How Toronto's Papers Covered Pay For Play and Toronto's Deadly Streets
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered Pay For Play and Toronto’s Deadly Streets

Who will win this week's Front Page Challenge?

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

In today’s Front Page Challenge derby, the Globe and the Post get caught wearing the same outfit, the Star tries to bite Metro‘s style, and the world in general is awakening to the possibility Donald “No Puppet” Trump is possibly a puppet after all.

globe dec 13
The Globe and Mail

The Globe‘s obsession with the Trudeau government’s practice of “cash for access” fundraisers is hitting its stride this morning with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now conceding that yes, government business has been discussed during these events, but insisting that he is the one who makes the final decisions on these things. But the Globe article says such “pay to play” activity runs contrary to the rules the Liberal Party set forth earlier this year. The federal government is also tabling legislation to crack down on the illegal shipments of opioids, as the underground market for fentanyl is leading to a spike in overdose deaths. The Globe is also keeping an eye on the incoming Trump administration, as most of the cabinet appointments so far have been post-retirement-age billionaires with apparent links or sympathies to the Kremlin. The view starts to take shape (more in the international press than in the North American press) that Putin may have pulled off a “soft coup” during the U.S. election and has basically installed Trump to repurpose America as a subordinate ally for whatever Putin’s grand game is. (Dissolving NATO? Russia annexing other European countries?)

post dec 13
National Post

Occasionally the Post and the Globe run the same photo on their respective front pages, and such a day is today, with frowny-faced Justin Trudeau on both national newspapers. The Post‘s coverage of cash-for-access fundraisers is a bit more alarmist than the Globe‘s with a headline saying Trudeau’s skyrocketing fundraising activities may have crossed an ethical line, and Ottawa columnist John Ivison saying Trudeau is being arrogant by not living up to his own party’s supposed standards on these things. The paper’s conservative columnist Colby Cosh is upset about the “gang of traumatized artists and intellectuals” who are trying to stoke a movement to block Trump from being declared president by appealing to members of the Electoral College to respect the results of the popular vote—where Hillary Clinton holds a large lead over Trump. If the tables were turned, presumably Cosh would have stood up for Clinton’s legitimacy as president-elect if she was the one who had eked out a narrow Electoral College win despite Trump winning millions more votes and despite the CIA saying the Kremlin may have manipulated the election in her favour. Also: a moose in New Brunswick was rescued from an icy river.

star dec 13
Toronto Star

In a brazen attempt to win this week’s Front Page Challenge, the Toronto Star tries to emulate Metro‘s patented and effective “Toronto’s Deadly Streets” feature with its thinly disguised new series “Deadly Streets.” It features the continuing fallout of last week’s story about a minivan driver that jumped a curb and killed a mother in 2014, but only received a $1,000 fine from the courts. The province is under pressure from activists and victims’ families who want strict penalties applied. And Daniel Dale, who has been steadily fact-checking Donald Trump long after most journalists have thrown up their hands about it, is trying to make sense of what we are all in for with the incoming President Trump based on how the transition seems to be going (in short: he says stuff he doesn’t mean sometimes, he loves Russia, he hates SNL, he doesn’t need daily intel briefings because he’s…like…a smart person).

metro dec 13
Metro Toronto

Metro sees the Star‘s Deadly Streets cover and raises the ante with a banner proclaiming “The Metro Effect” with a claim that they have worked to make Toronto’s Deadly Streets Safer, listing off how this campaign has made a difference in 2016, influencing the city to make safety improvements to over a dozen dangerous intersections. Metro also gives prominence to yesterday’s commuter nightmare, with three separate fire incidents in the subway disrupting the morning rush hour. Metro warns it could happen again… May Warren also reports on a group of “guerilla hacktivists” at U of T who are working to archive crucial scientific and environmental data on the internet to stop this knowledge from going down the swirling black hole of the anticipated anti-climate-science Trump administration.

Toronto Sun

sun dec 13
The Sun leads today with a story about human trafficking, with the arrests made yesterday in three separate sex trafficking investigations. But the headlines are slightly confusing, proclaiming this an “epidemic” while the subheading quotes a cop who says this is all “business as usual”—not a characteristic state of an epidemic. And the Sun gets wacky up top with its coverage of the upcoming road tolls vote at council with Mayor John Tory’s head where the “o” in “Tolls” should be. This morning’s Sun cover doesn’t look like they put much thought into the layout, frankly.

This week’s winner: When it comes to coverage of Toronto’s Deadly Streets, Metro is the true Street Player, and wins the week with an eye-catching front page and major swagger. It looks like the paper has clinched this year’s Front Page Challenge with this victory, though the Sun has two weeks to close the gap.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Metro 17
Toronto Sun 14
Toronto Star 11
Globe and Mail 11
National Post 7

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