How Toronto's Papers Covered A Terror Suspect's Arrest
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered A Terror Suspect’s Arrest

Plus Trudeau at the UN and Kathleen Wynne.

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

Ahmad Khan Rahami, an American citizen born in Afghanistan, was arrested Monday in connection with a pair of bombings in New York City and Linden, New Jersey, over the weekend. And with the looming presidential election seemingly predicated on the War on Terror and Prime Minister Trudeau in New York for the annual General Assembly of the United Nations, Toronto’s newspapers have their eyes on international happenings in this morning’s edition of Front Page Challenge.


globe sept 20
The Globe and Mail


The Globe leads with a photo of the bombing suspect on a gurney after surviving a shootout with police, though the paper’s front-page coverage focuses more how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are trying to fashion this situation to benefit their respective campaign messages. “A sobering reminder that we need steady leadership in a dangerous world” is Clinton’s programmed response; and “I should be a newscaster because I called it before the news,” boasts Trump, who never misses a chance to congratulate himself. For some reason, Margaret Wente gets to write the piece about Trudeau’s upcoming speech to the UN General Assembly; she feels Trudeau’s vaunted “sunny ways” are out of step with the violent state of the world (especially with wishy-washy Canada’s ambitions to get that open seat on the UN Security Council). She then contradicts herself at the end of the column, suggesting that the UN doesn’t do much besides make grand pronouncements anyway, so they’ll love him there. The Globe also reports on Canada’s plans to forge a new extradition treaty with China, and follows up on its recent investigation into the current lack of safety testing on marijuana sold from storefront dispensaries. The latter comes after news that more than 20 laboratories are stepping up to independently test pot strains for contaminants in advance of expected legalization of the drug next spring.


post sept 20
National Post


“Shootout Like A Movie Scene” is the headline for the Post‘s coverage of the Rahami arrest, with a photo of the subdued terror suspect held at gunpoint. A pair of related articles spin out the thriller narrative, with one article painting a portrait of the bomber’s life in his hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey (he once worked at his family’s local “First American Fried Chicken” restaurant). Another focuses on Clinton’s criticism of Trump’s attempts to capitalize on this terror attack by ramping up his anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric. The Post says Trudeau’s enthusiasm for the UN already offers a stark contrast to the Harper era, a time when Canada took its turn before the General Assembly to criticize the UN’s emphasis on international human rights.


star sept 20
Toronto Star


The Star takes the more internationalist approach to Trudeau’s UN appearance on this morning’s front page, playing up Canada’s intake of 31,000 Syrian refugees (and counting) as a continuing success story that Immigration Minister John McCallum says 20 other nations are trying to emulate. (This is complete with an inset photo of the Star‘s “Welcome To Canada” cover when the first wave of Syria’s displaced peoples first arrived to the country). The American terror attacks don’t make this morning’s front page; the Star is watching over the latest Ontario news, with stories on Wynne government’s first steps to overhaul children’s aid societies and the premier’s eye toward re-election in 2018. The paper is also following the developing story of the effects of detected mercury poisoning on the youth of the First Nations community of Grass Narrows. And on the lighter feel-good side, the Star reminds readers that “It’s Never Too Late For Love.”


metro sept 20
Metro Toronto


I Have Met The Enemy And It Is Parking” is a change of pace from Metro‘s regular Tuesday coverage of Toronto’s Deadly Streets, with a threat identified from a different vehicular front: the expansive parking lots growing around major transit hubs and shopping centres at the expense of true livable space. The Toronto Parking Authority plans to spend more than $300 million on new parking lots in the next 10 years, and Matt Elliott has done some major investigative research into this problem, providing a clear summary of the issue. “Trudeau Tries To Save The World” is Metro‘s fawning headline describing today’s address at the UN. But the eye wanders up top to see a curious promotion on the front page: “Headline Coffee,” a new initiative from the Toronto Star that Metro is raising awareness about this morning. As nothing goes better with the morning paper than a nice piping hot cup of coffee, why not subscribe to a service that delivers coffee to your front door as well? We are presuming subscribers will be receiving bags of coffee they would then brew themselves in the kitchen rather than having fresh cups of coffee dropped off along with the newspaper, since the delivery person may not know how customers take their coffee or if anyone is home to grab it before it gets cold. These servicing details will no doubt get worked out.


Toronto Sun


sun sept 20
The Sun, of course, is all about the captured terror suspect this morning. “HE LOOKED LIKE A BUM!” is the Sun’s cheap-shot headline today, getting some digs in at the homeless as well as a radical Islamic extremist. (Police initially responded to a call about a hooded vagrant sleeping in a doorway who turned out to be the man police were looking for when the gunfight broke out.) The Sun has seemingly given up on the Blue Jays’ faltering drive for the playoffs with two weeks to go in the season, devoting its daily front-page sports real estate to the upcoming World Hockey Championship match between Canada and the United States.


This week’s winner: the Star takes it this week with its more positive portrayal of Canada’s humanitarian efforts. This front-page is a reminder than as America freaks out over the latest salvo in the War on Terror, with the Trump campaign’s promises of racial profiling and Trump’s son Donald Jr. comparing Syrian refugees to poisoned skittles, the reality is that the thousands of refugees Canada has taken in are human beings.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Toronto Sun 12
Metro 12
Toronto Star 10
Globe and Mail 7
National Post 6


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