Photo of a Sun newspaper box in October 2000 by Kevin Steele.
Subtlety is not something that the Toronto Sun does particularly well, so it’s only fitting that a blog devoted to ruthlessly criticizing them on a day-to-day basis is called, well, Toronto Sun Sucks.
The blog was created by Jim Schwartz. He told Torontoist that the idea to give the Sun shit, consistently, started one winter ago. “I was walking to work every day, passing by the Toronto Sun newsstand and seeing ridiculous headlines….So I downloaded all of the Toronto Sun covers for an entire year, I extracted the headlines into a document, and I built a computer application to count the occurrences of each word to generate a tag cloud.”
The two most common words used in headlines? “Leafs” (thirty-five times) and “murder” (thirty times). Schwartz registered TorontoSunSucks.com, posted his findings in April, but didn’t do much else with the domain until this past new year. Since January, though, Schwartz posts a new entry a couple of times a week skewering that day’s Sun cover (like this one: “The Toronto Sun always posts interesting pictures of politicians. This one is no exception; David Miller looks like he was letting off a Raspberry Tart while the picture was being taken.”), or, in rarer occasions, praising it (like this one, of the Sun‘s birthday edition, which, with a great old photo of the city, was “so close” to not sucking).
Schwartz, originally from the Niagara region, says that “where I grew up, everyone is afraid to go to Toronto because ‘it’s so dangerous.'” But, he says, “anyone who lives in the city knows it’s safe here…I blame the media for exploiting crime to sell newspapers.”
Schwartz’s ultimate goal seems to be to not destroy the Sun or to get it to lie to its readers, but to make it better by keeping what it reports on all in context a lot better. “I think crime should be reported,” Schwartz explains, “but I think it should be reported in proportion with other issues that affect people. I feel the Toronto Sun puts too much emphasis on crime, and the fear-mongering headlines make Toronto appear like a war zone.” The Sun, Schwartz says, should “talk about real issues rather than simply exploiting crime.” “After all,” he told us, “we do live in one of the safest cities in the world.”
Hat tip to Marc Weisblott.