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Jan 8, 2012

Canada's Media Covets American News?

Two anecdotes today left me wondering if Canadian media is covering (and coveting) American stories more than homegrown ones.
  1. Detailed coverage of US politics on CBC
  2. More American (NFL) football on free-TV than Canadian;
First the politics. I awoke this morning to the CBC radio newscast. It dedicated 10-20% (I'm guessing; I didn't have my stopwatch ready) of its time to a political debate.

See, one political party occupies the nation's most powerful office. A political party NOT in this office is holding a long, protracted leadership contest. I could be talking about the Canadian NDP.

But the above description also applies south of the border, in the US. And it was that contest, the Republican party primaries in the US, not the Canadian NDP race, that occupied so much of CBC's time. Seems there was a leaders' debate in New Hampshire that we Canadians really needed to know about.

Did the last NDP leaders' debate garner so much time on the newscasts? (I don't know, I missed the news that day). And why the obsession with the Republican primaries? I can see a Canadian interest in the race for President of the US, what with the Most-Powerful-Human role the winner gets. But why the fascination with a foreign country's pre-race race?

Second the football. TV comes into our household via rabbit-ears. What we like to call "Boonie-Vision" - Free TV. We currently get 2 channels that way: crystal-clear CBC-TV and sometimes-clear-unless-it's-a-cloudy-day CTV.

I'm not aware of either station carrying a single Canadian football game over free-TV. Certainly not CBC. And CTV and cable-based TSN are owned by the same parent company, so it seems to me that all games went the pay-TV route.

Yet every minute of the American football playoffs, plus hours of pre- and post-game coverage, is available over free-CTV.

So here in the football hotbed of Saskatchewan, I can watch loads of NFL playoffs for free, but none of the beloved Roughriders, apparently.

Now, I can think of several reasons both the political and the football coverage was as it was. But what perplexes me is this:

In a land that struggles at times to articulate our own identity, where too often we define ourselves as "Not American," why the fascination and focus on American news and sports?

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