How Toronto's Papers Covered Donald Trump and Russian Athletes
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered Donald Trump and Russian Athletes

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

Pokémon Go was officially released in Canada on Sunday, and the streets of Toronto are alive with Pokémon hunters wandering through the city staring into their phones. This phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by Toronto’s daily newspapers, but with other major stories—such as the Russian sports system doping scandal and the appointment of Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee—this is a big day for news, and this week in Front Page Challenge, all five of our regular combatants are in it to win it.

The Globe and Mail

The Globe leads this morning with the braying face of speaker Paul Ryan, who is photographed enjoying a hearty laugh, but take a good look at his face. You’ll see his smile looks out of place. If you look closer, it’s easy to trace the tracks of his tears. You see, he wasn’t expecting to preside helplessly over a convention that is selecting Donald Trump as the nominee to go up against Hillary Clinton this November. The meagre attempts by the Republican Party establishment to stop this from happening failed time and time again, and though Ryan pretends to be more or less accepting of this fate, he must know that however hard the GOP works this week to make the party seem palatable to the general population of America, Trump will no doubt set off a few more mouth grenades. His comments could sink the party’s chances in November and potentially cost them control of the House and Senate, as Trump’s unpopularity could drag down Republicans in down-ballot races. Ryan is scheduled to speak tonight in primetime at the RNC, where he will likely repeat over and over again that for him the choice is “binary”—do you want Hillary, or Trump? The other top Globe stories of the day include glitches with the federal government’s new pay system, Phoenix, which has led to more than 80,000 public employees having issues with getting paid or accessing health benefits with no immediate resolution in sight. Cathal Kelly is also on the discovery of a doping cover-up within the Russian sport system that may cost the country their bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

National Post

The National Post finds itself in an editorial conundrum this morning. The paper has been more or less agnostic about the rise of Trump over the course of his campaign, somewhat impressed by his bluster and unconventional style, only taking him seriously as a candidate when it was too late to stop him. This morning, its front page is consumed with images of the final failure of the #NeverTrump movement on the floor of the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (They tried to force a roll-call vote that would have potentially freed up bound delegates to vote with their consciences instead of having to fall in line with the results of their respective GOP state primaries and caucuses). The Post also covers the findings of the Canadian law professor who delivered his stinging findings of doping practices in the Russian sports world, though their coverage is somewhat sympathetic to Russian athletes, pointing out the report delivered was “short on details.” And the paper covers the trial in Montreal of a murder defendant who opened fire on a Parti Québécois election night party in 2012 and who credits the anti-depressant Cymbalta for sending him into the deep end, a dive which included the end of his marriage and a spiral of limousines, champagne, strip clubs, and prostitutes that blew through his substantial life savings.

Toronto Star

The Star leads with the Russian doping scandal, playing up the Canadian connection to the report that might get Russia bounced from the Olympics, which start next month. The central image is of Mariya Savinova winning the women’s 800-metre race in the London Olympics; she now faces a lifetime ban from competition. The feel-good story of the day is former Leaf Phil Kessel finally bringing the Stanley Cup to Toronto…having won it as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins (he quietly dropped by the Hospital for Sick Children, hoping not to have it be a big media event). The feel-bad story of the day is Daniel Dale’s coverage from the RNC. Dale reports that “Trumpism” is on full display at the convention, painting a grim picture of a party doubling down on the fear, anger, and exclusionary political rhetoric that is alienating the very demographic groups they can’t afford to chase away if they expect to be competitive against Clinton in November. The pun of the day is “The Kimpire Strikes Back“; the Star is the only one of city’s papers that has put the latest salvo in the vacuous celebrity war between the West-Kardashians and Taylor Swift on the front page.

Metro Toronto

Metro makes up for last week’s omission of Pokémon coverage by placing Pikachu next to its logo, promising a story on “where the wild Pokémon are (and why).” Metro has a special correspondent in Cleveland covering the GOP Convention, and today’s first entry tells the story of “The Activist and the Preacher.” The paper also offers faint hope this morning for those seeking rental accommodation relief in Toronto’s real estate market, and the paper blows the lid off Toronto’s “secret” (until now) getaway spot, the Toronto Islands, with the city’s ferry service struggling to keep up with demand now that the waterfront condo population in Toronto is a-boomin’.

Toronto Sun

The Toronto Sun has delivered a modern front-page masterpiece this morning with today’s cover story “Toronto GOes Ape For Pokemon,” depicting a King Kong-sized Pikachu screaming his own name from halfway up the CN Tower. (If only they had added Drake clutched in Pikachu’s hand this could have been even more masterful an achievement.) It is also worth noting that the Sun omits the accent aigu from their use of the word “Pokémon.” Though the Sun‘s columnists have often derided Clinton’s run for the leadership of the Democratic Party as “a coronation,” the paper excitedly reports this morning on the beginning of Trump’s “coronation,” playing up the “Duck Dynasty Endorsement” Trump has received from the former Ted Cruz boosters. Unfortunately Scott Baio’s similarly star-powered endorsement went unacknowledged by the Sun this morning.

This week’s winner: This was a very competitive week, with the Post and the Star delivering particularly dynamic front-page imagery, but the Toronto Sun cover is clearly championship-calibre material and with this stunning victory, they are back in a first-place tie with Metro in our weekly standings.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Metro 10
Toronto Sun 10
Toronto Star 9
National Post 5
Globe and Mail 4

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