9.01.2010

petition to stop "fox news north"

Please read and consider signing this petition from Avaaz. I don't agree that a TV station is the cause of the US's poisoned politics and I don't believe that the proposed right-wing TV station threatens Canadian democracy. But democracy and media fairness is always worth defending, and we don't need the CRTC manipulated by government and corporate media, or the reverse. So while I would tone down this overheated rhetoric by half, I'll still sign the petition.
Prime Minister Harper is trying to push American-style hate media onto our airwaves, and make us all pay for it. His plan is to create a "Fox News North" to mimic the kind of hate-filled propaganda with which Fox News has poisoned U.S. politics. The channel will be run by Harper’s former top aide and will be funded with money from our cable TV fees!

One man stands in the way of this nightmare -- the Chairman of Canada's Radio and Telecommunications Commission Konrad von Finckenstein. And now, Harper is trying to get him out of his job. Sign the petition below to send a wave of support to von Finckenstein and forward this campaign to everyone -- we'll publish full page ads in Canadian papers when we reach 100,000:

To CRTC Chair von Finckenstein and PM Harper:

As concerned Canadians who deeply oppose American-style hate media on our airwaves, we applaud the CRTC's refusal to allow a new "Fox News North" channel to be funded from our cable fees. We urge Mr. von Finckenstein to stay in his job and continue to stand up for Canada's democratic traditions, and call on Prime Minister Harper to immediately stop all pressure on the CRTC on this matter.


Harper hatched his scheme in a secret lunch last year with media-mogul Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News. Harper's top aide Kory Teneycke also came to the lunch, and then left the government to head up Suncor Newspapers and the new "Fox News North".

Fox News fuels hate. While constantly claiming to be “fair” and “balanced”, it allows hysterical anchors like Glenn Beck to compare Obama to "Lucifer" and "Hitler". Bill O’Reilly, another anchor, has threatened to boycott Canada, and Anne Coulter says Canada is “lucky the US allows it to exist on the same continent.” The network has calculatingly spawned the tea party movement in the US, a mobilisation of the fringe right which threatens violence upon its opponents and wears guns to political rallies.

This is a fight for the soul of Canadian democracy. Our media is not perfect, but a ‘news’ network that slavishly serves a political agenda through mass manipulation and fear threatens the fabric of our democratic society.

The CRTC is part of our democracy -- it was made an independent commission precisely in order to protect against this kind of government manipulation of the media. Harper knows that he must bully his way through this institution in order to create "Fox News North". And there are dark rumours in Ottawa that if von Finckenstein will not leave his job, Harper will simply force him to give in. Konrad von Finckenstein is upholding the best tradition of Canadian democracy and civil service in the face of a full scale attack on that tradition. Let's show him, and Harper, that Canada stands with him.

"Fox News North" is Harper's long term strategy to make radical conservatism the political centre in Canada, tearing down the country we love to make us look like the U.S. Thankfully, Konrad von Finckenstein and the CRTC are standing in his way -- let's stand with them.

Sign here.

13 comments:

Liam said...

I would go one further in reminding your audience that the core supporter of Fox News North - Quebecor and related subsidiaries - should also be boycotted, along with their advertisers.

Mike said...

Signed and signed up doing my slacktivist best. Doesn't Harper have enough boosters at Global, The Sun or the National Post?

Scott M. said...

I've followed the interest around SunNews channel from the beginning, and I'm unclear on exactly why the CRTC should reject it. (I'm not saying they won't, they're a fickle crew at the best).

I'm perfectly fine with people saying it should be a Category 2 license (ie. not have the cable and satellite companies forced to carry it), but I don't see why the choice to have it wouldn't be there. Unfortunately the folks at Avaaz simply have it wrong in saying that being a Category 1 digital channel would mean you have to pay for it. It doesn't. It means the cable and satellite companies must offer it to you. The only "snag" is they must offer it to you as a part of a package -- ie. if they have a "news" package, and you take it, it must contain SunTV. Read the actual regs here. In return for this "favourable" treatment, they must have 50% Canadian content. Cat 2 licensees need not promise anything.

While I can't stand Kory Teneycke and some of the crazy right-wingers, I defend their right to start a television channel.


BTW, your Category 1 specialty channels currently include:

bold
BookTelevision
Discovery Health
documentary
FashionTelevisionChannel
G4 Canada
ichannel
IFC
MTV2
Mystery TV
One: the Body, Mind & Spirit channel
OUTtv
The Biography Channel
The Cave
travel + escape
addikTV
Argent
RIS

Most of those you wouldn't have or pay for, I suspect.

So, in this case, I suspect a lot of people are signing the petition because they believe it would become a "basic" channel that they must pay for. But it's not.

And if they're signing the petition because they think the CRTC should exclude views from Canadian TV they don't hold dear to their heart -- hmm. Doesn't sound very progressive.

L-girl said...

And if they're signing the petition because they think the CRTC should exclude views from Canadian TV they don't hold dear to their heart -- hmm. Doesn't sound very progressive.

