Free-market hypocrites for government coercion – feedback & update

As I said yesterday, I find the spectre of the hectoring free-marketeers at Sun News demanding government regulation to coerce consumers into buying their product hilarious. Contrarian reader Ritchie Simpson thinks I’m out to lunch:

I mean really, Parker, what a scurrilous attack on Sun News, complete with quotation marks in the title to suggest that someone, supposedly [Sun News VP Kory] Teneycke, actually said that. I’m forced, in Eastlink’s basic package, to pay for all 3 major American networks, all other Canadian news channels, including the Ontario centric, slightly pinkish, tax gobbling, bureaucracy-bound CBC in several guises, two CTV channels, an aboriginal channel, a Christian channel. Why shouldn’t Sun News get the same benefit?

Furthermore your comments dodge making any substantial argument and relies solely on an ad hominem attack that is factually incorrect and you know it.

If you have a case, make it; please don’t resort to childish name calling because you don’t agree with someone’s politics. Its anti-democratic and beneath you.

Ritchie’s right about the quotation marks. It was an unfriendly paraphrase of their demand, not a direct quote (although Sun News development head Luc Lavoie did use the word “choice” to describe the self-serving government coercion the right-wing channel is advocating).

Ritchie also has a point about choice of channel selection in cable services generally. Like most consumers, I would be delighted to see an a la carte system in which customers could buy the channels they want and no others. That’s the free market position.

It’s not the position Sun News is taking. The boys at Sun News detest government intervention to help the poor, the sick, the elderly, the endangered, the aboriginal. But government regulation to prop up a propaganda toy for multi-millionaires? They’re fine with that.

On the same topic, Lindsay Brown asks:

Why hasn’t SunNews taken things a step further and demanded that Canadians be forced to buy Sun newspapers as well? Both organizations share a single brain cell and it’s just good business practice to insist taxpayers support the half that’s losing money. (Why the losses? Because Canadians don’t like it).

Closer to home, if the CRTC caves on the Sun issue, it’ll be on the same day I cut our cable, for good.

Reader Bob LeDrew recalls the promises Sun VP Kory Teneycke made when the network was launched:

“We’re taking on the mainstream media,” Teneycke warned the assembled journalists. “We’re taking on smug, condescending, often irrelevant journalism. We’re taking on political correctness. We will not be a state broadcaster offering boring news by bureaucrats, for elites, and paid for by taxpayers.”

“No,” adds LeDrew, “not paid for by taxpayers. Paid for by the poor suckers who had the bad judgement to buy basic cable. The idea that a single penny of the money I’d pay to a cable-TV provider going to Sun News makes my resolve to lengthen the 18 years I’ve not paid for TV services indefinitely.”

So far, Sun’s dog-in-the-manger crusade seems to be gaining little traction with the commission.

[Update] Tabatha Southey captured the hilarity better than I in her Globe and Mail column.