With no market for hate and right-wing drivel, Sun News comes cap in hand for public subsidy

More gruel, sir? The face of Sun News Network that Sun News Network would like you to see as they beg for public subsidies. Below: The real face of Sun News Network.

Sun News Network, that fearless foe of state subsidies for the CBC, wants you, Dear Television Viewer, to directly subsidize it to the tune of $18 million a year.

Have no doubt, that’s just the beginning, but it would nicely cover losses the company says now amount to a modest $17 million a year – hardly a corporate killer, one would think, but apparently enough to get Sun News queuing up at the public trough.

It turns out, as others have discovered before them (Ted Byfield, c’mon down!) that there’s not much of a market in Canada for the kind of market fundamentalist pap Sun News peddles – at least when consumers have the choice not to pay for it.

There’s even less of a market, by the sound of it, for the filthy language and outright hate-mongering indulged in by some of the network’s so-called commentators.

Given the opportunity to choose to watch Sun TV, viewers run away in droves. And who can blame them with boring drivel like Ezra Levant’s regular venomous rants about the Roma, Idle No More protesters, Hispanic business executives, environmentalists and anyone else who provokes his ill-managed anger to fill the seemingly interminable 24-hour broadcast day?

Now the so-called news channel, which disseminates anything but news, has gone with its grubby cap in hand to one of Mr. Levant’s targets, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, to beg for the right to inject its poison directly into almost every Canadian home because it desperately needs the wholesale revenue that would then automatically flow back into its coffers.

To put this in broadcast-speak, Sun News and its separatist bosses at Quebecor Inc. want the CRTC to grant it “mandatory carriage,” which means you can’t keep it off your TV dial because it would be included in basic cable coverage everywhere in Canada. That way, I guess, it’ll be easier for them to campaign against opposition parties led by committed federalists from Quebec, of which there will soon be two.

In the normal course of events, a broadcast regulatory agency like the CRTC is the sort of group that would provoke one of Mr. Levant’s trademark jeremiads, complete with accusations it is staffed by civil servants itching to help out “union bosses” by “censoring” his harangues.

But for the moment, Mr. Levant and the chorus of right-wing hysterics employed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s semi-official and ideologically approved state broadcaster are silent on the topic of the CRTC while they direct their supplications to it for a flow of public subsidies to be directed their way.

You see, Sun News Network is going deeper into the hole every day, with erstwhile Harper Government spokesthingy Kory Teneycke, now a vice-president of his former boss’s favourite network, pleading that opening the money tap “is live or die for us.”

For its part, the company claims it has market research that shows viewers would watch its programs if only they knew where to find them. But this is highly suspect, since cable companies push packages that include the network and viewers aren’t biting.

The fact is, if you wish, you can get a well-run focus group to endorse a ham sandwich for prime minister – which, come to think of it, is pretty much what Sun News Network spends its days doing right now to the minuscule audience of angry white gun-owning males and zitty-faced Internet trolls it has managed to attract so far.

The subsidy Sun News Network is seeking now would add up to about $4 a year from all cable subscribers to directly subsidize hate and propaganda, but you can count on it that, in the manner of all their ilk, the corporation will soon be back at the well for more.

So tell me, with Sun News imploring a federal agency for a quick infusion of cash from hard-pressed taxpayers, granted in the form of a bogus “user fee,” where’s the always noisy Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation? They’re like the proverbial cop, I guess, never around when you actually need them.

Regardless, according to the Globe and Mail, Sun News faces “stiff odds” in this effort, seeing as there are lots of other more credible and creditable broadcasters vying for the 10 channels that must be carried by all cable companies.

But Harper cronies and sympathizers are now deeply embedded in key positions at the CRTC and it has a proven track record of backing down and running away from confrontation with Sun News, as when the broadcast regulator hastily dropped its investigation of Mr. Levant’s on-air obscenities last fall after the network issued a vague and insincere apology.

Given all that, I don’t think we can count on the CRTC not to agree to put the Tory back into regulatory.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

17 Comments on "With no market for hate and right-wing drivel, Sun News comes cap in hand for public subsidy"

  1. Anie says:

    This was good. thanks. preferably sun news will end, sooner than later.

  2. George Lenard says:

    So this would make those at Sun News Network the same as they at Sun News Network call those at the CBC. Except with no ratings. I wonder if Ezra realizes when he is ranting that no one is listening!

  3. jerrymacgp says:

    Something wrong with the “not exactly as illustrated” picture that heads off your post today; blank space with a query in the middle and a 404 error if I click on it.

    As for the content of the post, this is typical neo-con hypocrisy: against government handouts, except when it is a neo-con hand receiving them.

