Disclaimer: The following is a letter from a team at Avaaz (an online international advocacy community) regarding recent controversy over the creation of a Canadian news in the style of Fox News. While I don’t agree with much of the rhetoric in this letter, I do agree with its message. I’m not interested in debating this here and have therefore turned comments off. If you are in agreement with the message, however, please do consider signing the linked 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. He’s rejected the plan as a violation of CRTC policies, so now Harper is trying to get him out of the job. Let’s urgently send a massive wave of public support to von Finckenstein, with 100,000 Canadians encouraging him to keep standing up for Canada, and standing firm against Harper’s pressure. Sign the petition and forward this email to everyone — we’ll publish full page ads in Canadian papers when we reach 100,000.
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. 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.
Ricken, Emma, Iain, Laryn and the rest of the Avaaz team
Globe and Mail, “Is Harper set to move against the CRTC?”:
CBC, “The absolute last thing this country needs”:
Globe and Mail, CRTC refuses Sun TV’s bid for preferred status on dial:
The Star, “Harper’s foxy luncheon”:
Mediaite, “Canada and Ann Coulter: a volatile relationship”:
Media Matters, “Glenn Beck compares Obama to Lucifer”:
Media Matters, “Glenn Beck smears Obama’s 11 year old daughter”:
The Examiner: “Bill O’Reilly again confuses facts about Canadian health care system”: