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Agenda-setting headlines

I am so tired of sensational headlines:

The Ontario Line will zip across the core and up to Eglinton, easing gridlock and alleviating TTC misery. It will also plow through peaceful Toronto neighbourhoods, displacing homes, businesses and everything in its path.

I know exactly what business model it is serving and why it is done, but I’ll ask the question anyway: Why do we need to make everything out to be a problem?

In this case, we’re talking about a new and important piece of city building infrastructure. A subway line that will run through the densest parts of this country and alleviate congestion at key interchanges, as well as broadly across the city.

It is something that we, as a city, have been griping about for many decades. And now, it is finally happening! Will it involve constructing things? Yes. Will it actually displace “everything in its path?” No.

But as we all know, this is the way media works today. They set the agenda (i.e. tell us what we should be terrified and/or pissed off about) and then they sell our attention. And an effective way to do that is to make sure that the headlines get us really worked up.


  1. JP

    Agreed on the theme of your post, Brandon. That said, I believe everyone needs to give “the media” blame label a rest — unless one is running for office, it seems. In this day and age (w/ SM), WE are all are the media.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find comments streeters/comments in the reports are often from Metrolinx itself (which is a bog standard and boilerplate one) or to the few residents along the corridor that have an issue with the OL (and often overblown and not quite honest either). So it gets framed as big bad Metrolinx versus these “poor people.” It’s not binary and its not at all representative of the views, even where the OL will be “plowing.”


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