Let's Hear It for Censorship, Eh!

RFK Jr praises Canada for banning Fox News. But there’s a catch.
The Huffington Post headline blares:

Fox News Will Not Be Moving Into Canada After All

Whew! Our neighbors to the north have been spared! Robert F Kennedy Jr explains:

Fox News will not be moving into Canada after all! The reason: Canada regulators announced last week they would reject efforts by Canada's right wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news....Harper's proposal was timed to facilitate the launch of a new right wing network, "Sun TV News" which Canadians call "Fox News North.”

But how can that be? Canada’s Cable Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission approved Sun TV months ago. And the dispute over the regulation (not a ‘law’), which according to Kennedy was instigated by the PM, in fact has been at issue for the past decade, since Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of freedom of expression:

Andrew Kania, the rookie MP who is the chairman of the joint committee for the scrutiny of regulations, said on Monday the committee has been asking the CRTC about the regulation for a decade....The regulations committee pointed out to the CRTC in 2000 that its regulation seemed to be out of step with that ruling and asked the commission what it planned to do about it.

If it seems odd that Mr Kennedy is arguing in favor of censorship and against the Canadian equivalent of our First Amendment, that irony is only deepened when one recalls Kennedy’s willingness to appear on FNC when it suited him. Not to mention that his own brother is a Fox News reporter!

But perhaps concerns over free speech take second place to keeping Canada Fox-News free. Mr Kennedy rejoices that his brother’s reportage has not been permitted to sully Canadian televisions:

Fox News's notoriously biased and dishonest coverage of the Wisconsin's protests is a prime example of the brand of news coverage Canada has smartly avoided.

And so does Kennedy justify his headline:

Fox News Will Not Be Moving Into Canada After All

But there’s a catch. It’s not true. It is what Mr Kennedy might call a ‘lie’. Fox News has been available in Canada for years--since 2004 in fact. It’s hardly a big secret. FNC is carried by a ton of cable/satellite providers, including:

  • Access Communications
  • Aurora Cable
  • Bell ExpressVu
  • Cable Axion
  • City West Cable
  • Cogeco...

There are dozens more, but you get the idea. Clearly, neither Kennedy nor HuffPo bothered to fact-check their basic premise: that Fox News is not allowed in Canada. So they published an article that--from its headline to its final sentence--is predicated on a falsehood! Which of course made it ideal fodder for gullible sites like AboveTopSecret and Newsvine.

Final thought: If, as Kennedy argues, this ‘law’ prohibits false news, and if FNC has been happily airing in Canada for the past seven years, doesn’t that make Fox News fair, balanced...and accurate?

UPDATE: Well that was fast. Within a few hours of our post hitting the interwebs, HuffPo abruptly erased their original headline and replaced it with:

Regulators Reject Proposal That Would Bring Fox-Style News to Canada

But the URL still shows the first version, and the new headline is no less false than the old one. Obviously Fox News has been in Canada for years, so the new proposal does not ‘bring FNC-style news’ there. And ‘Sun TV News’ itself, what HuffPo calls ‘Fox-Style News’, has already been approved! Meanwhile, the article still reads:

Fox News will not be moving into Canada after all!

That and RFK’s preposterous claim that Canada has ‘smartly avoided’ Fox News both stand uncorrected.
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