BY FRANK RUSSO (@ComedyRusso)
It’s a great day for ethical media, or the end of democracy as we know it. It depends on who you ask.
After several years of controversy and opinion-first reporting, on February 13, 2015, the ultra-right media station Sun News Network left Canadian airwaves with a whimper. Though its time was short, the fledgling network left a strong impression on supporters of both conservative and liberal values.
“It’s a staggering blow to democracy,” proclaims Hubert Grumpins of Red Deer, Alberta. “For years Canadians were trapped with left-wing, socialist news networks like the CBC. It was a privilege to finally have a news station that spoke to my views, the perspective of the right. The real Canadians.”
Not all Canadians felt this way, though.
“It was literally propaganda,” explains Mike Eakins of Barrie, Ontario. “They weren’t even trying. We called them Fox News North and they took it as a compliment. Their most notable host, Ezra Levant, once told his guest to ‘have sexual relations with their mother’ (paraphrasing) over an oil sands debate. He said it in Spanish, though, so he thought it’d be okay.”
This was just the tip of the iceberg for Sun News Network.
“They once referred to the entire Romani people as untrustworthy Gypsies, held a fictitious citizenship ceremony with people who were already Canadian citizens, openly criticized Justin Trudeau’s mother, criticized the CBC for being publicly funded while routinely applying for mandatory carriage so they themselves become publicly funded, everything negative they ever said about Muslims…”
Worked into a rage, Mr. Eakins would require a moment to calm himself down.
It was a tragic day for all Canadians when Sun News Network’s attempt to blend news with entertainment would finally overstay its welcome.
[pullquote]It’s hard to hate immigrants when most of us are first- and second-generation Canadians. You can’t politically divide people left and right in a multiple party system. [/pullquote]
October 22, 2014. Hours after the tragic shooting on Parliament Hill that took the life of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Sun News Network reporter took it upon himself to report the real tragedy.
Anderson Cooper of CNN refused to take a selfie with him.
Told to “have a little respect for what happened here” by Mr. Cooper in reference to the shooting, Sun News Network would take to twitter to make this a story. It would be their last moment in the spotlight.
“Our country was under attack,” explains Mr. Grumpins. “I don’t give a shit about your photo or Anderson Cooper.”
“It was an embarrassment to have them referred to as a Canadian news network that day,” says Mr. Eakins.
And with that final blow, Sun News Network would quietly fade into obscurity. Disconnected with Canadian culture and baffled by their declining ratings, consisting mostly of the elderly and those who fell asleep on the remote, Sun News Network would sign off for the last time.
Asked why he thinks the network failed, Mr. Grumpins gave a particularly insightful response.
“I like tax cuts and small government as much as anyone, but at the end of the day, I’m Canadian. It’s hard to hate immigrants when most of us are first- and second-generation Canadians. You can’t politically divide people left and right in a multiple party system. You can’t pretend to play news station in a country that has high standards for reporting ethics and credibility. Basically, we’re not Americans.”
Most telling, however, was the response 95% of participants to this report gave: “What the hell is Sun News Network?”
Feature Image: "SunTVNews" Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia