Thursday, September 2, 2010

Margaret Atwood is Right. Fox News North is Not About Free Speech

Margaret Atwood is taking a lot of heat from our right-wingers, over her comments about Fox News North.

“Of course Fox & Co. can set up a channel or whatever they want to do, if it's legal etc.,” she told The Globe and Mail in an email. “But it shouldn't happen this way. It's like the head-of-census affair – gov't direct meddling in affairs that are supposed to be arm's length – so do what they say or they fire you. “It's part of the ‘I make the rules around here,’ Harper-is-a-king thing,” she wrote.

Her involvement sparked a debate on Twitter with conservative blogger Stephen Taylor and Sun Media’s Ottawa bureau chief, David Akin, Tuesday night. Both men say she is accusing the Sun – which is seeking to launch a right-wing TV channel – of “hate speech.”
But it's not about their right to peddle hatred, like their American counterpart, but the fact that they want all cable subscribers to pay for it, whether we want it or not. That is a violation of our freedoms. As suggested by 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!”
The bulk of our media has already moved to the right, so personally I wonder why we need this nonsense 24/7. But if they are determined to launch this station, they can pay for it themselves. Sell it if they can. But they know they can't so instead they are going to force it on us.

But more importantly, it's about Harper's interference in an arms length agency, trying to force CRTC to give in to his demands. Says Atwood:

“Some people signing the petition object to the expected content. I object to the process,” she told The Globe. “It's the [prime ministerial] pressure on yet another civil servant that bothers me. These folks are supposed to be working for the taxpayer, not the PM.”

Canadian politics already being poisoned:

An American journalist visited Canada in the summer of 2006, and made the following observation:

As an American journalist visiting my wife's relatives in Canada, I've always been struck by how ardently the country's political discourse focused on substance — the budget, health care, schools, roads — with little of the cheap theatrics and angry divisiveness of U.S. politics and punditry. Reading and listening to the Canadian news media during those family trips could be a tad boring, but it also was touching, like remembering your earnest grade-school civics teacher lecturing about the wonders of the American democratic process.

But in my visit this past summer, I noticed that the tone of Canada suddenly had changed. There was a nastier edge to the commentary. There were not-so-subtle appeals to racism and xenophobia, references to Muslim neighbourhoods in Quebec as “Quebecistan” and to Lebanese-Canadians as “Hezbocrats,” a play on the Muslim group Hezbollah. To someone who has covered U.S. politics for three decades, there was a shock of recognition.

Standing out starkly against the bland traditions of Canadian governance was the pugnacious 'tude of American political combat, wedge issues pounded in with a zeal that put the goal of winning and holding power over everything else. It was as if a virus that had long infected the people south of the border had overnight jumped containment and spread northward establishing itself in a new host population.

And things have only gotten worse. When was the last time we debated anything that mattered to Canadians? Poverty, homelessness, health care, the environment, our aging population? I can't even remember.

It's all about guns, super prisons and fighter jets. Canadians who work abroad are being marginalized. Intelligence is being denounced as "elite" and facts are now the enemy.

I'm so tired of it all. I want to be a tad boring again and I don't want to pay for Fox News North since I have no intention of ever watching it.


  1. Good for Margaret Atwood, putting herself and her opinion forward like that. High-profile Canadians, even 70-year-old women, might be able to get through to the population in time to stop the Americanization of our country. And she's right, in the case of Fox, the process is even more important than the content. If we allow this to be pushed down our throats even as we reach into our pockets, what next?
    I enjoyed the quote from the American journalist as well. What a clear-eyed straight-shooter (if you'll pardon the gun reference, LOL) this journalist must be, to be able to recognize his nation's own flaws as they begin to show up in our media. Certainly very few Canadians are seeing it happen. Good for this one American!
    I hate to see this happening to Canada, known for so long as a peaceful, politically correct, kind, generous country, able to remain distant from, even while connected to, The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
    When we suddenly find ourselves not a sovereign nation but the next 10 or 12 American states, it will be too late.

  2. Exactly. People need to see what's happening here. We're losing our identity.