Avideo posted at the BC Blue blog shows the dyed-in-the-wool Liberal Warren Kinsella and Sun News’ Byline host Brian Lilley having a verbal dust-up until Lilley asks that Kinsella’s microphone be cut off. Yes, really. They cut off Kinsella’s microphone.
I am a regular watcher of Sun News, though I find programs like The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News better than anything Sun News offers. I thought, however, that Sun News prided itself with bringing both sides of an argument to the table. The Byline show’s Webpage boasts, in part:
The Byline showcases irreverent journalist Brian Lilley as a cultural warrior, a connected journalist who is on the side of Canadians who value their individual freedoms and responsibilities over intrusive government. … Tune in for insight, opinion and long-overdue discussion of topics that matter to average Canadians.
Apparently the “insight” and “opinion” referred to is subject to the host’s censorship. Well, I suppose all TV shows reserve the right to censor when a guest becomes extremely unmanageable or says things that could cause legal problems for the network. Lilley’s censorship seemed not to have been prompted by anything like that, however. In fact, it was Lilley who seemed to be losing his cool. I thought Kinsella handled himself with restraint.
This episode reminds me of an interview I saw when Krista Erickson, another of Sun News’ hosts, rudely bullied a guest. I’ve also heard Erickson berate the CBC—not such a bad thing of itself—but she happily pocketed her paycheques from the CBC for several years. Hypocrisy, it seems, is alive and well at Sun News.
As I see it, if one hosts a show with guests, one needs to be sure one can take as much as one gives. Bullying guests or turning off their microphones doesn’t seem to fit the image Sun News seems to be trying to project.
Warren Kinsella doesn’t need me to defend him, but I believe he held the high ground on this one.
© 2011 Russell G. Campbell