Change The Channel Meaning

(US, Canada, idiomatic) To redirect someone's attention.

Example: 2002 Oct. 20, Thomas M. Defrank, "Dems Can't Cash In On Economy," New York Daily News (retrieved 17 Oct 2013):
  Repeated attempts to "change the channel" to pocketbook issues that traditionally favor Democratic candidates have flopped.
2002 Oct. 26, Ken Thomas, "McBride ad reveals praise from Bush," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, p. 6B (retrieved 17 Oct 2013):
  "Bill McBride doesn't want that to be the focus so he's trying to change the channel."
2008 Sept. 10, "Harper's fresh commitment on Afghan pullout neutralizes war as election issue," The Guardian (Canada) (retrieved 17 Oct 2013):
  Conservative Leader Stephen Harper tried to change the channel on a campaign of distractions Wednesday as he deftly neutralized the Afghan mission as an election issue.
2010 Jan. 22, "Dealbook: With Tougher Stance, Obama Takes On Banks," New York Times (retrieved 17 Oct 2013):
  [B]ig banks . . . have become the perfect foil for the White House as it tries to lead the Democratic Party out of its post-Massachusetts morass — and to change the channel from the seemingly unending debate over health insurance.
2012 Jan. 9, Les Whittington, "Environmentalists hit back over pipeline hearings," Toronto Star (Canada) (retrieved 17 Oct 2013):
  â€œThis government doesn’t want to have a public discussion on the industry’s disastrous safety record. . . . Instead, they try to change the channel by inventing scapegoats and bogeymen.”