If you’ve been following the news the past couple of days, and travel in or keenly observe social justice circles, it’s likely you’ve seen the Toronto Star’s story about federal government tracking of protest movements. The headline of the Toronto Star’s provocatively titled story Ottawa admits to tracking hundreds of protests suggests the possibility the government was previously lying or hiding the truth- or, perhaps, staff writer Alex Boutilier beat it out of Stephen Harper with a tightly rolled Saturday edition?
The photograph selected for this article is brilliant as the clickbait in the headline. At first glance, the crowd’s energy gives no reason to assume they’re worthy of being tracked; only a wildly oppressive government would follow the movements of the churchgoers, soccer moms and Nascar dads who showed-up (on the surface that is). Next there’s the thinly veiled implication that the government is spying on it’s own constituency- the pro-choice movement is more closely aligned with the Conservatives than the NDP or Liberals (and the movement had a history of violence by a minority of extremists).
But all that’s just nitpicking, and there’s no evidence of intent, right? Of course, one can’t judge a story on headline and photograph alone- the real test is understanding the meat of the content. The meat in this story, the author’s follow-up, and a spin-off story from CBC Hamilton is so rotten it leaves the reader longing for a quality meal at a Shanghai KFC.