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Watching the Watchdog: The Sun Also Confuses

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Veteran television newsman Tim Knight contributes a regular blog to HuffPost, analyzing and rating the top broadcast news shows in Canada. Today he examine's Sun TV.

Episode: Sun TV News

Date: Friday March 9, 2012

Anchor: Various

Sun TV News is a most peculiar and mysterious place. I wanted to know which of their shows they consider to be their flagship so I could review it like I do other journalistic programs. I emailed and called half a dozen times but could only get as far as their news comment line ("We value your opinion, so please leave us a message."). Nice to know they value my opinion, but I never heard back.

Occurs to me that if major news (The Rapture, World War lll, Justin Bieber weds) breaks outside my window, I'll probably watch another network.

Now, I write this column by screening different flagship news programs in the evening and making notes, then re-screening on the Internet the next day to get the slightly different Internet feel and check names and quotes.

Last night I watched some Sun coverage of the Manning Conference in Ottawa. I won't bore you with details. It was much like any other network's coverage of political gatherings -- interesting for the participants no doubt, but consistently dull. Anyway, a conservative network covering a Conservative rally is closer to an evangelical assembly of the saved than journalism.

Today I hit the Sun News website looking for yesterday's other shows. But I couldn't find any. So I checked my horoscope in the Globe and Mail, studied the entrails of chickens and decided to review whatever random segments I could conjure up.

Best I could do was find previews of "stories we're working on right now." They're introduced by a somewhat insipid young woman, unscripted, and nicely informal. Sometimes humorous, even witty. And they're never without the Sun's notoriously self-serving, male pit-bull point of view.

True Journalistic Objectivity -- Michael Coren (The Arena):

"George Soros... a Yankee, imperialist leftist."

And,

"I was described as a fascist by a professor... and he's going to regret doing this because... enough of people who are conservative being slandered and libeled by these morons."

CBC, Porn, and Sun TV Saves Canada -- Brian Lilley (Byline):

"CBC has come to its senses and decided it's going to stop airing free porn from France on the Internet. It's a victory for Sun News, it's a victory for you."

CBC, Porn, and Sun TV Saves Canada -- Ezra Levant (The Source):

"The CBC blinked today. They announced they're getting out of the porn business, shutting down their porn website. I think it's because they want their annual bailout this month but in the meantime, victory for us and the taxpayers."

Save the Cops -- Charles Adler (Prime Time)

"... this ridiculous idea that police are arresting citizens that are trying to help them. They're arresting good citizens as opposed to criminals. It's a very strange situation in a country where we desperately want to believe in some institutions like the police and don't want to see their reputations devalued."

Wrath About Grapes -- Charles Adler (Prime Time):

"Is it possible the NHL is trying to push Don (Cherry) right off the proverbial cliff?

Verdict -- I admit I'm no techno-geek. So maybe it's my fault I couldn't find screenable archives. But if someone from Sun would care to contact me, steer me towards anything it considers a flagship news show so I can review it, I would be pathetically grateful.