There’s something that makes me uncomfortable about the Toronto Star’s relationship with the city’s community of radicals. I noticed this the day I arrived in Toronto when they published a hit piece on an Occupier who they labelled as a Member of the 1%. The article caught my attention because something didn’t quite feel right about it- so I did some research online and was rather shocked with what I found.
I found that Antonin, the subject of the article, had a history of standing-up against the Black Bloc at the University of Toronto in his role as head of the French Club there. What I learned reminded me of my personal experience dealing with Occupy Toronto’s violence supporting radicals, and those in Vancouver. Inevitably, they will try to make their opponent’s lives a living hell.
I spoke with some Occupiers who had inside knowledge of how this article came to be, and I was truly shocked. Apparently, some of the people in Occupy’s inner-circle brought the story to a ‘friendly’ reporter with the intention of causing Antonin public embarrassment. It was important to him that his name was not made public- the article killed that for him. During the Interview, the Star agreed with Antonin not to publish his last name- but, they did anyhow.
Now, I’m in no position to judge whether the reporter was knowledgeable of the background on why the Occupiers wanted this article published- but, at the minimum, they most certainly were duped. The Toronto Star was used as a blunt weapon against Antonin, and the article caused he and his family some harm.
Today I found an even more disturbing example of the Star promoting the cause of violent radicals- this time, one that helped contribute to the deification of a convicted G20 prisoner. Alex Hundert was a ringleader during the G20, he helped guide Black Bloc anarchists through the planning for one of the city’s most shameful moments on the world stage. Alex drew-up a list of buildings to attack and coached & helped prepare the vandals for a day that will take Toronto a long time to forget.
The article is entitled Why Toronto West Detention Centre inmates can’t read library books, and it covers an important issue. Apparently, due to previous budget cuts, and a lack of volunteers, the prison is unable to distribute books to their prisoners. The story shocked me on two levels.
First, for a city that takes so much pride in its libraries, it seems rather shameful the hear that we aren’t distributing books to people in jails. Its my understanding that it is common for jails to distribute books, and it makes a lot of sense to do so- for both humanitarian reasons, and as a distraction to keep prisoners from getting into trouble. This seems to be a no-brainer.
The second thing that shocked me was when the story mentioned that there are plenty of Bibles and Korans. It seems to me as a bit hypocritical that religious organizations are distributing their own literature, but none of them are volunteering to help with the library. The people who are doing this need to take a long hard look at their ethics.
So, the basis of the Star’s article is a good one- the story needed to get out. What concerns me though, is how they help promote Alex Hundert as a prison activist. Hundert had only been in jail for two weeks, and they were still helping to make him famous. What’s up with that?
There are many impressionable young people out in the community who misguidedly look at Hundert as a role model. Articles like this only help build this illusion and help Hundert build a more determined following. The court was trying to make an example out of Hundert by giving him a long sentence, and the Toronto Star countered this message with their article.
Wouldn’t it have been a more responsible choice to not mention Hundert in the article? Sure, by adding him, they increase their readership- but, they are doing us all a great disservice at the same time. This is, at best, shameless- at worst, they are helping to contribute to Toronto’s problem with Black Bloc criminals.
Let’s hope that they learn from this experience, and avoid making such mistakes in the future….