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New campaign targets The Toronto Sun's advertisers

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New campaign targets The Toronto Sun's advertisers

BY ANDREA HOUSTON - Perhaps the best way to fight the Toronto Sun is to hit them where it hurts: their income.

Toronto activist Justin Beach thinks so. That's why he has launched Operation Sunset, a new campaign aimed at shining some light on the Sun's role in helping spread hate.

Beach is asking people to send a message to The Sun by not supporting its advertisers. Consider shopping at stores other than The Bay or HMV this holiday season. Go to Mr. Sub instead of Subway.

Over the next few weeks, Beach will be periodically publishing the names of Sun advertisers on the website. The first batch includes The Bay, Porter Airlines, Subway, HMV and Ontario Energy Group.

"Advertising is where The Sun earns its money," he says. "Also, The Sun supports the Ford administration that is trying to close libraries, parks, reduce service on the TTC and lay-off public workers.

"It seems irresponsible for Toronto companies to continue to support a paper that wants to seriously damage the standard of living."

The campaign is targeted at the Toronto Sun, which Beach describes as a "a right-wing propaganda machine," as opposed to the Sun News Network, which everyone everywhere describes as a right-wing propaganda machine.

Toronto Sun publisher Mike Power could not be reached for comment.

The Sun pulled out of the Ontario Press Council in July. At the time, John Honderich — a former publisher of the Star and the current chair of Torstar's board of directors — called the decision “most disturbing,” adding “Sun Media will abide by its own standards of journalism and not be accountable to anyone.”

In October, the Toronto Sun refused to apologize for running an ad in its Oct 2 edition that activists have called transphobic.

The ad, from the Institute for Canadian Values, is a slightly modified version of a full-page ad that ran in the National Post on Sept 24 and Sept 28. Following a social media outcry, the National Post issued an apology and stated that the proceeds from the ad sale would be donated to a queer charitable organization. 

A version of the advertisement subsequently ran for weeks on Sun TV.

Then this month, Chris Bolton, the chair of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) announced he plans to file a formal complaint against Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party and Sun Media over homophobic campaign flyers that were distributed during the provincial election and a transphobic television ad campaign that aired for three weeks following it. 

Media companies should realize there are consequences for what they do, says Beach. "It's important for people to realize that where you choose to do business is a form of democracy." 

Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter


Follow Xtra reporter Andrea Houston on Twitter at @dreahouston

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I used to be suggested this
I used to be suggested this web site via my cousin. I'm no longer certain whether or not this put up is written via him as no one else recognise such distinct approximately my problem. You're wonderful! Thanks!
All the more reason for me to
All the more reason for me to patronize the companies that DO advertize in the Sun.

Loons like Mr. Beach should go get a life.
To Jessie: Reporters are not
To Jessie: Reporters are not told what to write, but they are assigned to specific stories. And the paper publishes opinion pieces that challenge the editorial stance. However, the newsroom has shrunk considerably over the years, and that's had its effect. Without naming anyone, the paper still has gays on staff, both as writers and elsewhere. There were many more in the past, but then there were many more of us altogether.

What has happened to the newspaper business over the last decade or so has had a profound effect on the "business model." You are right, papers now play to their audiences, or their perceived audience, or they attempt to carve out an audience that they want to make exclusively theirs. That's the reality of media in the Internet world.
Michael Coren etc. are not
Michael Coren etc. are not reporters. They`re columnists and there's a difference. They're voicing their opinions, however vile. But they're not reporting or writing as journalists. I still don't agree with people like Coren and fossil Peter Worthington who've both said things like gay pride in Toronto is a celebration of things we should be ashamed of. I don't see the value in printing these same voices over and over again -- although Worthington is one of the founders. Most of the journalists and editors there know better, but they're playing to their audience. The quality of most opinion pieces (especially after they turfed rational editor Rob Granatstein) in the Sun is terrible -- full of regurgitated, unsourced nonsense and outright lies from Fox News. Columnists who disagree with Worthington and the Sun stance on some issues, like Granatstein and Don Wanagas (for criticizing Mel Lastman, a puppet of Sun, and now National Post, publisher Paul Godfrey) were fired and the attitude among Sun middle management is "you write what you're told to."

There's at least one openly gay reporter, Kevin Connor, who still works for the Toronto Sun, although they laid off a few, including talented reporter Jason Tchir, years ago. The Sun's news stories (not the columns) used to be fair -- reporters weren't told what story they should be writing. I wonder if that's still the case...
"The Toronto Sun hires an
"The Toronto Sun hires an overwhelming, higher percentage of anti-gay reporters than any other media group in Canada." Unless you know all the reporters hired all over Canada I don't see how you could know this. I'm sure the Catholic Register has a pretty large percentage of anti-gays on its staff. I DO understand your point, though.

In any case, I'm not debating the relative merits of the Sun as it relates to other media. I'm saying that the Sun is a legitimate voice that speaks for many (not me) and however vile and reprehensible you find that voice to be, in a country that celebrates free speech it has the same right to speak as any other. To reiterate, I have no issue with a campaign against the Sun — that's Mr. Beach's right — but to say you're going to silence a voice in the name of free speech, to claim that higher purpose, is hypocritical.
The Toronto Sun hires an
The Toronto Sun hires an overwhelming, higher percentage of anti-gay reporters than any other media group in Canada. From Ezra Levant to Michael Coren. Other Canadian media does indeed operate on higher moral ground than SUN Media and that should be noted.
I work for the Sun and have
I work for the Sun and have no opinion on Mr. Beach's campaign. Any reader of the Sun is entitled to respond to it in any legal way they choose, and if that means targeting advertisers then so be it.

However, what I DO have an opinion on is Mr. Beach's wrapping himself and his campaign in the higher moral cloak of "free speech." Shutting down the Sun would be, in his mind, a victory for free speech. I find this stance hypocritical. Mr. Beach is such a champion of free speech, in fact, that he has barred me from commenting on both his Operation Sunset blog and the Facebook page associated with it — which are both public sites by the way, although moderated by him. In effect he has not only refused my right of comment, but by barring me effectively "controlled" the right of other commenters to debate with me.

My comments, by the way, though blunt, were not immoderate. The tone was what you read here now.

As I say, his right to campaign against my employer is not an issue with me, but his claim to the higher moral ground is bogus and hypocritical.
I have stopped reading The
I have stopped reading The Sun completely. We used to have it delivered on Sundays for the Sports section, but much to my husbands dismay, we couldn't justify supporting them even the one day of the week.

When I cancelled I phoned them and told them why: if I wanted to read a tabloid full of untruths and fiction I'd buy the Enquirer, and I would not and could not support their uber right wing, homophobic, racist editorial stance.

It's little but if more people did it.........
GOOD STUFF!. The Gay community should have gone after the SUN Media advertisers years ago. Glad to see it, long overdue. Where can I send a cheque?
The article states that (1)
The article states that (1) The Sun pulled out of the Ontario Press Council in July and (2) a competitor called that decision “most disturbing,” adding “Sun Media will abide by its own standards of journalism and not be accountable to anyone.” In this respect, The Sun is now like Xtra (which is also not a member of the Ontario Press Council and is similarly not accountable). The Sun and Xtra are just inverse versions of each other (i.e., right-wing social conservatives vs. left-wing LGBT activists).


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