Friday, September 03, 2010

How dare she?

Kory Teneycke and the usual suspects in the Canadian wingnotosphere are very indignant that Margartet Atwood added her name to a petition opposing Quebecor/Sun Media's proposed new right wing news channel.

They are most incensed by a reference in the petition to 'hate speech', a term the petition never uses, referring instead to “the kind of hate-filled propaganda with which Fox News has poisoned U.S. politics." I encourage those who question this description of Fox News' content to browse the website of Media Matters, a site that monitors what goes on in the right wing American media. The unambiguous examples of hate filled propaganda on Fox news are virtually endless.

As to Sun Media's use of hate propaganda, arguably shading over to hate speech, I refer you to the 'lock and load' editorial in the Toronto Sun of Aug 18:
If the MV Sun Sea were carrying 500 "migrants" from Afghanistan, home base for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, would we be allowing it to enter Canadian waters, or would we put firing a shot over the bow with a message that the next would be midships?
Lock and load would be our approach.
And this case is no exception..
If calling for the mass murder of traumatized refugees doesn't qualify as hate speech we may need to redefine the term.

Atwood herself says she doesn't object to the potential content of the new channel as much as the perception of PMO interference in the approval process for it:
Of course Fox & Co. can set up a channel or whatever they want to do, if it's legal etc.,” she told The Globe and Mail in an email. “But it shouldn't happen this way. It's like the head-of-census affair – gov't direct meddling in affairs that are supposed to be arm's length – so do what they say or they fire you.
“It's part of the ‘I make the rules around here,’ Harper-is-a-king thing,” she wrote.
Teneycke indignantly denies any linkage with the American version: "Fox, and its parent company Newscorp, are not owners of this channel, nor are they involved in its development. " He also denies that Quebecor asked for preferential 'must offer' status for the new channel and the PMO has repeatedly denied any interference in the process of the channel's approval.

But consider the Timeline:
My guess is it's pretty easy to arrange lunch with the Prime Minister. No doubt Stephen Harper often lunches with labour leaders and advocates for the homeless.
So it should be considered no big deal that, among those the PM has lunched with, is U.S. media billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who has probably done more than any single individual in recent years to push American politics sharply to the right.
It's interesting to imagine, however, why our Prime Minister would want to meet with Murdoch, whose Fox News TV channel has poisoned U.S. political debate and nurtured America's extremist right-wing Tea Party movement.
If you subscribe to the notion that Harper has no particular political agenda, his lunch with Murdoch in March 2009 might seem harmless, perhaps a purely social affair.
But the evidence suggests they were discussing plans to transform the Canadian political landscape by creating a right-wing, Fox-style TV station in Canada. Present at the lunch was Fox News president Roger Ailes, known for bringing cutthroat Republican campaign tactics to the screen. (Ailes designed the infamous race-baiting Willie Horton commercials that brought George H.W. Bush to power.)
Also present at the lunch was Harper aide Kory Teneycke, who has since become the front man in the bid by Quebec media mogul Pierre Karl Peladeau to get a specialty TV licence for a Fox News-style network in Canada.
Then there's the fact that the lunch, during an official Harper visit to New York, was kept secret -- until being unearthed recently by Canadian Press reporter Bruce Cheadle.
Harper also met twice in early 2009 with Peladeau, according to Cheadle.
Ian Morrison, of the group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, says "all the information I have suggests that Harper has taken a personal interest in this matter."
And reports that Harper seeks to insert himself in the approval process persist, with claims that he is actively trying to ease out both the current chairman of the CRTC Konrad von Finckenstein and CRTC vice-chair Michel Arpin who asked to stay on and had his request refused. This government's well established reputation of political interference in and contempt for the very concept of arms length agencies make it's reflexive denials of interference almost completely lacking in credibility.

As to Teneycke's fierce denial that Quebecor is seeking preferential access for its new channel, this appears to be nothing more nor less than a bald-faced lie:
On Wednesday, Quebecor Inc. (QBR.B-T34.590.561.65%) application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission was made public. The application, filed in July, was the company’s second attempt to win a licence for the channel after its request for a rare must-carry licence, guaranteeing distribution to all cable and satellite customers, was rejected.
This time, Quebecor has asked for a run-of-the-mill Category 2 specialty licence – but with a twist: It wants “mandatory access,” meaning the channel would not necessarily be carried on basic cable but would have to be offered on at least one tier or package by each distributor. This means creating essentially a new category of specialty channel.
Another propagandist once said that 'If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it', Teneycke appears to have taken this lesson to heart.

UPDATE: Margaret Atwood muses on signing petitions and remembers the time she signed one against attacking Iraq leading The Globe and Mail's Margaret Wente to make up false quotes Atwood never said at a meeting she never attended.

1 comment:

Holly Stick said...

Excellent post. Kady has more on Teneycke's shenanigans:

http://www.cbc.ca/politics/insidepolitics/2010/09/avaazorg-vs-sun-tv-vs-unwitting-hill-journalists-and-now-you-know-the-rest-of-the-story-maybe.html

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