How Toronto's Newspapers Covered the Ongoing Donald Trump-Republican Party Civil War
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How Toronto’s Newspapers Covered the Ongoing Donald Trump-Republican Party Civil War

In other news: Blue Jays coverage, horses, and a local columnist admits to his scofflaw ways.

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

For two of the city’s daily papers this week, the battle for first place in Front Page Challenge’s weekly leaderboard has become cutthroat. The battle suits the backdrop for this week’s subjects: the catastrophe(s) plaguing the American presidential election, and closer to home, the Blue Jays being four wins away from making it to the World Series. This column’s jury has a tough decision to make.

globe oct 11
The Globe and Mail

The top story in the Globe this morning is a health issue: last fall Trudeau’s Liberals campaigned on a promise to eliminate the use of asbestos in Canada, but almost a year after they were elected, no such action has been taken. The poignant photo accompanying the article features a young woman whose father died of mesothelioma resulting in workplace exposure to the known carcinogen. The Globe also covers the re-opening of the probe into the genocide in Rwanda, based on new information from a former aide of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, alleging his direct involvement in the 1994 missile attack that killed the sitting president and kicked off the massive genocide. But below the fold, the story that everyone is talking about is the apparent death of Trump’s presidential hopes in a continuing collapse so total that he may kill off the campaigns of GOP candidates in tight Congressional races. House Speaker Paul Ryan gave the okay to Republicans to do whatever they have to do to hold onto their congressional majority as opposed to continuing to defend the indefensible. That said, the former Mitt Romney running mate stopped short of unendorsing Trump himself. It’s an unprecedented series of events in modern U.S. electoral politics. The Globe describes it in their headline as “turmoil,” with a “defiant Trump.”

post oct 11
National Post

The civil war in the Republican Party also makes the front page of the Post, though the Conservative paper has a lot more riding on this story, giving it a full wide centre column headlined “U.S. Election Tumult.” The Post is helpless to witness this: you’ll remember their former owner Conrad Black has written several laudatory columns on Trump during this election, including the now-hilarious classic “The Genius of Donald Trump” (he has been oddly silent with his opinions on the reversal of Trump’s fortunes, though that dam should break shortly). The Post‘s most interesting bullet point is their headline that Trump’s campaign manager said he was “only kidding” about his promise during the debate to appoint a special prosecutor to put Hillary Clinton in jail after he wins in November, an authoritarian statement that horrified even CNN analysts after the debate ended.

star oct 11
Toronto Star

The Star‘s top story is their exclusive interview with the provincial minister in charge of Ontario’s autism services, who promises “massive change” to the system to ensure proper funding resources and better treatment options. Though the Trump collapse is not on the front page today, the election is featured in Daniel Dale’s latest dispatch from the campaign trail, reporting on the educational divide that is fueling the political polarization on display in the U.S. The Star also reports on the disturbing trend that is compounding Toronto’s housing shortage, with a report on a long-time rooming house on Sherbourne Street that has been converted to an Airbnb. Housing advocates see it as a zoning violation that threatens affordable housing options rather than what Airbnb is supposed to be, a way for homeowners to generate extra income through short-term house/room rentals. The Star also features a preview of the upcoming American League Championship Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland baseball team; reporter Richard Griffin likes the Jays’ chances.

metro oct 11
Metro Toronto

Metro gives a little space on the front page to the Jays, who get to rest up this week before squaring off against the Cleveland baseball team, but it seems Metro took their loss to the Sun in last week’s Front Page Challenge column hard, with reporter Luke Simcoe taking to Twitter to express his disappointment in the jury’s decision. They have doubled down this week with a new front page cover story advocating for pedestrian rights as they navigate Toronto’s Deadly Streets. There is a current crackdown in the city on pedestrians who begin to cross the intersection as the red hand starts flashing on a traffic signal, a violation of the Highway Traffic Act, even though New York City scrapped their similar enforcement of the same rule just last month. Metro columnist Matt Elliott throws down the gauntlet this morning with his brazen column “Call me an outlaw: I will keep breaking laws on Toronto’s streets and I won’t apologize,” bragging he is the city’s number one violator of the pedestrian countdown timer law, and also boasts of other daily infractions he commits as a cyclist, including not coming to a complete halt at stop signs (aka “the Idaho stop” where cyclists merely yield to traffic). Elliott is defiant in the face of these laws, basically daring Mayor John Tory to arrest him.

Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun Oct 11
The Toronto Sun has crafted another classic Tuesday cover that is seemingly designed to curry favour with this column’s jury, complete with a headline that contains a high-middlebrow literary reference to the Cormac McCarthy novel All The Pretty Horses.

That said, there’s nothing pretty about the fate of the former racehorses in this story, whose former owners fear have been led to slaughter after being sold to what they presumed were greener pastures. Can the Sun get action? The paper is also bullish on the Jays chances in the ALCS, and are a little concerned about the collapse of Donald Trump, wondering, as we all are, what he will do now. Columnist Mark Bonokoski provides news on the fate of Billy Bush, the former Access Hollywood host caught egging Trump on in the now notorious 2005 video that has dealt the campaign a mortal blow, and sees Billy (the first cousin of former GOP candidate Jeb Bush, and former president George W. Bush) suspended from his job on NBC’s Today Show, though Bonokowski stops short of intimating any conspiracy here. Sad!

This week’s winner: This call was as tough as last week’s for the Front Page Challenge jury: whether to honour a paper’s strong civic advocacy, or to recognize excellence in design. This week we are awarding the victory to Metro, impressed as we are that they took last week’s loss hard and have rebounded in style with the same subject matter, even upping the ante with Matt Elliott’s shocking front page admission that he is willing to live his life as an outlaw in the hopes of changing the city’s antiquated traffic laws. For the Sun to lose to the Metro on a week where they even borrowed Metro‘s patented winning formula of putting an animal on the front page has got to hurt, but it’s the kind of hurt that can lead to further greatness, as Metro can, at least for this week, attest. This victory closes the gap between first and second place in this column’s weekly standings.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Toronto Sun 14
Metro 13
Toronto Star 10
Globe and Mail 7
National Post 6

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