How Toronto's Papers Covered the Quebec City Mosque Shooting
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered the Quebec City Mosque Shooting

Today, the dailies are all focused on one big story.

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

Front Page Challenge

A shocking wave of Islamophobia swept across North America in the last few days, partly kicked off by President Trump’s executive order banning travellers and refugees from seven specific Muslim-majority countries. The decision sparked legal challenges and massive protests at airports across the U.S. On Sunday night, Canadians watched a deadly attack on a mosque in Quebec City, where six people were killed and several others injured. Alexandre Bissonnette, known in Quebec City’s activist circles as an “online troll,” has been identified as the suspect in the attack. How are Toronto’s daily newspapers interpreting these terrible events?

globe jan 31
The Globe and Mail

The Globe provides a strong cover photo taken at last night’s vigil for the victims of the attack. Today’s cover is almost entirely devoted to the aftermath of the murders, including more details emerging about the suspect, a Laval University student with a history of online posts in support of extreme right-wing French nationalism. The Globe front also includes a feature on the lives of the six victims of the attack, as well as opinion pieces on how the shooting (and America’s new immigration policies) are changing “the debate over immigration, religion and identity.”

post jan 31
National Post

Kudos to the National Post for taking the unusual (for them) step of describing an alleged attack by a white nationalist on a Canadian mosque as an act of “terror” in their banner headline. Conservative newspapers often describe such incidents as the act of a “lone wolf,” not on behalf of any movement or ideology. Like the Globe, the Post devotes the entire front page to coverage of this attack, including profiles of the victims and of the accused killer. Andrew Coyne‘s column chastises the rush to judgment in the wake of this murder, from Islamophobic rumours that the killers were Muslim to the finger-pointing in the wake of the attack identifying anyone besides Bissonnette as a suspect—including President Trump and the button-pushing Conservative leadership campaign of Kellie Leitch.

star jan 31
Toronto Star

The Star places the front-page emphasis this morning on the faces and names of the six men killed in the rampage. Chantal Hébert’s column tears the Prime Minister a new one this morning, saying that especially in the wake of the White House linking Trump’s entry ban to the violence at the Quebec City mosque, Justin Trudeau’s silence on the matter beyond “Diversity is Our Strength” bromides is a woefully insufficient response. The column argues that Trudeau’s approach so far reveals the limits of Canada’s power to stand in the way of America’s new Islamophobic immigration policy, despite our country being well-positioned to do so. The Star is the only Toronto paper that devotes significant front-page space to the continuing American protests against Trump’s executive orders, with Daniel Dale reporting on what may be the new American way of life: daily protests that challenge not only Trump, but the Democrats. So far, the Dems have been, for the most part, going along with the new president’s cabinet picks.

Metro Toronto

metro jan 31
Metro‘s coverage doesn’t distinguish itself this morning the way one might expect from the paper with the most sympathy for activist movements and social justice. Instead of providing front-page coverage of, for example, the swelling crowd of protestors gathered in front of the American Consulate yesterday, they’re running the same Chantal Hébert column that’s also on the front page of the Toronto Star.

Toronto Sun

sun jan 31

Lone Wolf?” asks the Toronto Sun this morning in their coverage of the murders in Quebec City—but the question mark in the headline is basically superfluous. The Sun‘s subhead takes pains to point out that Bissonnette is “accused” of the crime, notes that he had “no links to terror,” and begrudgingly admits that he held “Islamophobic viewpoints.” Bissonnette’s Facebook profile has been reported to include statements supporting the National Front in France and the nationalism espoused by Trump, while decrying Muslim immigration. The Sun isn’t known for being this careful to give such benefit of the doubt for most people accused of terrorism. Elsewhere on the front page, the Sun is the paper that takes the dimmest view of the anti-Trump protest movement, even providing praise for Trump’s U.S. entry ban from “Trump Country,” with his supporters fully in support of his actions: “In their view, Democrats and liberal snowflakes and soft-hearted do-gooders just need to calm down. Trump is being Trump. ‘He’s going to do what he says and says what he does…that’s a little frightening for some people.’

This week’s winner: The paper with the most complete coverage of the Mosque attack (and the strongest front-page imagery) is the Globe and Mail.

frontpage_GLOBE (1)

Newspaper Number of Wins
National Post 2
Metro 1
Toronto Star 1
Globe and Mail 1
Toronto Sun 0

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