Evidently Stephen Harper is not satisfied with running a minority government like one long game of chicken, or having the truth inconveniently turn up every time they try to pull the wool over Canadian citizens’ eyes (remember “unreported crimes are skyrocketing” as an excuse for pouring billions into unnecessary new jails? You should — it wasn’t THAT long ago!). Now our favorite local tin pot dictator has gotten envious of the propaganda machine available to the right-wingers in the States and wants to make a Schedule-1 cable channel (on every TV watcher’s dime!) for Fox News.
But wait, you say! Fox News is already on most Canadian cable packages! Oh, but therein lies the rub — that particular channel is quite hostile to Canada, and wouldn’t toe the Canadian Conservatives’ line. That’s why Harper, Murdoch and Ailes all met to discuss creating Fox News North, a move that would be entirely funded by every cable-subscribing goon in the country, most of whom would have no idea they were doing so (and probably wouldn’t care). George W explains.
Mr. Harper not only plans to create a right-wing Conservative-talking-points style network here in Canada, but he would like it to be a Category 1 digital station, meaning it will be a mandatory part of one of the digital cable packages and funded partly by every viewers cable television fees. There is currently a petition being prepared by Avaaz.org that will run in major Canadian Newspapers once 100,000 signatures are collected.
The bigger issue here is not whether Canadians want or need a right wing news agency. The issue is why a sitting Prime Minister is actively working to get a license for any network. Another good question is why a former spokesman for our Prime Minister should be in charge of the political coverage of Sun Media group, one of the largest media consortiums in our country.
Stephen Harper needs to focus on the task of running a country, not on building a conservative propaganda feedback loop. The network itself would also require a systematic dismantling of CRTC regulations regarding balanced coverage during our election cycle, something I can only imagine would make Little Stevie beam with joy.
Go sign the petition. The last thing we need is a far-right propaganda machine of Fox News’ ilk, further coarsening our political dialog and driving the polarization that’s happening all around us — a polarization that smacks uncannily of having been engineered to ruin the good thing we have. Or, rather, had. At this rate, if we ever shake Harper free from his position of power, rebuilding the democratic processes that have already been shat upon is going to take far longer than a term or two. Much of the damage of polarization and of coarsening the political discourse is already done. We’re no longer, as it were, “above” that kind of nonsense.