy, who was not in fact floating away in a loose weather balloon, but was instead hiding in the attic. Before that was discovered, however, CNN breathlessly followed the balloon that might have been carrying the kid but was not. All cameras were pointed at the skies of Colorado, watching that silvery craft slowly make its way across the wild blue yonder. And the people wondered: was he in there? Was he okay? Did we just see him fall out? And then the balloon landed, and they found nothing in it. And then they found him in the attic. Riveting.
This of course led to more questions and more coverage. What were the child’s parents doing? Was it a hoax? Should this family be prosecuted? All the while one important question seems to be lost in the shuffle: who cares?
The Winnipeg Free Press article about it the next day (which, to their credit, was not on the front page) provides some good insight: “One minute, President Obama was on the television, speaking about the rebirth of New Orleans, the usual array of citizenry behind him. In the next, he had been shoved aside by a live breaking Grimm’s fairy tale”. The rest of the article went on with that fairytale reasoning, but the lede is of more importance. This is what the news was about that day. This is what resources and airtime was spent covering.
Why does something that would fit better in one of those ‘Oh, how delightfully strange!’ filler articles that might appear in the middle of the paper (or, at best, the front page of the local paper of the kid’s hometown) suddenly become a breaking story? Was it because the family had appeared on that cultural touchstone Wife Swap? Was it because it was a slow news day? Or has the whole news business simply gone off its rocker? I can tell you one thing: it wasn’t the second reason.

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News Abuse

Posted by Matt on November 12, 2009

This might be a regular thing for me if I get bored at 1 AM more often:

Possible tags for this story:
Foreigner Speak, Marines, Racism, Excuses, Tire Iron, Roid Rage, GPS, Greek Orthodoxy, Gay Panic, No Terrorism, Florida

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Posted by Matt on October 15, 2009



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