In non-Trump news: Mike Bullard, laneway housing, and a spit take.
In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of Toronto’s major dailies.
One week ago today, Donald Trump became the President-elect of the United States, and the cultural shockwaves have not yet begun to let up. As the unimaginable becomes the new reality and the world tries to understand (and in some cases normalize) these new circumstances, which of Toronto’s daily papers has the best handle on these changes?
The Globe and Mail
The Globe reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the new American President had their first (official) phone call on Monday. They discussed repairing relations between the two superpowers, which had supposedly declined in the Obama years. The role of Russia’s involvement in the American election was a hotly debated subject during the U.S. campaign, with rumours that Russian hackers supplied Wikileaks with an endless supply of damaging revelations about Hillary Clinton, her aides, and their secrets—right down to their risotto recipes. It was no secret that Russian media was pulling for Trump and was delighted in the outcome; the Globe‘s article states that “after Clinton lost, the flagship state television news broadcast took to referring to her as the ‘blonde woman’.” Meanwhile the U.S. military (which was ironically one of Trump’s favourite campaign targets) are in potential hot water in the International Criminal Court, with a prosecutor there alleging war crimes were committed in Afghanistan, with charges expected to be laid imminently. And a Toronto-based art historian has a new book of recently discovered Van Gogh sketches; the Globe generally publishes two big articles on Van Gogh annually, with their last feature on the Dutch master published last July.
The Post is still processing the Trump victory. You would think the conservative broadsheet would be over the moon that a right-wing celebrity businessman with the Conrad Black seal of approval is mere weeks from being inaugurated, but they can’t go all in just yet; this is clear on this morning’s front page, where they wrestle with the fact that Trump’s pick for his Chief Strategist in the White House is Stephen Bannon, the former chairman of the conservative news-noise machine Breitbart News, which Bannon himself described as “a platform for the alt-right” (an anodyne term for “extreme right-wing white nationalism”). The “liberal media” has seized on details of Bannon’s past (including a revelation from his 2007 divorce that he didn’t want to send his children to a school with Jews) as proof Trump’s strategist is virulently racist, misogynist and anti-Semitic, but the Post sees the bullet-proof glass as half-full, wondering on their front page whether Bannon is merely a peddler of extremist clickbait who doesn’t actually believe what he pandered to for years. The Post also features a disturbing story out of the courts in Alberta, where a judge “anonymized” the identity of a man convicted of Internet child luring, a judicial measure generally used to protect the victim not the perpetrator (the judge was worried there would be vigilante retaliation against him). The Post also reports that analog (aka actual things) is alive and well. The Post runs an annual feature on how analog culture is making a comeback, most recently an Andrew Coyne article last December.
This morning the Star and the CBC begin a joint investigation, with complete cooperation from the RCMP, to shed some light on how this country’s “antiquated legislation and diminished police powers in the digital age are allowing suspected terrorists, drug gangs and child abusers to operate above the law.” On the one hand this is a rare glimpse into the paradox of the great latitude the police have in terms of their surveillance powers against the increasingly savvy counter-measures criminals have developed, but there is something off-putting about the RCMP basically granting the Star and the CBC this access to help make their case that they need more power. In another Star Exclusive™, former Canadian talk show host Mike Bullard has been faces multiple charges of criminal harassment after allegedly stalking his ex-girlfriend, longtime City news reporter Cynthia Mulligan, which may have been a factor in Bullard recently leaving Newstalk 1010, where he hosted a daily lunchtime broadcast. How this scandal will affect sales of Bullard’s live stand-up album Stick 2 Comedy remains unclear.
Metro mentions Trump and Putin’s phone call on Page One, but their main story this morning concerns a new campaign to populate the city’s alleyways and laneways with mini apartment suites to help address Toronto’s housing crisis and provide homeowners with income properties. Metro is the only Toronto paper to provide A1 coverage of yesterday’s close call where pilots on a Porter flight from Ottawa to Toronto had to take evasive action to avoid a mid-air collision with a “mystery object” (suspected to have been a drone) during the flight’s landing approach. (Originally a Toronto Star story by Bruce Campion-Smith, it appeared on A3 there.) Metro also continues their week-long series on the lack of gender equity on the boards of this country’s crown corporations, because it’s 2016.
The Toronto Sun often likes to have it both ways, and today’s front page is a great example of this. If a fare collector gets caught asleep in the booth, (in part because of heart problems that would see them pass away 10 months later) the Sun is all over the story with invective and outrage. Yet when the little guy who has had enough of the damn TTC what with their rising fares, slow service and lollygagging staff feels momentarily justified to take their frustrations out on a driver, columnists like Joe “Night Scrawler” Warmington are shocked at the loss of respect and civility, and how we could get to a place like this. Today’s top story “Spittin’ Mad” concerns the TTC rolling out new operator safety measures after yet another driver was assaulted on the job, in this case enduring a passenger who suddenly rubbed the driver’s face with her saliva-coated hand. But Scrawler knows this ugliness sometimes comes with the job, and has faith in the driver’s perseverance, writing “But he will be back on the 501 route soon. Even though spit was rubbed in his face, it will not stop him from delivering service with a smile.” The Sun also rolls out the modern equivalent of their popular “7 Ford Pages Inside” feature with their new promise of “Your Daily Dose of Donald”. On the menu today is the news that ISIS thinks Trump is a maniac, which they don’t mean as an insult, they are actually confirming one of Hillary Clinton’s unheeded warnings on the campaign trail that ISIS looks at Trump as an effective recruitment tool because of his anti-Muslim rhetoric: “His utter hate towards Muslims will make our job much easier because we can recruit thousands.” says ISIS commander Abu Omar Khorasani. The article ominously suggests ISIS considers the upcoming Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York “an excellent target” for a jihadist attack to ring in this new era. Anyway, it seems the Sun is currently taking all this dread a little too lightly.
This week’s winner: the jury is giving it to the Star this week for their in-depth investigation into the RCMP’s efforts to thwart online criminality within the current confines of the law; “Police, power and privacy” is likely going to be a major theme of our lives as questions of security and nationalism consume the United States and by proximity, this country as well.
|Newspaper||Number of Wins|
|Globe and Mail||10|
This article incorrectly stated that Metro had the scoop on Porter’s close call. The article has been fixed to reflect that this was originally a Star story.
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