Margaret Atwood v. Fox News North

I’ve been re-reading a novel (Lady Oracle) by one of my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood. I Googled her and look what she’s up to there in Canada. Things are getting pretty hot in the land of snow…

Margaret Atwood is criticizing Stephen Harper over what she sees as his dictatorial approach to regulating the airwaves.

The literary icon has signed an online petition aimed at keeping a “Fox News North” channel off the air in Canada. But it’s not the idea of a right-wing television station she’s objecting to. Rather, the prolific and celebrated writer doesn’t like the Prime Minister’s style of governing.

Unlike the US, where public broadcasting is the backwaters of TV, in Canada it’s more like the BBC– right out in prime time. It’s partially tax-funded, and in the middle of a political fight over whether a spot on state-sponsored basic cable should be given to Sun TV News, a controversial news outlet.

The decision by the CRTC, Canadas TV watchdog, not to compel Canadian cable and satellite TV subscribers to pay for Sun TV News has apparently landed CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein in hot water.

Sun TV News is led by Kory Teneycke, a former spinmeister for prime minister Harper, is understood to be looking for von Finckenstein’s head for forcing the upstart news channel onto the open market for survival.

The prime ministers office in Ottawa has denied that the CRTC chair faces the chopping block. And Teneycke, vp of development at Quebecor, also lashed out at Atwood and other signatorees of the Avaaz petition.

Avaaz is an advocacy organization that supports environmental and human rights causes. It’s not surprising that Margaret Atwood, whose two latest novels are speculative fiction about environmental disaster, would be on their email list.

She’s certainly stirred things up, with her audacious internet petition signing. Some commenters have called her names I won’t repeat here, though maybe ‘witch’ was intended as a compliment. She can take the heat. She’ll be fine. She’s a writer.

UPDATE: An editorial that asks if Sun TV is being ‘shoved down their throat’. Hit ‘em with a hockey stick, eh?

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11 responses

  1. Publicly funded PBS and NPR in this country are left wing morasses.They allow the occasional conservative lap dog on as a pretense of fairness,but they’re not fooling anyone with an IQ higher than a mushroom.

    1. Yes, it’s horrible how the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—which provides a portion of the funding for PBS and NPR—recently contributed one million dollars to the Democratic Governors Association. Oh, wait, that wasn’t CPB. It was Fox News Corporation! And the donation was to the REPUBLICAN Governors Association. Oh, and for what it’s worth, the second-largest holder of voting stock in News Corp. is Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king. How Fox News has the hubris to call itself “fair and balanced” is beyond me.

      I suppose one might buy into the allegation that PBS and NPR have a liberal bias, if one thinks that anything to the left of Fox News is liberal. According to Wikipedia, a study conducted by researchers at UCLA and the University of Missouri found that while NPR is “often cited by conservatives as an egregious example of a liberal news outlet”, “[b]y our estimate, NPR hardly differs from the average mainstream news outlet. Its score is approximately equal to those of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report.

      George Orwell once wrote, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Apparently, some also consider it to be the province of “left-wing morasses.”

      1. Believe it or not,I didn’t mention Fox.But since you did,I find Fox going onto the tank for Republicans no worse than MSNBC doing so for Democrats.They are both privately funded.
        I actually have a lifetime friend who has a weekly mini-program on PBS-it’s non political,but he himself is left of center.
        I also listen to Ian Donnis because may be a leftie,but he is always fair.
        FWIW CSpan is the best source on current events-that really is a case of deciding for yourself,kinda like cinema verite.
        Were you expecting a diatribe?

  2. LOL. Observer, you’ve described FOX News to a tee. Exept that FOX doesn’t even make a pretense of fairness. With FOX idiots like Beck and Palin (dumb and dumber) how can anyone on the right even question someone else’s intelligence.

