Journalist for Life

First he was, then he wasn’t, now he is again. In charge of Sun TV, that is. Kory Teneycke is his name and he’s a bright, fearless and startlingly youthful media expert. He’s also someone I’m proud to say is a friend. Frankly, I’ve never really discussed abortion, euthanasia, population size, sexuality and related issues with Kory, but I suspect he agrees with me on some if not all of these topics. In this case it’s not particularly important. What matters is that he believes in freedom of speech and will not only allow but positively encourage open and fair debate on themes that have long been decided by mainstream media.

So, oh what fun it was to see how the oldies ran and squeaked when Sun TV was first announced. The oldies being the traditional, liberal status quo media types in television, radio and print who have had it easy, soft and lucrative for far too long. Quebecor announces a new network and the usual hacks drown in cynicism and outrage. You’d think that journalists would welcome another TV station – it will provide jobs and expand the debate. But anybody who has been in Canadian journalism for more than a heartbeat knows that will never be the case.

Media in this country is about shaping and not reflecting public opinion. It resents challenge, relishes its complacent sense of superiority and despises anything that even hints of the American model because it terrifies them, and this is felt vehemently when anyone even dares to mention the life of unborn children or the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. Not, by the way, that the new network looks to be particularly American. The people so far announced who will be involved are all Canadians, all experienced, all highly qualified.

The new network will be called Sun TV but has already been labelled as Fox North. “We call it that,” explained one critical television host, “because the guys behind it have spent time down at Fox.” What an odd thing to do. Why on earth look to the most successful new TV network in the world for some sort of advice and guidance. Far better to do the CBC thing and re-format news and opinion shows by having people stand up rather than sit down.

The real reason the Fox North title is being used over and over again is that to most in the Canadian media it feels like an insult. Actually Fox News in the US does have a bias, just as do CNN, CBS, NBC and the rest. The difference being that people actually watch Fox News.

After the abuse comes the argument that there won’t be a market for such a network. Frankly I think there will be but we simply don’t know until it’s tried. What we do know is that there isn’t much of a market for what’s out there right now. Take a look at the audience figures for shows on CBC, CTV and Global and you’ll realize just how few people watch Canadian news and current affairs.

That’s disappointing in the private sector but positively scandalous in the public. Millions of your dollars spent on programmes on the CBC that attract less than 30,000 viewers. If it wasn’t for hockey and Coronation Street the corporation would largely collapse. It’s simply an illusion that Canadian television delivers what people want. It’s more that smug elitists assume they deliver what Canadians need. And what they need, it seems, is dull, intellectually bland and consistently left-of-centre.

Ask any genuinely conservative journalist in Canada if they’ve been treated fairly by this country’s television stations and they’ll laugh at your naiveté. I for one have been told to my face that I’ve been banned from various shows and I’m far from unique. Yet it’s not us but you who matter in all this. People deserve an alternative to the existing outlets and it appears they’re going to get it.

Members of the pro-life community are diverse, and have all sorts of opinions about all sorts of issues. Whether they choose to watch Sun TV is entirely up to them, but it seems to me that for the first time in the history of Canadian television we have a network other than CTS (where my superb show airs every evening) that will give equal time to the pro-life argument, and this is one of the most important media developments in the last twenty years.

As for those lefty journalists who are so angry, if you don’t like it don’t watch – which is what social conservatives have been told for decades. But they will watch, in large numbers, and that’s what’s making them so incredibly angry. What fun.

Michael Coren’s new book, Why Catholics Are Right, will published by McCelland & Stewart in March, but can be pre-ordered at Indigo and Amazon.