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COX BLOC PRESENTS: Some Torontonians laugh at the Toronto Star

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William Alfonso is a lifelong Torontonian but he reads Peterborough This Week — and he says his 2-year-old son will, too. 

"My brother-in-law bought him a copy of the Toronto Star and I said, ‘That’s going in the bottom of the bird cage. That’s not going anywhere near his crib.’ I refused to have that near him. Sure his utter lack of critical-thinking skills make him part of the Star’s target audience, but my son is a winner — not a loser," Alfonso said.   

The Star used to be a winner. The paper is still the most highly read daily paper in all of Canada but circulation numbers are down nearly 33% over the last five years. 

While the Star’s readers hold on to the futile hope that their newspaper can regain relevance, another group plan to celebrate the Star’s continued decline – a decline which was most recently on display during last year’s mayoral election in Toronto. 

"It’s such a garbage organization. It’s not worth the paper it is printed on," said Alfonso, who was born and raised in Etobicoke. "I see them as a joke. Their inept cheerleading while acting as George Smitherman’s propaganda wing actually created so much sympathy for Rob Ford that we now have a rube who wants to take us back to the 1950s running the city. Way to go, dicks." 

Daniel Davis has been a Northumberland Today fan all his 29 years, even though he grew up in Caledon, just north of Toronto. 

"It’s easy to make fun of the Star," Davis said. "I mean, Ernest fucking Hemingway used to write for that paper. Now someone just has to interview some obnoxious frontrunners, copy and paste some quotes from Twitter and Facebook, and they have call that a story. Must be nice getting to the pub by noon." 

How does David Hebner feel about the Star? Well let’s just say that Hebner wished death upon all the staff at the paper. We’ve chosen not to publish his comment because we actually have some editorial standards around here at PPP. 

Hebner has been living in Toronto for 16 years but his allegiance lies with his hometown paper, the Montreal Gazette. He sits in the over-19 section at Schuey’s Bar & Grill in Etobicoke — Star readers have their own section, too, complete with complimentary crayons and place-mats with mazes and puzzles on them — and looks forward to a Star-free world. 

"Their numbers are dwindling, and that obviously has a lot to do with the amount of other options out there. I get my news and sports info mostly from blogs now. I know the Star has developed an online presence, but if their answer to the internet is to have Rosie DiManno auditioning for a job at World Net Daily by writing crazy racist shit about Chinese People, well I think they are doomed." 

Toronto-born Nick Patrick used to read the Star — "I didn’t know any better" — but now he reads the Toronto Sun. The 51-year-old bet a friend a home-cooked meal that Pat Burns was still alive after the Star had posted news of his death on Twitter. "It was an easy win," he says. "When the Star prints something, especially the sports department, it’s usually best to believe the opposite." 

For our final piece of evidence, we’re going to the Twitter. Because, you know, cribbing tweets written by randoms on an uncensored and unverifiable medium is what passes for journalism these days. So, here are some tweets:

"Can’t wait for (Tuesday)'s edition of the Star. I'm house-training a puppy," wrote @oufawcett.

"Does Toronto even have an decrepit, failing quasi-left-wing newspaper?" wrote @leakyorlando

"Being a Star reader is good for you. Every time a Liberal candidate you supported turns out to be a craven hack with no principles beyond getting elected,  you’re allowed to have a good long cry in public," wrote @chriscorgan.

"Toronto citizens who have long waited for a quality broadsheet, read the New York Times online — you’ll be happier," wrote @kfalokagas. 

Charles Robinson moved to Toronto from Windsor 30 years ago but said he’ll never be a Star reader. Still, he said the newspaper's slide into self-parody is disappointing. 

"I'm a believer in Thomas Jefferson's maxim that "The press is the best instrument for improving the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral, and social being"" Robinson said. "For me, the Toronto Star's trolling of its readership in a desperate attempt for attention is ridiculous. Also, Damien Cox."