When Truth Becomes Fiction – Updated

In addition to leaving comments at the CRTC site until Feb 9, there is now a petition circulating. If you would take a moment to sign it, I’d appreciate it! Sign here.

As many of you know, I am a Canadian. And if you read any of my political writing, you know I tend to lean left. I have railed against the ridiculousness of US politics and felt particularly angry about how Fox News operates.

For those of you who don’t live here, we have a regulatory commission that oversees broadcasting in Canada. This body is called the Canadian Radio and Telecommunication Commission. I recently became aware of a long-standing rule that this commission has and it surprised me. It states that broadcasters ‘shall not broadcast any false or misleading news’.

Cool huh? Clearly and pristinely stated.

Well, shock me to death to hear that this rule, a bastion for truth in broadcasting, is waiting on approval of a change. Yes you heard me right. They now want to change the rule to say that they can’t broadcast any false or misleading news when it endangers lives. So now they want to allow broadcasters to have the options to lie to us at will.

WTF???? Are you kidding me? What the hell would this rule change possibly buy anyone? Who would want this?

You may recall awhile back I mentioned SunTV in Canada wanted to create a sort of Fox News North. Now they didn’t get the changes they wanted from the cable companies but they are going to go ahead with changes apparently.

So we have a conservative Prime Minister in office who is well-known for message control. We have a commission that is making a very strange rule change. And we have a broadcaster that wants a right wing focused station. Now, I’ll leave the math to you.

Do I know the Prime Minister’s Office is colluding with SunTV and the CRTC to make this happen? No. But you have to admit this series of events looks mighty suspicious.

I’m just at a loss for words that anyone could want to knowingly change the broadcasting rules to allow deliberate falsehoods to be delivered as truth without some sort of clandestine agenda. Call me a conspiracy theorist. It’s all I can see in this case.

If this story offends you in any way, feel free to write the CRTC, who is accepting comments until February 9, 2011. You can find the comment page here. This references submission 2011-14 at the site. Read the rules carefully.

Here’s the original article I read, here.

Please also take a few minutes to express your outrage to the following people:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff: Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca
NDP Leader Jack Layton: Layton.J@parl.gc.ca
Bloq Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe: Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca

Thank you for listening whether you participate or not. Any comments sent in are greatly and thankfully appreciated. And I mean that even if you disagree with me. It’s important we all participate in our democracy and exercise our freedoms!

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7 Responses to When Truth Becomes Fiction – Updated

  1. Pingback: When Truth Becomes Fiction – Update 2 – We Win! | Larry Lootsteen's Blog

  2. Dave says:

    The major issue as I see it with CRTC 2011-14 is the weakening of the clause concerning licensees not being allowed to broadcast news that is false or misleading. The new wording replaces the phrase “false or misleading news” with “news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public”. This new phrasing has built-in ambiguity which will allow the broadcast of news if;

    a) the licensee does not know that the news is false or misleading
    b) the news doesn’t endanger or is unlikely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public

    The easiest way to correct this would be to change the new wording to;

    “news that is false or misleading or that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public”

    Comment on the ruling is open until Feb. 9, 2011.

    The actual notice can be found here;


  3. Pingback: More from the CRTC: Abandoning truthful broadcast journalism « reKalibrate

  4. Patrick says:

    You mention Fox News…you can’t be cited for broadcasting lies if you are broadcasting an opinion.

    Here is a little bit I wrote about a documentary I saw “exposing” Fox News called “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War On Journalism…

    I used to lean a lot more left. Now, I lean pretty right. But, this has no bearing on what I am writing here. I worked in the media for close to two decades and I know what it is first hand to push an agenda.

    This documentary misses the point. FOX News is first and foremost a BUSINESS. The on air people are first and foremost ENTERTAINERS. They say and do things that will make money to an audience that is more than willing to listen and agree and support their sponsors. The same goes for the left. Any left leaning networks are BUSINESSES. There to make money. FOX is so successful and controversial because they are the only game in town. On the left you have CNN, MSNBC and pretty much every other network chasing the same left leaning nickel. Whereas FOX makes ALL of the conservative money.

    You can bet you last that if there was more money to be made in left leaning programming that FOX would be so far left that your neck would snap. Don’t believe me? Two of FOX most successful and profitable TV shows…The Simpsons and Family Guy. Two shows that lean WAY left.

    It’s all about MONEY…It’s NEVER about politics. This is why Air America Radio failed…(I worked for that abortion from its start until I left about six months into it…) For those people, it was about politics…about getting “The Message” out to the “misguided.” It didn’t work because to them, radio wasn’t a business, it was their soapbox for truth. It wasn’t controversial…it wasn’t interesting. They never said anything to grab headlines or promote themselves properly. (Not to mention that they had none of the money that they said they had.) The place essentially went bankrupt 2 months into it’s life. Because the programming wasn’t compelling. They thought that the liberal population would just tune in and they would have to beat advertisers off with a stick. They thought they would make millions of dollars in the first week and they wouldn’t have to worry about not having a dime to their names. Air America Radio didn’t realize that advertisers buy proven programming with lots of listeners, in their demos.

    First rule of broadcasting…be interesting or compelling. They were neither. FOX News agree with them or not, makes things interesting. Interesting graphics, interesting music, hot looking chicks. Yes, it is style over substance but PBS aint exactly tearing it up in the ratings, now is it?

    Bottom line is…it is a business. I am sure the highest ups at FOX sit back and laugh themselves stupid on top of their huge pile of money every night.

    • larrylootsteen says:

      The entire ‘it’s a business, it’s entertainment’ argument is pretty stale. If they ran under the banner of Fox Entertainment perhaps I could take that argument more to heart. This is Fox NEWS. Opinions or not, they are all presented under the banner of news. On your side, the only thing I can state is that there likely has never been rules in the US. In the past you could count on the news organization to err on the side of caution. These days, flat-out lies are presented daily. Maybe you think that’s okay. Maybe you think some people don’t get swayed by these ‘opinions/entertainment’.

      I will argue vehemently that is about politics AND power AND money. Not just money.

      My main point is about this rule change in Canada. Do you have an opinion on that? Because THAT is my main point. Not Fox.

      And by the way, I appreciat you taking the time to post your thoughts. I hope you will reply to mine.

  5. vivve says:

    This is absolutely unbelievable. Really!? First the usage-based billing, now the removal of broadcast integrity? That’s nice. Remind me why we have the CRTC “protecting the interests of the Canadian public” again?

    Thanks for posting. I’m definitely reading up on this further and sending in a letter.

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