Sun Smears MPP

In today's paper, the Sun eludes to a shady double life for Davenport MPP Tony Ruprecht. With its front page headline "MPP's Other Life in Cuba", the Sun had me hooked to find out what crime, drug or sex-related activities our MPP was engaged in.

The catch? This article is a house of cards. In fact, this is the most ridiculous piece of journalism I've seen for some time. I can only guess that the Sun suspected something was up, ponied up the cash for all expenses paid trips for two Sun staffers; and then rather than cutting their losses, decided to run the story anyway even though the team of Christina Blizzard and Greg Henkenhaf failed to uncover anything substantial.

Among the findings that the Sun found so newsworthy:

* Ruprecht has visited Cuba five times in the last six months. (Why is this a crime? What if we substituted Cuba for Florida. It's a cheap sunny place not so far from Toronto.)
* He's been staying in "a ramshackle house a few metres from the beach in a seedy seaside town" near Havana. (I'm sorry, but not everyone has the bank account of Pierre Karl Peladeau. When is staying in cheap digs proof of some guilt?)
* The Sun questions Ruprecht's motives for going to Cuba to learn Spanish and Portuguese. (Yeah, we know Spanish is the official language on the island, but Blizzard seems to use this as a key fact to suggest that the MPP is lying and up to no good.)
* The author played private detective: "In three days that Henkenhaf and I observed the comings and goings at the house where Ruprecht stayed, we saw him emerge from it only once. He came out briefly, walked a few metres to the corner and then jogged back. We didn't see him go to the beach once. We also observed a number of men who appeared to be tourists entering and leaving the house. One of them came out for a short while to play ball with boys on the street." (What is this all about? It doesn't mean anything unless the Sun is insinuating that Ruprecht is exchanging sexual favors, cocaine or both.)
* And my favourite: "In Guanabo, Ruprecht is known to neighbours as "Anthony." (Message to the Sun: Tony is short for Anthony. It's the same name. By sticking this in quotation, the Sun makes it seems that the Davenport MPP has a double identity.)

I don't read the Sun often enough to know whether this is the "quality" of reporting the paper is famous for. And I'm not in a position to judge whether Tony Ruprecht is a good MPP or not. The only conclusion I can reasonably draw is that the Sun crossed the line and if I were Anthony I'd be getting my lawyer to hit up Sun Media for an apology and a big fat cheque.

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