First Impressions of Sun “News”

Has anyone else subjected themselves yet to watching the Sun News channel? You’re certainly not alone if you haven’t – their highest rated show in prime time has only managed to pull in about 50,000 viewers so far, with others not even breaking 20,000. To be fair, they haven’t struck deals with all the cable carriers yet and it is early days. But still… given all of the hype and promotion in friendly media outlets and a fortuitous launch in the middle of a federal election, the ratings coming out of the gate have been pretty dismal.

And no wonder. It is just painfully awful to watch. Yes, I’ll admit that I’m predisposed to hate it and prejudiced insofar as thinking that all of their hosts (David Aiken notably excepted) are peevish, right-wing hacks, shrill demagogues, and smarmy, wet-behind-the-ears douchebags; all of which certainly makes listening to them grind their ideological axes an aggravating experience, but it’s more than just that…

Despite proudly touting their “state-of-the-art design package” in their promos, on the whole, the graphics are fairly crude by today’s criteria and the sets look cheap. In fact, everything about the presentation appears kind of low-rent and sub-par. That of course wouldn’t matter if the discussion was of a high standard, but sadly it’s not – by a long shot! Even worse than being overtly biased – which it most definitely is – it’s something far more inexcusable: it’s profoundly boring.

Last night, radio blowhard Charles Adler spent the first quarter of his program re-imagining what had taken place on the previous night’s show. The second quarter involved the channel’s meme du jour of fear-mongering about a conspiracy between the opposition parties to “illegitimately” usurp power after the election. The third quarter was spent distorting the opposition parties’ “hug a thug” position on the justice system claiming that they wanted to unleash violent criminals, rapists and sexual predators on law-abiding communities…

The last 25 percent of his program was spent talking about a recent incident where a shih tzu attacked a female greeter in an Ottawa Home Depot. Somehow or other Chuck tried to spin this into a crazily fabricated strawman argument railing against “leftists” who he imagined believed that animals have human rights and could hypothetically one day start filing lawsuits on their behalf. Following this goofy notion was an awkward, largely incoherent conversation with Sun “personality” Mark Bonokoski that ambled all over the place, but kept returning to his elderly mother’s shih tzu, which apparently just afforded the two of them the opportunity to say “shit” on air a lot (a fact that Adler actually alluded to, disingenuously asking “Bono” if that was the reason people found this story interesting and newsworthy). Whazzahuh?

Well, that’s an example of the “straight talk” to be found on Sun News. I could go on about the other small sampling of the channel’s offerings that I forced myself to watch the other night, but doing so would just compound the time already wasted on the exercise.