Friday, April 15, 2011

Jingoism as a Public Policy. Are we Ready for This?

Fox News North, or Sun TV, is set to launch and the promos are now playing.

In one they call themselves unapologetically patriotic.

Not accidentally, they will be on the air when Harper is running his campaign as being 'Here for Canada', while painting Michael Ignatieff as an opportunistic visitor.

Five years ago I would have said that a station modelled after Fox News, would never survive in this country. Now I'm not so sure.

The latest flurry over the discovery that Ignatieff had voted in the British election a decade or so ago, prompted an article in the UK Guardian: Canada: a fearfully parochial place:
Tories tell voters "he didn't come back for you". The slur is aimed more at Ignatieff's identity as an upper middle-class urban intellectual rather than his Russian origins. However, this level of jingoism betrays a society ill at ease with its own diversity, where an attack on internationalism and ambition – after all, that is what Ignatieff is being accused of – has traction with culturally isolated voters ...

In 21st- century Canada a Conservative incumbent candidate in Calgary can attack his Liberal opponent as being a "visitor from Toronto" simply because she attended university there – despite the fact they are both of immigrant origin. A Pakistani-born commentator can plough a furrow through the public debate, warning of the danger of radical Islamism in a country with a Muslim community making up just 2% of the total population.

This isn't George W Bush's America, this is Canada, today. It seems ludicrous, in a country that has participated in every UN peacekeeping mission in history; one whose last governor general was a Haitian refugee-turned-journalist.
The irony of course, is that Stephen Harper has not been here for Canada or Canadians. He's been selling us off a piece at a time to the Americans and multi-national corporations.

We have lost our seat on the UN Security council, and the international community is asking 'what happened to Canada'? In fact, Harper has removed 'Canada' from government messaging, and had it replaced with 'Harper'.

He is taking over, and we are allowing him to.

Dana Milbank, author of Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Teabagging of America says of the former Fox TV personality (his show has been cancelled)
The wildly popular Fox News host who boasts 3 mil?lion daily viewers perfectly captures the vitriol of our time and the fact-free state of our political culture. The secret to his success is his willingness to traffic in the fringe conspiracies and Internet hearsay that other Fox News hosts wouldn't go near: death panels, government health insurance for dogs, FEMA concentration camps, an Obama security force akin to Hitler's SS. (1)
He also says that Beck gave patriotism a bad name.

Sun TV, dubbed Fox News North, also promises to cover stories the mainstream media wouldn't touch.

Ezra Levant, the Glenn Beck wannabe, wrote a horrifying piece in the Sun newspaper, attacking an Ignatieff ancestor, who had been antisemitic.

This despite the fact that the Social Credit Party, the forerunner to Harper's Reform Party, now the Conservative Party of Canada; was founded on a Jewish conspiracy theory, and they had the largest collection of antisemitic material in the country. (2)

And let's not forget that Stockwell Day was a cohort of the infamous James Keegstra, or that both Keegstra and Day's father ran as Social Credit candidates.

You won't hear any of that on Fox News North.

And it won't just be Michael Ignatieff who will fall victim to personal assaults. Jack Layton and the NDP will be vilified as Communists in the same way Fox News and the Tea Party attack President Obama.

Academics will be the subject of smear campaigns, and indeed anyone who doesn't agree with this extreme right-wing philosophy, will have their reputations ruined.

Welcome to Harperland. Are we really prepared for this?


1. Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and Teabagging of America, By: Dana Milbank, Doubleday, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-385-53388-1

2. Social Discredit: Anti-Semitism, Social Credit and the Jewish Response, Janine Stingel, Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press ISBN 0-7735-2010-4


  1. Fox News Insider: "Stuff Is Just Made Up"

    This is not a joke site. This is a real news item.

    snip snip: Namely, that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking.

    “It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats,” says the source. “They’re a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news.”
    And that’s the word from inside Fox News.

    “They say one thing and do another. They insist on maintaining this charade, this façade, that they’re balanced or that they’re not right-wing extreme propagandist,” says the source. But it’s all a well-orchestrated lie, according this former insider. It’s a lie that permeates the entire Fox News culture and one that staffers and producers have to learn quickly in order to survive professionally.

    “You have to work there for a while to understand the nods and the winks,” says the source. “And God help you if you don’t because sooner or later you’re going to get burned.”

    "When you first get in they tell you we’re a bit of a counterpart to the screaming left wing lib media. So automatically you have to buy into the idea that the other media is howling left-wing. Don’t even start arguing that or you won’t even last your first day.

    Hopefully most people understand how dangerous it is for a media outfit to be a straight, unfiltered mouthpiece for an unchecked president.”

    Meanwhile, Media Matters revealed that during the 2009-2010 election cycle, dozens of Fox News personalities endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations in more than 600 instances. And in terms of free TV airtime that Fox News handed over to GOP hopefuls, Media Matters calculated the channel essentially donated $55 million worth of airtime to Republican presidential hopefuls last year who also collect Fox News paychecks.
    And of course, that’s when Murdoch wasn’t writing $1 million checks in the hopes of electing more Republican politicians.

    “People assume you need a license to call yourself a news channel. You don’t.

    So because they call themselves Fox News, people probably give them a pass on a lot of things,” says the source.

  2. We need a leftist TV news station.