'Not about content, 4 me; about process, & a commercial station exacting forced fees. CBC was set up as a service, not a biz."
The most accomplished CanLit expert might struggle to recognize the prose, but that's none other than Margaret Atwood explaining her objection, via Twitter, to Sun TV News -- Quebecor's planned television network. She's also accounting for her signing of a petition decrying the "hate media" Sun TV News ostensibly plans to foist upon the Canadian public.Okay, that has to be the funniest line I've read in a while--not only because the name "Konrad von Finkenstein" sounds like it came straight out of a grade-Z horror flick (The Horrible House of Finkenstein, say, directed by Ed Wood), but because the idea of von Finkenstein and his silly bureacracy riding to the rescue and "saving" us from the "nightmare" of big and small "c" conservatives is, well, hilarious. More seriously, though, is there anything more pathetic, more disgusting, more hypocritical, than a woman who has made her living by the pen and her facility with the written word calling for those who hold a different point of view to be silenced?
Had Ms. Atwood signed on to an "anti-free speech movement," as Sun Media reporter David Akin suggested (also via Twitter)? Not at all, Ms. Atwood protested. Sure, the petition was called, ahem, "Stop 'Fox News North.' " But her objections, you understand, were purely procedural.
The procedure in question is the CRTC's forthcoming decision, slated for November, on what sort of broadcast licence to grant the station. Originally, Quebecor had wanted a lucrative Category 1 licence, which would have added Sun TV News to every basic cable package in the land, but the CRTC nixed that early on, saying it wasn't hearing any applications for such licences until October 2011 at the earliest. Now Quebecor is asking for a three-year "must carry" period, during which all cable and satellite providers would have to offer the channel to would-be subscribers. In fact, the company now says that if that doesn't happen, it probably won't launch the network at all -- not enough money in it.
This sounds boring, I know. It doesn't sound like cause for panic. But remember the evil that lurks within 24 Sussex Drive.
Says the petition: "Prime Minister Harper is trying to push American-style hate media onto our airwaves, and make us all pay for it. ... The channel will be run by Harper's former top aide and will be funded with money from our cable TV fees!"
Only CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein "stands in the way of this nightmare," the petition continues, and Mr. Harper "is trying to get him out of his job." Mr. von Finckenstein must resist! And Mr. Harper must "stop all pressure on the CRTC" immediately!