I didn't blog in the last half of 2013, but I followed politics as usual and noticed it was politics as usual.
My daily routine for keeping up with events includes reading the National Post (paper edition) and several of the on-line media outlets listed in sidebar of this blog. In the late afternoon, I usually watch CTV’s Power Play with Don Martin and occasionally CBC’s Power & Politics with Evan Solomon. And, in the evenings, I watch The Agenda with Steve Paikin and, occasionally, a smattering of the Sun News Network’s shows.
Sunday mornings are devoted to shows I pre-record to avoid commercials: the excellent PBS staple The McLaughlin Group; NBC’s Meet the Press; Global’s Focus Ontario and The West Block and CTV’s Question Period. And on Thursday nights I catch the At Issue and Rex Murphy segments of CBC’s national news broadcast.
Out of this lot, the most disappointing, by far, is the Sun News Network’s shows…all of them. Nothing like I had hoped for when I first heard that we were getting a new network with a conservative editorial slant—the programming has been below expectations virtually across the board. An awful lot of hype, but not much there to keep me tuning in. The format of the evening shows are pretty much all the same with the same topics covered from the same points of view, regardless of the host.
I watched Michael Coren’s old show on CTS every night for several years and carried on watching him when he moved to Sun News, but gave up after a couple of months. The format is pretty dull with Coren preaching at the audience and not enough other viewpoints to add some counter balance.
I used to watch The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News regularly and thoroughly enjoyed it, but got out of the habit because, as one might expect, much of the issues were not really pertinent to the Canadian scene. Sun News, unfortunately, has no one in Bill O’ Reilly’s league.
The Sun News guys are right about one thing though, news and political opinion on the other Canadian networks do have a clear liberal/progressive bias. Softball lob-like questions to progressive politicians and sharp critical jabs at Tories. A Tory says something damaging to the progressive side and Steve Paikin will quickly interject one of his “to be fair” comments to balance things up. Not so quick is he to do the same when a progressive overstates a position, however. Maybe I shouldn’t pick on Steve Paikin as he’s one of the more balanced hosts, and his shows are often excellent and expertly produced.
A progressive bias in mainstream Canadian media? Yes, I believe there is. And that is what brings me back to blogging. Mine may be a conservative voice in the wilderness, but it does reach a few hundred readers and could just make a difference from time to time, if only in a minor way.