    1. Well,if you think most people on the right hang onto every word Beck or Palin utters,you’re pretty much mistaken.
      Palin pisses me off beyond words.McCain should have taken either Mitt Romney or Condoleeza Rice(preferably) as VP candidate.
      Either would have had the qualifications to take over if McCain went south all of a sudden.
      Palin would have been lost.
      Don’t assume things.
      Beck-who knows?He makes some sense and then goes off on a tangent.I ain’t got the time to worry about it.

      1. The thing is, Observer, the wrong-wing DOES hang on every word of Beck, Palin, Rush, etc.

        When one of these ‘personalities’ so much as belches, the MSM–the so-called-liberal-media–and the leadership of the Republican party–such as Boehner and McConnell picks up these stories and runs with them.

        Like “death panels.” Palin tweeted that, and it was all over the media in two days, to the point that a large chunk of the public still believes that the ACA requires death panels that will determine when it’s time to put gramps on the ice floe.

        Or how large sections of the populace believe Obama wasn’t born in the US, or that he’s a Muslim.

        And any Republican who dares even suggest that one of these luminaries might not be completely right is forced into doing abject and very public penance, begging for forgiveness at the feet of the Great Man.

        So, yes, Republicans DO hang on every word of these wretched individuals.

        Denying it don’t mean it’s not true.

  3. I listen to WRNI public radio for hours every work day because driving is part of my job. They often feature conservative guests and Republican politicians. They do try to stay ‘reality-based’, and as the media has shifted to the right and the 2-second news cycle they are an oasis. If they are such flaming radicals why do so many stolid capitalist institutions sponsor this little local station?
    Someone asked why NPR has a show called ‘Marketplace’ but not one called ‘Workplace’? Just an example of how unused to hearing the voice of workers we are on this Labor Day weekend. I wish we had more diverse voices, not fewer. Without WRNI we would only hear the voice of money talking.

    1. Haha-okay,plus one for you-note my reply to Jaffe above.
      Not being a rich person myself,I can appreciate what you’re saying.
      I can listen to NPR or enjoy films or books by leftists because I know where they’re coming from and thus separate the wheat from the chaff.
      What bothers me more than anything is the retreat to “stock”positions,right or left in lieu of thinking.
      I am just frequently a choleric SOB.

      1. A choleric SOB? You? I can’t imagine.

        I do imagine the pharmaceutical industry would be happy to push a pill down your throat for any such condition, though.

        Oh, and, truth be told, I was steeling myself for a diatribe of sorts. You’ll forgive me if I’ve succumbed to conditioning. But it’s nice to see you in a less choleric mood.

  4. Mood altering drugs are a horrible intrusion on anybody except the most seriously disturbed,and even then,they do a lot of damage.
    The only meds I’ve ever taken are for infections,severe pain,and the usual stuff that occurs in middle age to a lot of people-meaning physical illness.
    Note:I never took pain meds one hour longer than I absolutely needed to.
    Right now,I’m concerned for a former girlfriend(almost 50 years ago)and now just a friend who is in kidney failure because of lithium which she really never needed.
    She DOES take Prolixin,but that’s a necessity in her case because she is seriously schizophrenic and knows it and doesn’t want to have another episode.Who would?I may sound like a miserable guy,but I never abandon anyone in my life.You just don’t do that.

  5. Well,klaus,if I were a Republican I’d think about what you’ve said for about two seconds.Since I am an independent and think for myself(yes,one needn’t be a leftist to think )I won’t be bothered.
    I can guarantee the Republicans won’t let either one of them near the Presidential ticket.
    One cries like Jimmy Swaggert and the other,for all her big talk,is a quitter.
    Quitters aren’t trusted by the American people.
    People like you will be made irrevelant by ordinary individuals who rebel at the notion of centralized planning controlling our daily lives.It’s too bad you can’t be transported to a socialist paradise where you’ll share a bathroom with twenty or so neighbors and get a ration card telling you what you can “dine”on.
    I’ll just bet you’d like to eat some moldy cheese with dry wine while listening to “classical” music.
    You really shouldn’t ruin your holiday to lecture me,although I do really get a hoot out of your impotent fury and whining.

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