The right-wing propaganda machine suffered defeat this week in the great white north when Sun News Network, the Fox News clone in Canada went off the air Friday. The network, which many dubbed the “Fox News North,” had been in operation since 2011, but it never caught on with the public. Their dismal ratings stand in stark contrast to their American equivalent, Fox News, which loves to crow about being the biggest fish in the little pond of American Cable News.
The network was meant to be the echo chamber for Canada’s emerging Conservative Party which began to rise in 2003 from the cattle farms and tar sands oil fields of Alberta. Touting deregulation, tax cuts and a hardline foreign policy, they were to Prime Minister Stephen Harper the same kind of cheerleader that Fox News is for America’s GOP.
Despite high hopes that the news outlet’s success would mirror that of the rising party, their ratings were terrible from the outset and never did get much better. At the end of their first year, the top show, Ezra Levant’s The Source, was drawing about 35,000 viewers nightly. Among the 18-34 demographic prized by advertisers, the show did not raise a pulse.
John Doyle, TV columnist for the Globe and Mail put it this way:
“Sun News’ reactionary message and crude style speaks to a tiny older audience, but the contrast between its swaggering self-important voice and its actual impact is comical. Much of what they do, which is pundits busting blood vessels over irrelevant issues, is genuinely laughable. At times the ratings suggest the number of viewers under 50 is literally zero.”
Like any good conservative, of course, they blame government rather than their own ineptitude. CNBCNews reported –
“Its supporters blamed the CRTC for not giving it the same access enjoyed by news channels operated by CBC and CTV.”
They say their ratings troubles are the result of Sun’s secondary status on Canadian cable, meaning they were not part of the basic cable package, and that this put them at a disadvantage to other news stations. Essentially this is the same sort of disadvantage suffered here in the US by MSNBC for many years.
As it turns out, though, they were denied from the basic package because they weren’t attracting viewers from the millions of homes that they were already in when they applied for inclusion in the package in 2013. As Daily Kos reported:
“Data released as part of that application showed that while the network was available to 5.1 million households, it was only attracting, on average, 8,000 viewers at any given time.”
At that rate, if they had been available on every TV set in the country, they might have averaged as many as 30,000 viewers, or roughly the population of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Now the experiment is over, a dismal failure. Canadians rejected Sun News. The right wing will have to find another way to brainwash our neighbors to the north.
Here’s The Last Few Minutes Of Sun News
The last few minutes of Sun News didn’t give any hints of what was to come, so the 23 people actually watching were likely very surprised. If you jump to three minutes, you can watch a show sign off, a few ads telling people about upcoming shows, followed by blackness and then a simple graphic. Farewell.