What a relief

I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear this, because after all, Fox News did so much to harm our democracy and I just assumed they’d get Canada, too:

As America’s middle class battles for its survival on the Wisconsin barricades – against various Koch Oil surrogates and the corporate toadies at Fox News – fans of enlightenment, democracy and justice can take comfort from a significant victory north of the Wisconsin border. Fox News will not be moving into Canada after all! The reason: Canadian regulators announced last week they would reject efforts by Canada’s right-wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.

Canada’s Radio Act requires that “a licenser may not broadcast … any false or misleading news.” The provision has kept Fox News and right-wing talk radio out of Canada and helped make Canada a model for liberal democracy and freedom. As a result of that law, Canadians enjoy high quality news coverage, including the kind of foreign affairs and investigative journalism that flourished in this country before Ronald Reagan abolished the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987. Political dialogue in Canada is marked by civility, modesty, honesty, collegiality, and idealism that have pretty much disappeared on the US airwaves. When Stephen Harper moved to abolish the anti-lying provision of the Radio Act, Canadians rose up to oppose him fearing that their tradition of honest non-partisan news would be replaced by the toxic, overtly partisan, biased and dishonest news coverage familiar to American citizens who listen to Fox News and talk radio. Harper’s proposal was timed to facilitate the launch of a new right-wing network, “Sun TV News” which Canadians call “Fox News North.”

Harper, often referred to as “George W. Bush’s Mini Me,” is known for having mounted a Bush-like war on government scientists, data collectors, transparency, and enlightenment in general. He is a wizard of all the familiar tools of demagoguery; false patriotism, bigotry, fear, selfishness and belligerent religiosity.

Harper’s attempts to make lying legal on Canadian television are a stark admission that right-wing political ideology can only dominate national debate through dishonest propaganda. Since corporate profit-taking is not an attractive vessel for populism, a political party or broadcast network that makes itself the tool of corporate and financial elites must lie to make its agenda popular with the public. In the Unites States, Fox News and talk radio, the sock puppets of billionaires and corporate robber barons, have become the masters of propaganda and distortion on the public airwaves. Fox News’ notoriously biased and dishonest coverage of the Wisconsin’s protests is a prime example of the brand of news coverage Canada has smartly avoided.

9 thoughts on “What a relief

  1. Seems like a no-brainer to require accuracy from the news media. Given the twisted laws in our great nation, I can only conclude that there is a concerted effort to undermine our liberties and our democracy. Fucking. Bankers.

  2. What a concept! Just say no to false and misleading statements…or lose your license to broadcast!

    So much easier than the old Fairness Doctrine, which resulted in he said/he said opposite broadcasting.

    Just no “false or misleading” news in broadcasts.

  3. I’m trying to imagine how our current leaders would spin this in order to allow FOX News and the rightwing lie flingers to stay on the air….

    “Well, yes, they do say there’s no evidence of global warming, but the broadcast was not entirely false or misleading. They used actual English words to mislead, so there’s that veracity….”

  4. Couldn’t resist sharing this one with folks IRL, and the responses have just been comical. You can just see them not be able to compute it.

  5. Its interesting. Nobody says that FOX or its clone cannot broadcast in Canada. It is FOX’s own decision not to go there because they have decided that their news practices might violate the law and get them in trouble.

    Its not a “political balance” type of fairness doctrine that is keeping them out. Its a simple requirement that they only tell the truth.

  6. Krugman links to a really blatant example of FOX News lying, lying, lying (again, with that Mike Tobin! who, in fairness, I guess did not control the video shown on screen…) in his post titled “Subtropical Wisconsin.”

    Please note the trees in full leaf, the palm trees, and the mounted police in the video which is captioned as “Union Protests.” Now, outright lie? Debateable. Misleading? Damn right.

    I don’t have FOX News on my cable (broadcast cable only bcz the reception stinks here only 30-odd miles from NYC), so I don’t watch it. I’m actually stunned at how low they’ve sunk since I cut the cable connection to FOX.

  7. Canada’s premier newscast, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s “The National,” is available online (http://www.cbc.ca/thenational/) the day after it airs. (The program’s anchor, Peter Mansbridge, wouldn’t stand a chance in hell of getting such a position in the USA. Real Murkins have an innate distrust of middle-aged bald guys, but those godless commies up north have no problem with such folks.)

    On the radio, the CBC’s “As It Happens” is carried on many NPR/PRI affiliates. It’s a relaxed, conversational program, featuring interviews with newsmakers, big and small, worldwide.

    CBC’s coverage of our politics is VASTLY superior to our own, at least to my eyes and ears.

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