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Impressions of summer TV: sinkholes, pot, the PM up north, save Sun News

Came back, eh? Watched a little summer TV, gained some impressions, so let's get started.

First, fair warning: This column does not contain footage of, or links to footage of, sinkholes. (Also, this column has not smoked pot since 1981. An assertion that speaks for itself, I believe.)

Anyway, about the sinkholes: Sorry to disappoint. No footage of cars, giant excavating machines, houses or an entire grove of trees in Louisiana disappearing into the earth. As anyone who has been watching TV this summer will know, sinkhole footage has been de rigueur for broadcast news. If you don't have sinkholes on the news, you're nothing, you've got nothing and nobody will watch.

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Such is the state of things. Either the viewers are idiots, or those delivering the news are idiots. You decide. As any half-alive person will know, sinkholes are indeed an interesting phenomenon, but is the science of sinkholes ever offered to viewers? Nope. And why bother, those in the news racket will probably say. Viewers watch footage of something disappearing into the earth and go, "Cool!" That's it. If you're in the news racket, it's easy peasy. Not like figuring out Syria. Nice work if you can get it.

Where was I in recent weeks? Thanks for asking. I was up north, obviously.

Following the inspiring lead of Our Glorious Leader, I went north to commune with the decent people there, acknowledge their existence, ride around on an ATV and perversely wear a warm jacket while the people of the south are traipsing around sweat-soaked on sidewalks that the sun is splitting with its heat. I wore a jacket that proclaimed "Canada" in case I got lost, and plan to wear one proclaiming "Toronna" when at home. Somewhere online, if you search, you'll find a photo of me pointing a stick at something in the north, and looking very manly while doing it. Everybody's doing it. It's de rigueur. Get with the trend, people.

Speaking of sinkholes, I see that the Sun News Network was denied "mandatory carriage" on basic cable TV packages in a CRTC ruling while I was away. In other words, the channel, estimated to be losing about $18-million a year, won't be shoved down our throats and could be toast.

Now this is highly alarming news. This column feels about Sun News the way Our Glorious Leader feels about the north – it's there, it's useful for making a point and, remote though it may be from the centre of things, it should be cherished. Given hugs and kisses and such.

Listen, if Sun News disappears, you'll rue the day. Where, I ask you, will its pundits and distinguished prognosticators go?

Picture the future. You might be sitting there watching Evan Solomon (the next Pastor Mansbridge, mark my words) on CBC News Network, exchanging views with some MP from the north and, before you can say "Tuktoyaktuk," Ezra Levant will appear and begin making a lengthy speech about young Mr. Trudeau and the smoking of pot. Given his track record for highly demonstrative TV punditry, Levant might even illustrate his point with a toke, or whatever they're calling it these days.

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Do you want that? Not the toke, but Ezra Levant on CBC NN doing his thing? Nope, you don't want that. A glimmer of hope remains, though. The Sun channel, charmingly described in its own news reports as "the plucky, upstart news channel," nudged the CRTC into reviewing the whole all-news racket in Canada. "The Commission calls for written comments on its preliminary views on a proposed framework to ensure a healthy and diverse range of Canadian news programming within the Canadian broadcasting system."

You are invited to intervene. Please do write to the CRTC with your comments, and mark the subject line, "Keep Ezra Levant on Sun News. For pity's sake!"

Came back, eh? Gained some impressions – everything's gone to pot. Tomorrow's column has been prorogued in print and will appear online only. Govern yourself accordingly.

Airing tonight

King & Maxwell

(Showcase, 10 p.m.) is a new, insubstantial American cable drama about two ex-Secret Service agents who start their own private investigation firm. Sean King (Jon Tenney) carries the burden of being on duty when a political candidate was assassinated. Michelle Maxwell (Rebecca Romijn) has witnessed a kidnapping. Now they solve crimes. He's quiet and she's bad-ass in tight clothes. It's in the tradition of other ampersand shows such as Rizzoli & Isles and Franklin & Bash. King & Maxwell, based on novels by David Baldacci, is filmed in Toronto and Vancouver.

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