This is the usual - and mistaken - argument. This argument approaches the issue in a vacuum, without context.

Fox News is not "news" media in any traditional sense. The word "news" in the title is merely a marketing ploy. Most of what it broadcast in the US would be considered hate speech in Canada. Most of the programming is based on bigotry, xenophobia, and lies, with a pro-military, pro-empire, anti-democracy, anti-social-welfare agenda that comes directly from the top (Murdoch), but masquerades as grassroots, populist views.

These are not views "they don't hold dear to their heart". It's a revulsion for dangerous, even fascist, views - and it's very, very far removed from what most people think of as Canadian values.

While I think the causes of the poisoned political atmosphere in the US are varied and complex, giant media like Fox "News" do bear a large share of blame. (X-ref Swift Boat, Muslim Obama, Birthers, etc.)

And it's not only what they themselves spew, it's the fact that an ultraconservative outlet like CNN - that lives on government press releases and celebrity fluff - is allowed to pass for "liberal," because the omnipresence of Fox has skewed everything so far to the right.

If Canadians don't want their government colluding with corporate media to bend rules in order to put this stuff on the air in Canada, they have every right to try to stop it.

In addition, there is this (to me) incredibly annoying theme that comes up over and over and over, that progressive people want to see all views represented, so if you want to exclude dangerous, far-right views, "you're not being very progressive". This is just bullshit.

Why should I want to see fascist, anti-democratic views represented in the media? Why should I want to see hate, bigotry and division legitimized any more than it already is?

Canadian media is already skewed right, since it is corporate-owned and conglomerated. Why skew it any further in that direction? And if we see it moving that way, why shouldn't we speak out against it?

Scott M. said...

There's a difference (which I've heard you argue yourself) between silencing opposing viewpoints and being vocal against them.

In this case, by asking the CRTC to deny the channel's existence, you're trying to silence the hate.

The channel isn't being paid for by you. It will simply be offered to you. And since the CRTC rejected Category 1 status (forcing the cablecos to offer it, but not forcing you to take it), and the channel has already applied for Category 2 status (meaning cablecos don't even have to offer it and it *doesn't* have to be included in a package, though cablecos can do so), you might not even get a chance to view it.

I despise Fox News. It is, however, available in Canada. I don't subscribe, nor do I think anyone should. But I think people should be allowed to if they want to. Same deal with Sun News.

BTW, Sun News has already signed up some big, big hitters in Canadian media. David Aiken is a renowned journalist and is not afraid to ask tough questions of our Conservative government and has exposed a number of government boondoggles. If SunNews actually becomes Fox News North, you'll see him leave very quickly.

Highlighted in your story (due to it being a link) is that "Prime Minister Harper is trying to push American-style hate media onto our airwaves, and make us all pay for it". Seeing as that neither applies for Category 1 nor Category 2 services, do you not think that Avaaz is misleading people?

L-girl said...

I'm not sure if they're misleading people or not. I don't think I understand how this works well enough to know.

However, I don't consider denying hate media access to our airwaves a silencing of viewpoints. It's not as if only progressive views are allowed on Canadian TV!

Canadians have unfettered access to whatever views they want. But airing fiction and bigotry under the guise of news is not fairness. Fairness is just an excuse.

"If SunNews actually becomes Fox News North, you'll see him leave very quickly."

Why? And how?

L-girl said...

Here's an interesting perspective on it: Jane Taber talking to Margaret Atwood.

Mike said...

If you want a look at Fox's, er... "news" practices, the documentary "Outfoxed" is available for online viewing here:http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6737097743434902428#

L-girl said...

Here's Teneycke's reply to Atwood and Avaaz. His characterization of Avaaz is hilarious - one buzzword after the next. But I guess it's aimed at his own audience, and they'll eat it right up.

L-girl said...

Omg I just read a few comments on that column and am now cleaning up the pieces of my exploded head.

deang said...

Why should I want to see fascist, anti-democratic views represented in the media?

Especially since there's been a noticeable rise in hate speech and hate crimes since the rise of Fox News in the US in the early 90s (militias in the 90s, anti-immigrant violence since the mid-90s, anti-Arab/anti-Muslim violence since at least '01, anti-liberal incitement, anti-environmental violence, etc). People should not have the "option" to listen to media that will likely result in hatred toward and violence directed against already vulnerable groups. I don't want "diversity of viewpoints;" I want a safer, more just society and world, and far-right media like Fox in the US takes us in the opposite direction from that.

L-girl said...

I don't want "diversity of viewpoints;" I want a safer, more just society and world, and far-right media like Fox in the US takes us in the opposite direction from that.

That's well said.

Corporate media is by definition skewed to conservative viewpoints, so the "centre" in Canadian mainstream media is quite far to the right. We don't need ever more right-wing viewpoints in the already limited mainstream spectrum.

I've been thinking a lot about whether or not it's fair for Canadians to try to prevent this from happening. I conclude that it's very appropriate, and good consumer activism.

geek guy said...

I Signed it!