Let the Sun Go Down

  • Illustration by Paku Daoust-Cloutier

Last week, the Sun News Network reported that the Francophone branch of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Radio-Canada, was using taxpayer money to air so-called “pornography.”

Since then, one question has been taunting me for days: Does Sun News actually pay its journalists? See, the show in question was a sitcom on tou.tv called Hard that “has scenes of soft core pornography.” But the word “reported” may not be the appropriate to describe how this “news” came to light.

It’s worth noting that things like basic reporting standards are largely ignored by the Sun Media Corporation, as this “report” came from the same network that also just faked a citizenship oath ceremony for new Canadians and graces the daily pages of its papers’ sports sections with scantily-clad buxom Sunshine Girls.

But specifically concerning their cries of “porn,” did Sun News even contact CBC? Did the journalist watch an episode of Hard to describe it to the readers? Did they do their due diligence?

No. They sent a “reporter” and a camera crew to Parliament Hill, asking MPs what they thought about it (must have been a slow news day).
But the answer from heritage Minister James Moore did not please them: “I know you’re in the business of going after CBC,” he said, “ but I have other things to
do right now.”

Judging by the copy that came from this “investigation,” a description of tawdry acts is the type of journalism that gets Sun News hot and bothered.  
“Was there a shortage of Internet porn that we needed the CBC to spend our money?”  said Sun News “journalist” Brigitte Pellerin. Such a question is totally misleading.

The CBC bought a show from the French company Canal+, a leader comparable to HBO in the French market. Hard features a woman whose husband died and she has to take over his porn business. So yes, there are sex scenes. Like in most movies you watch today.

But I’m pretty sure there is a fine line between a show about pornography and actual pornography—mainly because one would assume that the show has a comprehensive story line. And if these journalists can’t see such a difference, maybe they should consider a career in nunnery or somewhere equally opposed sex in general.

And if it’s not about the sex, it’s about the money.

“Reporter” Kris Sims eventually went so far as to ask if it would make a difference if the actors on the show were Canadian. “It’s foreign money, it’s made overseas and it’s been posted on a taxpayer-funded website,” she wrote, suddenly making the issue about the horny Euro travelling onto virginal Canadian lands.

Look, we all know that Sun News is out to take down the CBC. Quebecor, the legal owner of Sun News, regularly hammers the CBC with access-to-information requests, and then hauls them to court. It’s a beef about business.

But despite fast-and-loose reporting and man-made publicly funded CBC “porn” crisis, Sun News forgot one thing: Quebecor does receive public money.
Last October, CBC—tired of being continuously attacked by Quebecor—pointed out to them they receive around half a billion in tax credits and provincial and federal funding. No, that’s not a typo.

Last fall The Globe and Mail also reported on the story, confirming the whopping $500 million to Quebecor.

So next time Sun News goes after a taxpayer funded corporation for doing the very thing they are mandated to do, which is to entertain, perhaps they should take a long, hard look at their own mandate, which is to be “Canada’s Home for Hard News and Straight Talk.” There’s nothing straight about one side of the story.

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