Sun News’ greatest defect was it wasn’t a news channel — it was constant opinionating on the cheap, as opposed to news reporting, which is costly.
The Source with Ezra Levant as seen on a television Thursday, hours before Sun News Network went off the air. Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick writes that the constant opinionating on the right-leaning channel seemed to be stuck in the attitudes of 1912.
By: Heather Mallick Columnist, Toronto Star Published on Fri Feb 13 2015
.Early Friday morning I realized I had missed the 5 a.m. shutdown of Sun News Network by 13 minutes, which was a shame because I had scribbled down the Rogers channel number before I went to bed — it was either 142 or 742 — in the hope of its hosts at last doing something charming. Maybe end with a joke? Or a beer raised, Colbert-style, to the viewers or, more accurately, viewer? “Here’s to the last of the Angry Pyjamas!”
Of course the thing had just snapped shut like a frog’s mouth and gone dark. Sun News would eat no more flies.
There is nothing else to do at 5:14 a.m. except think gloomy thoughts. Sun News used to gloat over layoffs at my beloved CBC, but I hate seeing anyone at all out of work because no one would buy the company corpse. I had watched Sun News the night before, in the hope of finding a greater understanding of the creature, but as always I just ended up unnerved. It never seemed like any Canada I recognized, or even passed through on a bus.
In SunLand, it was always 1912 and men in paper dickeys (a collar with a sort of breastplate) purchased in a dry goods store raged against hootenanny gals, shiftless hobos and the invasion of the Moor. In SunLand, Muslims were the enemy. In Canada, no one is the enemy. That’s the point of Canada.
But no one in 1912 saw it that way.
Sun used to ask me on and I would say no, I’d already done the repellent Bill O’Reilly and why go second-hand. But the great Stephen Lautens, lawyer, columnist and one of the funniest people on Twitter, would say yes. In a Friday column looking back on his visits to the studio, he remembered them saying, “We have trouble getting liberals to come on.” Sun people wouldn’t debate, just harangue, and debate is always the key.
Lautens wrote that Sun people weren’t putting on a parody of O’Reilly. They meant it. “They truly hated Justin Trudeau.”
It gets weirder. After the Supreme Court’s humane ruling on assisted suicide, Lautens wrote that the various hosts chatted about it. They really believed “people would be declared insane by doctors and put to death by family members who wanted to get their hands on their gold teeth. In other words, compassion for the terminally ill inevitably would lead to the gates of Auschwitz. No middle ground.”
I still don’t get the hatred bit. If I had to list people I wanted to punch in the face, I’d list Hitler (which is basic so I get an extra), ex-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, the head waiter at a certain fish restaurant on Front St. and Karl Lagerfeld, but that’s it.
There was always something weird about Sun News advertising. Lautens says it was aimed at the easily frightened and the elderly, but I thought they were after cat ladies and hoarders.
You’ve seen CLR ads. It peels the scale off your coffee maker, rather well. But on Sun, the new spray-on cleaner ad had a close-up of a truly unspeakable toilet plus what looked like a disc of catsick on the kitchen counter. Who lets porcelain get in a state like that? You don’t need CLR, lady, you need a chisel, I thought, and then realized I’d said it out loud to an empty room.
Just watching Sun put me off my hinges.
The great defect of Sun News was that it wasn’t a news channel: it was constant opinionating on the cheap, as opposed to news reporting, which is expensive. Everyone has an opinion but since all Sun opinions were the same and never debated — we don’t trust Muslims — it seemed slab-like rather than entertainingly bumpy.
And the second greatest defect was that it was a bully, but one with bad aim. Canadians don’t like bullies. To win Canadians over, you should always kick powerful people rather than the helpless.
When I see a Muslim woman in a niqab, I say hello, how are you. When I see a young woman in a workplace, I say good luck because she’ll need it. Refugee claimants need all the help in the world, including medical care, as do sexual assault victims. So do young female CBC reporters being harassed on the street by violent men armed with a grotesque sexual meme, FHRITP.
Kicking someone who’s already writhing on the sidewalk isn’t funny, and Sun News did that often. It wasn’t funny to attack Justin Trudeau’s mother, Margaret, who has repeatedly been bereaved and who suffers from bipolar disorder.
I will say that I frequently receive violent threats, no make that “promises,” about my imminent horrible death whenever I write about something the hard-right loves.
But I once went after Ezra Levant, the silliest man in Canada, for his treatment of Margaret and Justin Trudeau. And there was silence. No Sun viewers told me they wanted to slowly drown me in the bath. Even for them, Levant had crossed a line. I have to admit that I was impressed, felt a kinship with the 1912 ers that weekend.
Good people, salt of the earth, you Sunny News viewers. Wander on over to the CBC, you might like it.