Media spin on Danforth shooting is troubling

(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

July 26, 2018

The world learned on Wednesday morning that the Islamic State took responsibility for the Danforth shooting that left two dead and 13 injured.

Canadians could be forgiven, however, for not knowing that the deranged Islamist death cult claimed to have had a hand in the Toronto massacre. Most Canadian media outlets decided to ignore the news altogether.

When I checked the news early on Wednesday morning, the story had been covered by U.K.-based Reuters, the Jerusalem Post in Israel, the South China Morning Post and the Toronto Sun. No other Canadian mentions.

When Canadian media outlets covered this revelation hours later, they added their own editorial spin. Global News posted a distorted article about why the ISIS claims shouldn’t be taken seriously.

The article quoted two academics who basically say the exact same thing — ISIS is desperate and claims responsibility for everything these days — and didn’t provide the other side of the story.

Rukmini Callimachi of the New York Times, by contrast, notes that the wording of the ISIS claim implies that the Toronto shooter was “self-radicalized” but adhering to ISIS calls for violence.

“The shooter is described as “a soldier of the Islamic State” and they say he responded to “the call” to target citizens of Coalition countries,” she said on Twitter.

Reports from the Sun and CBS that quote police sources suggesting the shooter had an online interest in ISIS.

Other media outlets spun this story by quoting Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, who said “we have no evidence to support these claims” — a vague statement likely referring to an ISIS-directed attack, rather than an ISIS-inspired one.

Saunders, however, went on to say “we will continue to explore every investigative avenue including those who knew Mr. Hussain, his online activity, and looking into his experiences with mental health.”

In other words, Toronto police have not ruled out jihadist extremism as the motive, hence why Toronto police are reviewing “his online activity.”

This is just the latest example of the Canadian media deliberately torquing this story.

On Monday, after the police released the name of the shooter, the CBC instantly released a statement it said came from the killer’s family.

But as reported by the Sun’s Anthony Furey, the statement was provided by a left-wing political activist known for creating “talking points and media advocacy” around the issue of Muslims in Canada. The polished statement read like a PR stunt — because it was.

Why didn’t the CBC tell Canadians the truth — that the statement claiming the shooter had a long history of mental illness was provided by an activist with a political agenda?

This, in a nutshell, is why public trust in the media is at an all time low.

Journalists in this country are deliberately spinning the news. They have their own agenda and don’t want Canadians to know the truth — in this case, that police are still probing whether or not the shooter was indeed motivated by his Islamic faith.

Instead, media outlets across the country downplay ties to terrorism, while frantically pushing an unverified claim about mental illness.

A cold-hearted thug walked through a Toronto neighbourhood and opened fire at innocent civilians enjoying a warm summer evening. He murdered a 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old young woman. He deserves our scorn, not our sympathy.

And yet, Canadian media outlets are going out of their way to paint him as a victim. This is an insult to all Canadians, especially the victims...(READ MORE)