Canadian Fox News Hassles Continue
Cable Operator: Can't Have One Without The Other
Why do FOX News and Canada seem to go together like oil and water?
First, the Liberal Party-led Canadian government worked tirelessly to ensure the American FOX News Channel remained banned from the country's cable systems, for as long as possible.
At one time, there were even plans for a FOX News Canada channel (WOW, what a great idea), but they were scrapped in 2003 by News Corporation.
After that, the company devoted its energy to fighting the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) ban on the US cable channel.
Finally, the ban was lifted, to the consternation of some Canadian liberals, who even tried to claim there was no such FOX prohibition in the first place (though some seemed to be confusing FOX affiliates from Seattle, Detroit, Buffalo, etc., which have always been on Canadian cable systems, with the FOX News Channel).
If it hadn't been for the firestorm that erupted after the CRTC welcomed al-Jazeera to Canadian lineups in May 2004, FOX might still be prohibited in the country.
Now, just when you might think the last chapter had been written on this frustrating tale of Canadian government censorship, a new reality emerges: that several months later, it isn't exactly easy to sign up for the channel, especially from one Ontario cable company.
Ontario Tory political activist and blogger Brent Colbert, who has been an important background source for the Radio Equalizer's Canadian coverage, reports on a disturbing situation he encountered when signing up for a channel package with Cogeco Cable.
Colbert says he signed up for a plan which included the FOX News Channel as an a la carte selection, because it doesn't appear in the company's basic lineups. At the storefront location, he was assured he could add FOX News to his order in this way.
Then, Colbert got a surprise:
Later that day, I got a message from the CSR that Fox News was not available as a stand alone option, but had to be purchased as part of a package which includes SEXTV.
If they wish to bundle adult themed programming in a package, that’s fine, but why would Fox News be paired up with a network that shows soft-core pornography?
To the Radio Equalizer, this sounds like an attempt to reduce the availability of the FOX News Channel. After all, how many families (a key FOX demographic) would order this?
A check of the company's offerings shows PBS, CBS, ABC and NBC as part of a basic cable lineup. The second tier "Variety Pack" includes CNN and CNBC.
FOX News Channel is never mentioned on their site, meaning a customer would have to know to request a package that included it.
Colbert wants his Canadian readers to write to the cable company to express dismay over the forced FOX-porn combination, while on the American side, I've contacted FOX and will let you know when I receive a response.
I can't imagine FOX would want their cable news channel bundled with a porn channel lineup.
Evening Update: FOX News spoke to Colbert about the situation. Here's his update.