Monday, May 17, 2010

Selective News at the Toronto Star

A May 8 email to Kathy English, Toronto Star apologist. No reply.

Dear Kathy English:

Your recent column Who decides what is news? inspires this letter.

You state, "Journalism is, by necessity, the art of selection, or deciding what matters and how to present that to audiences." You leave hanging the question "matters to whom?" Of course, it's what matters to the publisher, the editor, and the journalist.

Two cases in point. A week ago, the Star ran a front-page story about women who may have been abused by Catholic clergy. This past Saturday, you ran another front-page story speculating about a bishop you have been unable to locate.

The former story was based on anticipation of something that may not happen. Why you ran the latter story one can only speculate. To whom would Star anticipation and speculation matter? Each of these pieces was used to dredge up and re-print hoary stories. May I speculate that this fits into the Star agenda of never missing an opportunity to smear the Catholic Church? May I anticipate a righteous denial?

Let's be honest. Neither report is news, but an attempt to create news. Splashing non-news on the front page reveals much about the quality of Star reportage. It's only being realistic to state that newspapers publish only what they want the public to know.

A December 8 email to Kathy English. No reply.  

Every time someone smears swastikas on a synagogue, the Star give it coverage. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have not seen mention of the November 25 vandalism of the Nativity scene in front of old city hall. Why the difference?

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