As many of you are aware the Sun News Network is in a "do or die" fight with the CRTC. Blazing Car Fur has a copy of their application. A website has been set up by the network to lobby for changes to its broadcasting license. I have already used the CanadianTVFirst.ca site to submit a form letter to the CRTC. I would urge all this blog's readers to do the same.
The network is bleeding an enormous amount of red ink. It is unlikely that even the deep pockets of Quebecor can indefinitely keep so expensive an operation running for much longer.
Many of you might be uncomfortable, as I am, with the network lobbying for mandatory coverage as part of basic cable packages. Forcing other people to pay for your views is hardly a free market principle. But we don't live in a free market. We live in a mixed economy. The CBC has a $1.1 billion yearly subsidy from the taxpayers. The CRTC by its very existence prevents a genuine free choice in media. The Sun News Network is simply trying to play this very rigged game as best it can. I'm forced to pay for CNN, CTV and CBC whether I want to or not. I would gladly devote the whole of my cable bill to keep the SNN going. That's not an option the CRTC allows, so we're stuck with this crappy compromise.
In its nearly two years of existence the Sun News Network has provided a positive and pro-freedom view for those on the Canadian Right. Yes, it's not perfect. Nothing is perfect perfect in this world. Yet it is so far superior in quality to anything we have a right to expect. Run on a comparatively shoe-string budget with a motley collection of grizzled veterans and fresh faced kids, they have worked something close to a miracle. They've frightened the MSM and much of the professional Left. For the first time in my lifetime the media agenda has been changed by a principled conservative voice.
Don't let it go.
Conservatives and libertarians are natural complainers. They rant about the bias of the MSM. They bitch about the Left-wing bias of the school system. The world seems to be forever going to hell in a handbasket. Pearson and Trudeau wrecked this country and there is no going back. Well here's your chance to stop bitching for once and do something. A small thing that will cost you nothing. Use the form letter on the CanadianTVFirst.ca or follow the instructions on the site to write your own letter.
I've spent much of my life studying history, specializing in the history of Canada and modern Britain. During my research I have seen how cultures have been changed for the better, as they were in the 18th and 19th century, and for the worse in the early 20th. In both cases a small dedicated group of people, many of whom are today forgotten, moved the culture and in time moved the nation's politics. The SNN has only a few thousand viewers. Even if it obtains an upgraded license it will probably never have more than a hundred thousand viewers on a regular basis.
That's more than enough to keep the network going financially and move the culture.
Only about 10% of the population pay any serious attention to politics and public policy. Most people are too engaged in their everyday affairs to care. You care. I know you care because you keep coming back to read this blog. Some of you I know have been reading this blog for more than eight years. You could be described as newsjunkies or politics junkies. But each of us have friends and family. When we read and understand the issues of the day, when we grasp the spin of the MSM and the statist politicians, we can then explain these issues to those around us.
Let me give you a recent personal example.
A group of co-workers were complaining about how "Harper" was spending $42 billion dollars on fighter jets while the country was going broke. They were all in agreement as to how stupid the Prime Minister was in buying new planes at a time like this. Some of these co-workers were left-leaning, some middle of the roaders and a few I suspect of being crypto-right wingers. This is Toronto so avowed right-wing opinions are treated with suspicion.
Each of these individuals was a victim of MSM spin. This sort of spin impacts how people vote and react to political issues. The MSM and the institutional Left counts on this sort of spin.
Without going into a rant, very politely and calmly, I pointed out that the spin wasn't true. The $42 billion was over 40 years and included the operating cost, such as fuel and pilot salaries, so the average yearly cost was about $1 billion dollars a year. Then I pointed out that the federal budget runs at about $275 billion a year, meaning that all the media fuss is over about 1/3 of one percent of the federal budget. Just to finish things off with a flourish I took one of those freebie newspapers that was on the table and explained how the editors and writers spun the story. I explained that the MSM has a vested interest in making dull news sound exciting and outrageous.
That took me about three minutes during a water cooler break. No one disagreed with me and everyone was slightly stunned. Each of them, I suspect, will now be just a bit more skeptical in how they approach the output of the MSM going forward. I didn't sound right wing or left wing. I didn't say the planes should be bought or not, just that the issue was far more complex than they had imagined. I also came off as a bit of a know-it-all, but I do that just going about my day. You're probably the same.
Part of the reason I was able to unspin a media story was because I read extensively and am deeply cynical about the MSM, while still conceding that there are many fine journalists at all the major outlets. Some of the arguments I used came from watching the Sun News Network. A stat from Brian Lilley and perhaps a clever line from Ezra Levant. Some of the arguments were from my own readings.
This is how good ideas defeat bad ideas. The people with the good ideas get into a conversation with one another honing each other's thoughts and uncovering facts. What should come out is a simple and clear argument that can then be taken to a wider audience. A Sun News Network with a hundred thousand viewers would have a tremendous cultural multiplier effect. In its brief existence it has already begun to change the national debate. Without it we are that much weaker.
Rather than complain about this country, let's do something about it here.