As an undeniable Torontonian, I have always had a special place for the Toronto Star. Sure, I have worked for the Globe and Mail, written for the long-dead Toronto Telegram but my oracle was the Star. As Canada’s Numero Uno daily newspaper, it has been my lynch pin with my country and my principles. The Star ran a eulogy for the Atkinson Principles at the beginning of August in the form of a full-page advertisement for the paper.
With the headline: Different times. It also went on to try to embrace “Enduring truths.” These are truths that the owners of the Toronto Star for the past 50 years have now abandoned. They are also my truths:
- A strong, united and independent Canada. (We need to keep working on that one.)
- Social Justice. (An ongoing battle.)
- Individual and civil liberties. (For all.)
- Community and civic engagement. (And always check both sides of arguments.)
- The rights of working people. (Make that all people.)
- The necessary role of government. (Not too big and not too small, it has to be just right.)
But will the new owners respect these more than a century-old truths? Why would they? These people are in the money game. They are players, not journalists. They are gambling on the potential for profit from a precious commodity, information. And information is only as good as its source.
I feel the five families who rescued Joe Atkinson’s legacy over 50 years ago have let us down. They have ended their struggle to keep the legacy alive. Their intent was honourable but, in the end, they have failed us.
We can look at what Paul Godfrey and his American friends have done to PostMedia for their own ends and wonder how long the new owners of the Star will try to work within the Atkinson legacy.
Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry
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