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May 5, 2011

Yellow journalism at Sun media

The Canadian Charger

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When the Toronto Sun "broke" the story that Jack Layton was found lying naked on a bed by Toronto Police, at a suspected Chinatown bawdy house in 1996, Canadians got some idea of what the Toronto Sun considers a big news story.

The newspaper wrote:

“The stunning revelation about the current leader of the New Democratic Party comes days before the federal election at a time when his popularity is soaring.

When the policeman and his partner walked into a second-floor room at the Toronto massage parlour, they saw an attractive 5-foot-10 Asian woman who was in her mid-20s and the married, then-Metro councillor, lying on his back in bed.”

Give the newspaper credit for knowing that anything suggestive of sex is bound to grab the attention of its readers - especially its small c conservative readership - and why not throw in a description of a tall, attractive young Asian woman for added stimulation?

On the Friday evening before the Monday election, in keeping with its promise of “Straight Talk and Hard News,” Sun TV ran this story almost non-stop for hours. It was reminiscent of the coverage of the Kennedy assassination, the chief difference being that Sun media's coverage was character assassination.

Nonetheless, Sun TV made progress in its attempt to emulate U.S. Fox News, with sensational, politically motivated coverage, replete with misrepresentations; all the while claiming to be “fair and balanced” while its competitors aren't.

By comparing the Toronto Sun's – the newspaper for Sun TV's parent company – coverage of the story, with the other major newspapers, readers can decide for themselves what is “fair and balanced.”

The cover of the Saturday Sun was a picture of Mr. Layton and the words “Bawdy Politic'”, while the National Post and the Globe and Mail didn't see it as a headline story at all, mentioning it briefly in the middle of the paper.

Soon after the Sun network broke the story, some commentators were asking about its source – the timing of the story being suspect as it was published two days before the election, maximizing hoped for impact on the NDP's surging campaign.

When Kathryn Blaze Carlson wrote in the Monday edition of the National Post that the story is similar to allegations made to the National Post by a senior Liberal campaign operative two days before the 2008 election campaign, the timing of the story became even more suspicious. Although the National Post didn't publish a story because it couldn't substantiate it, this story wasn't just discovered two days before the election by excellent investigative work on the part of a Toronto Sun reporter, as Sun TV was leading viewers to believe for the better part of its Friday night telecast.

Moreover, Mr. Layton is not the one being investigated for wrongdoing, nor was he ever. At the time of the 1996 incident, Toronto police advised him that he'd done nothing wrong. Now, however, Toronto police are not so sure about their own officers' conduct in this matter.

On Saturday, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair asked the OPP to launch a criminal breach of trust investigation following the Sun's story on Mr. Layton, which was attributed to an unnamed ex-policeman's notes.

On Monday, the Sun reported that Toronto Police are now investigating each of its officers who were involved with the investigation of massage parlours at that time, to find out who leaked the information.

The Sunday Toronto Sun included an endorsement of Stephen Harper in the election, even stating that Mr. Harper needs a clear majority to make the changes this country desperately needs.

Subsequently, the Sun warned readers about the alleged “destructive path” Michael Ignatieff or Jack Layton will take, while lamenting that “Making the hard decisions for the good of the country is not in their genes. But it should be in Mr. Harper's.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Harper was so concerned about the NDP surge in popularity during the campaign that he spent the last weekend of the campaign pleading with Liberal voters to vote Conservative to stop Jack Layton. He must have felt that the Sun media story simply wasn't enough to change Canadian's minds about who to vote for.

Here are the major recent advertisers at the Toronto Sun: Panasonic Theatre, Genesis Coupe (Hyundai), International Pools and Spa Centres, Bad Boy Superstores, Honest Eds, Ambrosia Natural Foods, The Sleep Factory, Furnace King, Apartment Hotel Montreal, Home Again Inc., Canadian Men's Clinic, Big Al's Canada (Aquarium), Delta Markham Hotel, Singer, Kwinter personal injury lawyers, Lasik MD Vision, Scarsview Chrysler, Comwave (long distance telephoning), Great Blue Heron Casino, Car-Mart , Target Furniture, Active Green & Ross, Meadow Ford, Tom's Place Warehouse (clothing), Clublink (golf), Pro-line (OLG), Toronto Rock (Lacrosse), Mandarin (restaurants), Black Creek Festival (music), CMT Music Festival, Medieval Times (dinner and tournament), Oil Changers, Duty of a Cop: Book by Julian Fantino, Book: The Collected Works of Max Haines, Walt Disney World Resort, Agawa Canyon train tour, Nova Travel Toronto, The Oakes Hotel, Woodland Estate Cottage Resorts, Michael's Inn Niagara Falls, Sheraton on the Falls, Nissan.ca, Mazda, GMC, Yonge– Steeles Ford Lincoln 3 ads, KIA, Porter welcome s Air Canada back to Toronto City Airport, Leon's Furniture booklet inside, E-Z line International sports betting, Yonge– Steeles Ford Lincoln 3 ads, Porter welcome s Air Canada back to Toronto City Airport, New Ford Toronto, Anaca Inc. Internet service, Chrysler.ca, Wallace Chev, Gateway Chevrolet, Mobilicity.ca cell phone service, Hogam Chev, Heart and Stroke lottery an add and a booklet insert, Royal Distributing, Kevin Hatcher & Associates Trustee in Bankruptcy, Runanek & Co. Consumer proposals and trustee in bankruptcy, Just Hockey Source, Bermanis, Preyra personal injury lawyers, Whiskey A go-go  bar, Colombo Chrysler, Good Year Tire, Comware long-distance calling, E-Z line International sports betting, Car-Mart lease to own, Toronto & Area Hyundai dealers, Sun News Network, Meadowvale Ford, Cupid boutique, MacDonald's, Info Festival Bell rock concerts, Tin yurt movie house, East Court Food Lincoln 2 ads, Scarborough Mazda, Hyundai Canada.

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