Friday, February 13, 2015

Black Hole Sun

What can I say about the death of Sun News that I haven't said a million times before about other topics?

-The Canadian Right is not interested in delivering quality product- they think people will ignore the massive gaping holes in their credibility just because they're daring to be different

-Principled Conservatives who cried aloud for a right wing alternative had their chance and blew it, just like they always do

-You're not fooling anyone with your idiotic talking points- people can SEE you're losing

-If people are saying bad stuff about you, they're probably right

-Random yelling about conservative Outrages of the Day does not make for compelling viewing, nor does it make for a narrative. Having an actual goal for the conservative movement in this country to achieve and rally towards would be nice, but that's reaching wayyyyy too far

Hmmmm, there's got to be something new.....Oh, I know!

-Stop posting selfies of your favourite Sun News moments!

Sun News has failed, and right wingers are celebrating. Celebrating what a wild, fun ride it was! How proud they were to appear on a network that was laughed at and derided as a cheap imitation of Fox News from Day 1. Nobody wants to talk about what went wrong.

So, of course, I will.

Sun News did, often, get it right. They did say what nobody else wanted to say.

But when you started watching Sun News for more than 10 minutes at a time, you found yourself stranded in downtown asshole-ville. You would come for, say, a segment about the curtailment of free speech at a university, and then you would be expected to stay for someone concerned about abortions. You would come for an analysis of a provincial election, and then be expected to stay for someone talking about U.S. politics. You would come for an expose of misspending on reserves, and then be expected to sit through a bunch of white guys denying white privilege exists.

This is why people would share clips instead of continuously watching the network. Nobody wants 24 hours of ranting.

But if you have your heart set on 24 hours of ranting, then you might as well open your floodgates to everyone who has a bone to pick with the system. This would be the daily struggles of everyone who has had a bad experience with the health care system, who had their business closed due to out of control laws, people who are struggling to pay the bills because their hydro bill has skyrocketed. Imagine how much interest there could have been if everyone had been allowed equal time on Sun News and could see themselves on TV. Imagine if they had allowed actual comments and phone calls from viewers.

Oh, but suddenly Sun News has to have standards. We've got to give the Ethical Oil stuff its time (when it has no relevance to anyone outside Alberta, sorry not sorry), and we've got to give plenty of time to whining about the CBC and for Brian Lilley to plug his book, and we've got to give Adam Giambrone his spot as well for some reason, and generally we've got to decide at the beginning of each day what we're going to pretend to be righteously indignated about instead of listening to our viewers and letting them decide what they want to see. 

This is the infamous Margie Gillis clip. I've watched it several times. It's not that Krista Erickson is yelling at a member of the Arts Community, because Margie Gillis was obviously prepared for that. It's that Erickson is engaging in BAAAAAD ACTING. AHHHH. I AM ANGRY. LOOK AT HOW MAD I AM ABOUT THE WASTE AND THE MONEY BEING WASTED. RAWR. RAWWWWR!!!!

And that's when Sun News was at its worst. Forced, awkward, boardroom-approved crap like this, meant to press our outrage buttons, on a channel that's supposed to be authentic and raw. It doesn't work. The cardboard sets don't work, the constant haranguing for mandatory carriage doesn't work, the talking points at the bottom of the screen telling us what to think don't work, and the billionaire owner who happens to be a separatist running a network big on rah-rah support the troops Go Canada Go patriotism really doesn't work.

It's a miracle that it lasted as long as it did.  I have no doubt that they'll try to bring it back, and make all of the same mistakes as they did the first time around.


  1. So we are left with freedom of speech...NOT...the speech of the left...from CBC and Trudeau gushing and Harper convenient...just in time for the Trudeau election.

    1. Yeah, it's tough for conservatives in this country. Which is why we need to work twice as hard. Sun News didn't. Harper had better start.

  2. "Nobody wants 24 hours of ranting."
    But aren't Twitter, Facebook, comment sections under media articles, and blogs -- including yours -- equally based on rants? The reality is that the political sphere is currently in total rant mode. Anyone who dares present a rational & factual counter argument to any issue is immediately dismissed as either a troll or a paid ____bot (fill in political leaning of your choice).

    IMO, SUN News failed because:
    • It did not enjoy the same kind of exposure the other networks do, i.e. it was not carried as part of the basic cable service.
    • Since its inception, there has been a concerted effort by the left to undermine its credibility.
    • Its continuous rant mode grew tiresome after the novelty wore off. Commentators like Ezra Levant, who did yeoman service in covering stories the MSM chose to hide or ignore, would have been more successful, IMO, if he had toned down his rhetoric. Instead he gets entangled in legal battles which unfortunately may end up silencing him.
    -- Gabby in QC

    1. My blog is pretty much all commentary and analysis of what I hope are relevant issues instead of just what's irking me that particular day.

      Sun News could have done some quality analysis of the economy, could have put on serious roundtable discussions, could have sponsored some think tank conferences. Or they could have done sports and pop culture, like the actual Sun newspapers.

      Point being, they could have talked about stuff people actually cared about instead of just ranting.

  3. I agree you needed to use some discernment in watching, but that's the case with all news, in fact even more so on other networks, which all lead with the same stories from the same perspective.

    What I'll miss and where they were at their best was giving depth or counterpoint to stories which when looked at were either false or even lies.

    Ezra's defense of free speech will be especially missed.

    1. I question the logic, though, of entering the TV market when you knew you needed mandatory carriage to survive.

    2. I was reading on another blog that it was ridiculous to expect mandatory carriage considering CTV and CBC had been around forever, but that's not necessarily so, CBC NewsWorld has only been around for 25 years and CTV NewsNet 17, but more telling in BC is a channel Called BC1 operated by Global (Shaw) which was only launched 1 year ago yet immediately got basic cable almost 2 full years after SNN, so SNN's complaint is valid.

    3. OK, I'll rephrase. Did these people start this network knowing it would fail and expecting that they would become a conservative charity case if it did? Were we expected to be a bunch of marks?

  4. I think SNN's big mistake is they much like Target did assumed what works in the US will in Canada. They tried to be Fox News of the North based on insulting and degrading those who didn't share their views rather than have an intelligent debate and present the benefits of conservative ideas. While not getting part of the basic cable package may have hurt them, they also appealed to too small an audience and if you want to be in the big leagues (otherwise not a small website like on the left), but a national newspaper or television, you need to appeal to a large audience and SNN basically just appealed to the hardcore conservative base which isn't on its own large enough to be profitable. Also many people like investigative journalism that investigates the issues and looks at all sides, rather than just giving one sided rants.