The SUN-TV news network was never intended to cover the news, it was intended to make the news. Some might even say make up the news, but what I mean is that the gang of clown-shoed commentators put together by right-wing Quebecor chieftain Pierre Karl Peladeau and former PMO flack Kory Teneycke are paid to act out and grab headlines, not to report the news.
Nobody watches SUN-TV outside of a few elderly shut-ins, the staff at QMI newspapers who are a captive audience, Blogging Tories and professional media watchers.
Bill Brioux, a freelance TV writer for CP, owner of TVFeedsMyFamily.com and a former Sun Media TV columnist, has access to BBM numbers. He says the audiences for Sun News Network are indeed minuscule.
“Very few Canadians watch Sun News Network. A look at the BBM Canada overnight, estimated ratings for a typical mid-week night, Wed. Dec. 28, showed that their highest rated show was The Source with Ezra Levant at 10 p.m. with 38,000 viewers across Canada. ByLine with Brian Lilley at 9 pulled 35,000. Only 5,000 and 6,000 of those viewers were between 25 and 54, across Canada. There are more people, on any given night, in a mall in Toronto,” says Brioux.
So who does watch Sun News Network? “The vast majority of the few viewers SNN does get are way over 50, outside the demo advertisers want. So SNN draws enough on a nightly basis to fill a senior’s mall,” says Brioux.
He went on to say that after the top two shows, Sun News Network gets even fewer viewers. “Beyond Lilley and Levant’s shows—the two highest rated SNN offerings by far—everything else stiffs,” says Brioux. “Charles Adler has bombed from the beginning, drawing 8,000 at 8 p.m. and 2,000 at 11 p.m. on the 28th—and zero in the 25–54 demographic both hours, across Canada.”
As for David Akin’s Daily Brief, Brioux says 6,000 viewers tuned in over the supper hour. But the late-night slot tanked. “Daily Brief at midnight got zip and zip—so few viewers, BBM Canada could not measure them. The same night, CBC News Network peaked at 198,000/60,000 viewers.”
The idea behind the "news" network is to make a lot of noise through calculated and contrived outrageousness and get the other media in the country to pay attention. This results in the media that most people do watch and read - the CBC, CTV, Global TV, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Province et al - reporting "both sides of the story" and thus giving the radical right wing side of an issue equal balance with the truth, thus advancing the radical conservative neofascist agenda.
Every time Ezra Levant prances around in a fright wig or tells a foreign executive to go fuck his mother for opposing the destruction of the environment, every time some ignorant spokesbimbo insults a guest and spouts nonsense, every time Michael Coren tells the audience that real Canadians hate brown people and non-Christians --it makes the news, the blogs (including this one) go nuts and people talk about it.
With very few exceptions - and they should be ashamed of themselves - the people on SUN TV don't care about the news or journalism or truth - that isn't the business they are in. They will say or do anything to get covered by other media. They have to, because no one is watching them.
Essentially, SUN TV is engaged in cultural trolling and the way you get rid of trolls is to quit feeding them. So I call on other bloggers, other journalists, the real news media in Canada to stop giving these trolls the oxygen of public attention.
As long as the CRTC refuses to force cable companies to make them a standard station and force subscribers to give them money, SUN-TV will not turn a profit. Eventually PKP will get sick of shovelling money down a hole and Levant, Adler, Coren, Erickson and the rest will all be forced to go out and try to get real jobs.
And being a professional clown only looks good on a resume if you are applying for a job at Ringling Brothers or a rodeo.