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Stop “Fox News North”

I have a bullhorn, and I’m going to use it.

Those of you who come here from Facebook have seen this already, but maybe didn’t sign it. Stephen Harper, I suppose growing weary of pretending not to be a right-wing ideologue, has decided to shed his sheep’s clothing and put political pressure on our CRTC commissioner to bring a Fox News-style channel here to Canada.

This is a petition to stop it. Please sign it.

A few people, some of whom are people whose opinions I greatly respect (although they differ sharply from my own), have pointed out to me that the media is already biased, and/or that my objection to a Fox-style channel is that I just don’t like conservatives. I feel the need at this point to clarify a few things:

1 – I don’t like conservativism (although I greatly enjoy the company of my few conservative friends – there are few in university science programs, which is my cohort). That’s emphatically not the source of my opposition. I’d be just as against this if it was a bunch of lying arch-Liberal finks (who I also detest).

2 – Even if I did buy that our current media outlets are biased, I fail to see how adding one that is explicitly and purposefully biased makes that situation better. An informed electorate is crucial to a healthy country. Adding another voice to the supposed pantheon of radical viewpoints doesn’t improve the situation at all – it makes people less informed. Fox News isn’t watched by those on the left to “get the other side of the argument”, it’s watched by those on the right to confirm their in-grained biases; the same can be said vice versa. The answer is to reduce the amount of bias in media outlets through careful surveillance, not to burn the whole house down because you spilled some wine on the carpet.

3 – Even if I did buy that adding another biased point of view (as all points of view will be) will somehow improve the lives of Canadians, Fox News is not simply another network. They lie, distort facts, invent facts when they can’t twist the ones that already exist, and are unrelentingly hypocritical in their stance on issues. They are unprincipled, they lack integrity, and they are poisoning the political and social discourse of the United States. Any station patterned after them will do the same thing, sending Canada down the road to destruction down which the United States is currently drunkenly weaving.

4 – Even if I did buy that a Fox News equivalent would be a good thing for the country, the Prime Minister has no business spearheading it, or shilling for it in any way. He certainly has no business forcing out the qualified head of the CRTC simply for standing up for media standards. All of this is to say nothing of the meetings that Mr. Harper has taken with Rupert Murdoch in order to make this a reality. It is a blatant political ploy designed to ensure that he has a channel that is completely uncritical of his policies that he can lavish his special attention and political influence upon, much the way that Bush/Cheney/Rove and the Republican Party has done with Fox News.

Personally, I like my country. I don’t want it to turn into the pathetic circus farce that is the current political reality of the United States, where a Harvard-educated constitutional scholar has to fight with a clueless, ignorant and feckless “hackey maam” from Wasilla to win the trust of the populace. Apparently Steven Harper will be much happier ruling over that country – I think we should be aiming to get better, not worse.

Sign the petition.