Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kory Teneycke wants to be Canada's Roger Ailes

You can't blame the Canadian Right for looking wistfully at the sheer ideological domination their fellow travellers enjoy in the American media, not least due to the zeitgeist deforming presence of Fox News. After last week's sudden departure of Kory Teneycke from his newly minted commentary job at CBC the other shoe has now dropped.

The former chief spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper is spearheading a bid by Quebecor Inc. to set up a Fox News-style TV station in Canada with an unabashedly right-of-centre perspective.
Quebecor has filed an application with the CRTC, Canada's broadcast regulator, to operate an English-language news channel. The application has not yet been made public but a source says an announcement on the venture is “imminent.”
Kory Teneycke served as director of communications to Mr. Harper in 2008 and 2009 and this week was appointed vice-president of business development at Quebecor Media Inc.
He's been working since last summer on contract for Quebecor, investigating the feasibility of creating a more unconventional news outlet that speaks to conservative-minded Canadians.
The venture appears to be driven by the potential for profit rather than a desire to advance big-C Conservative fortunes in Canada.
It’s an attempt to mine what Mr. Teneycke believes is a largely untapped market for more right-of-centre TV offerings in Canada, acquaintances and people familiar with the plans say. Sources say Mr. Tenecyke pitched the proposal to Quebecor last year and has been trying to prove the business case for the station ever since.
Mirroring the format of both Fox TV and MSNBC in the U.S., the envisioned Canadian station would offer straightforward reporting but also conservative-minded opinion shows – a mix of programming that would be clearly separated rather than blended.
Ezra Levant, a conservative author and activist, is being seriously considered as a host for one of the new station's anchor opinion shows, sources say. Mr. Levant and Mr. Tenecyke have worked together as far back as the 1996 Winds of Change conference, a precursor to the unite-the-right movement that merged the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties.
Levant has had a lower profile of late since his gig as a columnist at the Calgary Sun was terminated after he shamelessly used the tragic death of a child in a grotesque display of anti-Muslim racial pandering. Along with the almost simultaneous death of his rag the Western Standard and the tottering death throes of the National Post and the whole CanWest empire, make work jobs programs are the priority of the season for the professional right wing in Canada.

But it would be a mistake to dismiss this as a harmless vanity project and welfare scheme for the barely employable Canadian professional conservative class, Fox News has provided stellar service to the forces of reaction in the US by systematically and comprehensively dumbing down their audience to a pack of easily led rage junkies. Studies have shown conclusively that viewers of comedy programs the Daily Show and Colbert Report are much better informed than Fox News Viewers.

Conservatives support dumbing down and adding ideological bias to the news for the same reason they always slash education funding - the smarter and better informed the public is the worse right wing political parties do.

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