  4. John Broek says:

    This made my day …. the sooner we get this hate monger off the air the better. Harper and his cronies backs the Sun news so it will not likely happen soon enough.

  5. Jeff says:

    Sinews is crucial for Canada in order to balance left wing bias.

  6. Andrew says:

    I have no appetite for Sun News and its ignorant arguments. With all the hate-mongering Sun spreads, I am not even sure why it was allowed to be on air for this long!

  7. Tom in Ontario says:

    If forced to pay for that programming on basic cable, it’s very easy to drop cable all together in our area. Lots of HD and digital channels are available free, over the air. For the price of one year of cable, you can easily install a highly efficient aerial capable of bringing in as many Canadian and U.S. programs as anyone would ever have time to watch.
    As for CFL football which can only be seen on TSN I would simply visit my local sports pub, draw a cold one and enjoy!

  8. ronmac says:

    Call me a market fundamentalist but I’m in favor of this. I wouldn’t mind seeing a little healthy competition in the media tax subsidy marketplace.

    Besides, with our aging population, and all its accompanying afflictions like senility and hardening of the arteries, having a peckerhead like Ezra Levant around, will keep everyone’s blood boiling.

  9. Filostrato says:

    “…[s]pokesthingy Kory Teneycke, now a vice-president of his former boss’s favourite network, pleading that opening the money tap ‘is live or die for us.’ – oh, please, Mr, Teneycke. Don’t tempt me. I feel my tap-hand going righty-tighty right now as I type.

    “…[y]ou can get a well-run focus group to endorse a ham sandwich for prime minister…”. You know, Mr. Climenhaga, a ham sandwich for prime minister is starting to sound pretty good right now.

    I do like the idea of the “chorus of right-wing hysterics”. I imagine them wearing winged helmets, carrying swords and shields and singing, wildly out of tune, from the back of the stage.

    After Mr. Levant’s stellar success in journalism, from the failed Western Standard to the irregular and finally terminated columns in the Calgary Sun, why, oh why, did SNN think they had acquired an asset when they put him on the air? Willful blindness? It certainly doesn’t make business sense, which could explain the increasingly ruddy glow coming from SNN’s bottom line.

    The moist hot air from the venomous rants (Ezrants? LevantRants?) could be redirected towards a steam turbine, however, to supply SNN’s energy needs. I know it’s not ethical oil, and you could never call it “clean” energy, but it does seem to be renewable, at least in the short term, until the CRTC turns Teneycke’s tap off. (I live in hope…).

  10. anonymous says:

    Karl Péladeau wants his father’s money back, the money he stupidly squandered by financing Sun News. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get it back.

  11. Kyle says:

    I used to work for a subsidy of Sun Corp, They were cheap bastards. Ended up closing the office I worked at shortly after I left, and I had left because of lack of work that was coming down the pipe.

    I hope Sun Corp shrivels and dies. The only good thing on their website is the Sunshine girl column.

  12. Van Hammersly says:

    There are three phrases that one must understand in order to fully grasp the entirety of the mindset that drives those on the far-right:

    1) “I feel desperately threatened by anything I perceive as different or unfamiliar, or that I don’t truly understand.”
    2) “Every issue which might present itself in life is a perfect dichotomy — either/or, black/white, good/bad, etc.”
    3) “It’s different when it affects me.”

    Understand those three items, and you’ll understand what drives the far right — completely.

    This story presents just yet another example of item #3 listed above. No surprises.

  13. motorama says:

    is there something that we can do to ensure Sun News does not get the funding it’s requesting?

  14. TimFromLA says:

    Is the Sun truly conservative? I doubt it. Never in my life of reading the Sun, albeit online have I seen them demand the end of single payer health care or subsidized education. Maybe they’re not that conservatives as they only need to look southwards towards my country and see the under-educated teabagger idiots ending welfare as they know it for the poor while receiving government subsidy to remain alive at the same time.

    Is this what Canada wants? Is this what the Sun wants? If so, then feel free to move your corporation to Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, West Virginia, Arizona, Texas and the rest of the south, where you are not bothered with social programs like the ones you have.

    Heck, it’s so bad that the band Rush? You know, the Order of Canada Rush? Not the drug-addled windbag, though living in the States as permanent resident, said that they would never give up their Canadian citizenship. With that in mind, maybe it’s time the Sun keeps its pseudo-conservative TRAP SHUT and walk their talk down south of the border…no not Mexico, as they too are single payer, but the good ol’ USA.

    you’d be amazed at the stupidity generally associated with the conservatives…like our president is not a U.S. citizen

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