How Toronto's Papers covered Stolen Valour and LeBron vs The Raptors

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How Toronto’s Papers covered Stolen Valour and LeBron vs The Raptors

And some hard-hitting reporting on that monster, Caillou.

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Illustration by Brett Lamb

In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of Toronto’s major dailies.

This morning, Toronto is starting to come to terms with the long odds that the Raptors can get past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in round two of the NBA playoffs; all five of the city’s newspapers feature the action from Game 1 on their front page. Will basketball coverage be enough to secure Front Page Challenge glory, or do different tactics need to be deployed to achieve greatness?


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The Globe and Mail


LeBron James is the front-page star of today’s Globe, as his Cavaliers “run roughshod” over the Raptors in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series. Otherwise, the focus this morning is on the B.C. provincial election (with a woman who got told off by Premier Christy Clark on the campaign trail becoming a folk hero with her own hashtag #IamLinda), a story on sex trafficking services that have been discovered to have been available on the classified ad website Backpage, and the Saskatchewan premier’s decision to overrule a court decision and invoke the Charter to preserve funding for Catholic schools in the province.


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National Post


The Post is hopping mad at federal defence minister, Harjit Sajjan, this morning for a speech he made earlier this month in New Delhi where he claimed to have been the “architect” of a 2006 assault against the Taliban in Afghanistan called Operation Medusa. The paper is doing their best today to make sure Sajjan pays dearly for this admitted exaggeration with TWO scorched-earth columns upbraiding him for committing what people in the military refer to as “stolen valour.” Christie Blatchford is furious and unforgiving in her column; whereas, John Ivison seems to be aware that this situation puts conservative columnists in the awkward position of attacking a decorated military officer and takes more effort to praise Sajjan for his service while lambasting him for being “intoxicated with his own success.” But this tag-team pile on seems a bit oversized considering the Minister apologized for the comment 11 times in Parliament yesterday. This venting of spleens is undercut by the other over-the-top scolding on the Post this morning: a Tristin Hopper piece on Canada’s Other Greatest Monster, the cartoon character Caillou, which seems like a combination of an attempt at humour and the writer exorcising a personal pet peeve, but presented in grandiose terms that reads almost as a parody of the paper’s house style:

So Caillou is a drug, essentially: A child-silencing narcotic. And like all harmful drugs, it plunges the user into a netherworld of selfish, tweaked-out behaviour that is destructive to themselves and those around them.


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Toronto Star


Every few months, the Star runs a front-page feature on Canada’s aging population. Today’s entry is called “The Greying of Canada,” marking the first time that the number of seniors in the country outnumber those under age 16, which the paper hopes will trigger real discussions on how Canada will handle the growing needs of the elderly population. The Star also reports on the demands for an inquiry into the deaths of Indigenous teens who were taken from their community and placed in faraway group homes. And the drubbing of the Raptors in Game 1 against LeBron also makes the front page.


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Metro Toronto


This morning’s Metro is a grab bag: LeBron crushing the Raptors, a column by Vicky Mochama urging Mayor Tory and Premier Wynne to work together to tackle the city’s growing social housing crisis instead of pointing fingers as to whose fault it all is, and a feature on a movement to preserve an integrated kindergarten program that unites kids of mixed abilities.


Toronto Sun



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Toronto Sun


The Sun continues to fantasize that Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown will be the next premier of Ontario. This morning’s cover story, “Besties!” features his meeting yesterday with John Tory where he assured the mayor that his party (which doesn’t usually elect MPPs from the 416) will fight for the city in their fight for provincial funding (easy for him to say—you will recall it was his party that imposed the Megacity concept on Metro Toronto that has contributed to our constant funding woes). The Sun also offers some halfhearted advice to the Raptors in their hopes to prevail against the reigning NBA Finals champions, with the stirring words “Play Harder, Fellas.”


This week’s winner: The Globe and Mail wins this week for featuring a dynamic shot of LeBron James making it rain in Game 1, and for their bold use of a hashtag in a headline, a very uncommon sight in Canada’s National Newspaper™.

G&M

Illustration by Brett Lamb


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