Critics and pundits had best accept the fact it’s here to stay

Three weeks ago, I accepted an extremely generous offer to host a new prime-time show on Sun News Network.

Coren Tonight will debut in August, airing weeknights at 7 p.m., repeated later in the evening.

I’ve hosted a show for more than 12 years at Crossroads television, presenting 3,000 episodes, winning a dozen awards and interviewing thousands of guests, including prime ministers, IRA leaders, Marxist revolutionaries, Nobel Prize winners, authors and activists from every political affiliation imaginable.

But in all that time I never witnessed as much hatred and hysteria around a television enterprise as I have concerning Sun News.

It’s as though a rock has suddenly been lifted and the creatures beneath run wild in panic.

In this case, the creatures are critics and pundits, metaphorically screaming their displeasure.

Between us, some of the fiercest of them applied for jobs at the station and were rejected, or assumed they should be approached and never were. There is none so angry as a journalist scorned.

The screamers can be subdivided.

First, there are the allegedly sophisticated types who accuse Sun TV of lacking in intelligence.

Which is a little odd in that Ezra Levant has written two bestsellers, my 13th book is in its fourth printing and Charles Adler, Brian Lilley and David Akin are some of the best-read and most informed people in journalism.

The same cannot be said for many, if not most, people on Canadian television, who are often achingly insular, have little world experience and are guided more by weeping Oprah than wise opinion.

As one woman journalist said to me, “Sun is, like, you know, like, stupid. Whatever.” No joke — I took down her words verbatim.

Then there are those who dislike the station’s alleged conservatism. Fair enough, I suppose, but this is tribalism.

The CBC has worn its liberalism and socialism on its publicly funded sleeve for decades.

What is worse: A private, self-financed station having a stated opinion, or a public, state-supported one claiming objectivity while slavishly following a particular ideology?

After the leftists come the lazies.

They are the television critics who are so intimate with the established networks they sometimes resemble publicists rather than commentators.

Anything new is threatening to them, and this paradoxical conservatism makes them incapable of offering “fair and balanced” thoughts on the revolution happening in Canadian television.

The truth about Sun News is ratings and advertising are way ahead of predictions — believe me, I would not have left a safe, well-paid job if this were not the case.

As for the future, it is almost inevitable the same political and cultural shift in this country that made the Tories the natural party of government will eventually lead to Sun News being one of, if not the leading, TV station in Canada.

Change can be scary to vulnerable and needy people. Suddenly the world is a bigger place, and it’s time to grow up.

Sorry guys, you can’t keep a good county down, and you can’t keep a good television network down either. Don’t hide from the Sun, but bathe in it.