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Kory Teneycke pauses while delivering a statement announcing he is stepping down as vice president of development for Quebecor Media on Wednesday. (CHRIS WATTIE)
Kory Teneycke pauses while delivering a statement announcing he is stepping down as vice president of development for Quebecor Media on Wednesday. (CHRIS WATTIE)

John Doyle: Television

10 things you need to know about Fox News North Add to ...

The abrupt departure of cool, clean hero of the right, Kory Teneycke, from the Sun TV News team was a shocker. Hereabouts, it was even bigger than any other TV racket news. Such as: "Doris Roberts denies being jealous of Betty White," which US weekly was trumpeting as a scoop yesterday.

Like much to do with the proposed channel that is commonly known as Fox News North, the departure of the cool, clean hero is actually a murky business.

When making the announcement, the former spokesman for Our Glorious Leader Stephen Harper said, according to this newspaper, that "controversy over Sun TV, which he acknowledged he helped fuel, is hurting the project's chances of acquiring the regulatory approvals it seeks."

Yeah, well, whatever. Call me crazy but I seriously doubt if CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein read the news of Teneycke's departure and said, "Oh, okay. That makes everything all right, then."

With all the murky shenanigans, there are 10 things you should know.

1. Margaret Atwood won, Kory Teneycke lost. Atwood connected the issues of the federal government's hostility toward arms-length federal bodies to Sun TV's application for a cushy licence. And it stuck.

2. A main reason put forward for the need for Sun TV News is the allegation that existing broadcast news operations are distinctly biased, left-leaning. Mind you, the idea that the CBC is a left-leaning news outlet is a concoction of the Conservative Party. This is hooey and irresponsible. The other day, after CBC reported the NRA had given logistical and tactical support to pro-gun lobbies in Canada fighting to kill the long-gun registry, a Conservative Party memo said, "The CBC's claim is offensive and its motivation is obvious. Blinded by ideology, the CBC refuses to report the truth..." That's hysterical nonsense.

3. The CBC is not shoved down anyone's throat. A democracy has a public broadcaster, paid for by all citizens. That's what happens. As a public broadcaster, it is mandated to be different. It is mandated to be Canadian, and mandated, among other things, to put the Canadian arts, both high and low, on the airwaves. It is Canada's most important cultural institution. We all pay for it in the same that we pay to have clean water and an education system. Canada is located next door to the great behemoth of U.S. broadcasting and the country needs a distinct cultural institution anchored in its public broadcaster.

4. Nobody is "afraid" of Sun TV News. Some people are simply disgusted by the ceaseless attacks on existing media and the overwrought insistence that a right-wing-only media outlet is absolutely necessary in Canada.

5. There is always context for a news story, as even Kory Teneycke, who resigned from Sun TV on Wednesday, would acknowledge. On Tuesday, Avaaz.org, which was behind the petition to stop "Fox News North" issued this statement: "Today, Avaaz requested that the Ottawa Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) begin a criminal investigation to determine the identity of the individual responsible for adding fraudulent signatures from an Ottawa IP address to the organization's "Stop 'Fox News North'" petition. In his letter to law enforcement on behalf of Avaaz, noted civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby called for a full criminal investigation.

At a Parliament Hill news conference Teneycke declined to answer questions including whether his resignation is linked to his battle with Avaaz.

6. Teneycke is very good on TV. I hope he turns up on Sun TV News if it ever arrives.

7. Sun TV News sounds like it will be a lot of fun. In fact the hilarity to ensue will certainly be boundless. Laughter is always good.

8. Fox News Channel in the United States is very successful. Among other things, it provides a great target for comedians and satirists. And, you know, Rick Mercer needs a new thing to rant about.

9. As a TV critic I really, really need another Canadian news outlet to watch and write about.

10. Bring it on.

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