How Toronto's Papers Covered Clinton and the Capybaras
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered Clinton and the Capybaras

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

This morning’s Front Page Challenge is a particularly competitive battle, with all five of Toronto’s dailies performing at high levels of skill. And there’s a lot to cover today, with Trump’s presumptive opponent in this November’s presidential election about to be confirmed, the issue of doctor-assisted death reaching a tipping point in the nation, and a pair of Toronto capybaras still on the lam. But which paper will emerge victorious in this week’s Page One battle royale?

The Globe and Mail

The Globe leads with last night’s news from the Associated Press that Hillary Clinton has secured the delegate count she needs to be considered “the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee” even ahead of today’s final wave of state primaries. There is a possibility that the news could backfire on the Clinton team: her voters may not turn out in force for today’s voting as a result of her already clinching the nomination, allowing Bernie Sanders to claim a few victories and maintain his dream of somehow winning the nomination in a fight on the floor of the Democratic National Convention. The Supreme Court of Canada’s deadline for the government and regulatory bodies to create working legislation for doctor-assisted death expired yesterday, leaving the nation in a grey area, with lingering questions as to whether a physician who delivers such a service could be blindsided with criminal charges without standards in place. And speaking of people dying, China would like Canada’s help in sending back any of their suspected fugitives we might be harbouring. It would be great for trade agreements and bad for human rights, which China would appreciate we stop dwelling on so much.

National Post

If Indiana Jones has a subscription to the National Post he is no doubt cancelling it after seeing today’s cover, touting a promising new cure in the battle against Cystic Fibrosis involving snake venom, harnessing the “mind-boggling” potential of these toxins discovered by Canadian and French scientists. John Ivison provides the latest entry in his weekly “The Trudeau Government Has Lost Its Way” column, with this week’s evidence that the Liberals are the same as the Conservatives offered in the form of Canada’s plans to sole-source the purchase of new fighter jets to supplement our aging fleet of CF-18s. And Donald Trump continues to provide fodder for his opponents by bragging about a lucrative deal he made a few years ago renting out one of his properties to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. “I made a lot of money with Gadhafi, if you remember” humblebrags The Art of The Deal author Trump, who would have raked Hillary Clinton over the coals for doing such a thing.

Toronto Star

A very serious Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rolls up his sleeves and sits down for an exclusive five-part interview to the Star‘s new National Affairs columnist Paul Wells this morning. Today’s topic concerns the proposed assisted-dying legislation, which Trudeau describes as a “big first step” even though technically it’s a big last step for those undergoing such treatment. The Star has the exclusive on the Ontario government’s “Five-Year Climate Action Plan 2016-2020,” which includes encouraging motorists to switch over to electric cars with such incentives as “free overnight electrical charging at home.” The Star also asks an alarming question at the top of the page: “Is It Over For Rover?” details the disturbing trend amongst the city’s dog owners to name their canine companions with human baby names as opposed to traditional dog names such as Bowser, Peanut, or Mr. Barkles. And the Star is on the capybara story, kind of, but why downplay the story to the bottom of the page with a tiny inconclusive photo of one of the creatures that proves nothing? Our next challenger shows the Star how it’s done.

Metro Toronto

Metro is providing the best coverage of the continuing story of Toronto’s fugitive capybaras. One of them was recently sighted by an area man who says he nearly captured one of the “furry fugitives”; the story is accompanied by a photo that bears a resemblance to the iconic yet disputed photo of Bigfoot taken in 1967. Could this photo be a similar hoax, merely someone or something in a capybara costume skulking through the High Park woods? Metro‘s use of the question mark in their headline suggested they are not quite convinced it is real. The paper’s regular “Toronto’s Deadly Streets” column focuses today on the police crackdown on traffic “scofflaws”—pedestrians who jaywalk, hold up traffic, or otherwise impede the flow on the roads. The crackdown on scofflaws may lead to further restrictions on the movements of the city’s rapscallions, miscreants, scamps, and ne’er-do-wells. Metro also features a preview of an upcoming event at the Centre for Social Innovation hoping to dispel stereotypes about Muslim-Canadians, and offers a curious photo of a strawberry inside an ice cube.

Toronto Sun

The Sun, historically the paper of the self-styled “little guy,” celebrates Tax Freedom Day, the date where Canadians can stop forking over their money to the government and consider the rest of their income this year as theirs. One of the Sun‘s evergreen images to symbolize the plight of the little guy is of a person yanking their pocket inside out to display the absolute lack of money they now possess. This “celebration” of tax freedom can therefore be interpreted as a somewhat cynical gesture, with the headline “Keep The Change” and the editorial on page 16 (“Canadians Pay Too Much Tax“) providing further proof that as far as the Sun is concerned, the government is supposed to work for the taxpayer, not the other way around. In more sarcastic news, “Nice To Have Friends” is the headline accompanying the latest bombshell that Premier Kathleen Wynne may have awarded a lucrative contract to a “Grit pal,” although Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans might be excited to know that the beneficiary of this largesse, Liberal strategist David Herle, runs a polling firm called The Gandalf Group. Perhaps the premier was only offering him a “Tolkien” of her appreciation?

This week’s winner: Competition was fierce this week, with a deadly rattlesnake, a strawberry in an ice cube, and Tax Freedom Day all putting forth strong arguments to be declared this week’s champion. But we are awarding this week’s prize to… Metro, for giving the city the top-of-fold coverage of the fugitive capybaras that we demand and reintroducing the word “scofflaw” to the Canadian lexicon along with other archaic terms that are supposed to get a Canadian’s blood boiling, such as “boondoggle” and “kerfuffle.” This unconventional path to victory vaults Metro into the lead in our weekly standings.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Metro 9
Toronto Star 8
Toronto Sun 8
National Post 4
Globe and Mail 3

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