Reaction roundup: Michael Bryant is tarnished but still golden, according to Toronto’s newspapers

Reaction roundup: Michael Bryant is tarnished but still golden, according to Toronto’s newspapers

The end-game of Michael Bryant‘s legal troubles may not be the only story in town, but it is certainly dominating the front pages today, thanks in no small part to photos showing Darcy Allan Sheppard confronting other drivers in situations similar to Bryant’s terrible night last fall. Toronto’s big dailies all had a kick at the Bryant can this morning, publishing editorials and commentary that dealt with questions of justice, fairness and, of course, the social schisms that the Bryant affair has laid bare in Toronto. Here, a quick survey of the mediascape.

The Toronto Star says we saw “justice,” arguing that the system worked just as it should. Somewhat creepily, the paper argues near the end of its editorial that what happened to Bryant could happen to anyone, as if this wasn’t a story precisely because it’s such a freak occurrence.

Continuing in the Star, Rosie DiManno gives us a tick-tock of the night in question and is one of the few reporters to dwell a bit on Sheppard’s past with anything more than a mention of his drug and psychological problems, noting that the bike courier bounced around foster homes as a child.

The Globe and Mail‘s Christie Blatchford drops the F-bomb—well, the other F-bomb. Favouritism. While saying that the system got the right result, Blatch says, “Unless you were born yesterday, what Michael Bryant got by way of justice was not the ordinary sort, but the extra-fair sort.”

Meanwhile, the paper’s editorial board says with a flourish, “The poisoned arrow of wrongful accusation no longer points at an innocent man.”

The Post chimes in, echoing the other two papers in its sympathy for Bryant; the Post is self-conscious enough to note the irony of Canada’s conservative masthead going to bat for the once (and maybe future) Liberal star. Most amusing is the paper’s analysis that what the Bryant incident proves is that the divisions between east and west Toronto are so over: the real division is between north and south (of Bloor).

With the Star (south of Union Station, people) and the Post (at Don Mills and York Mills) in agreement that Bryant is exonerated, the city is probably not looking at a civil war any time soon.
• Justice in Michael Bryant case [Toronto Star]
• DiManno: The 28 seconds that changed Michael Bryant’s life [Toronto Star]
• For Michael Bryant, an extraordinary kind of justice [Globe and Mail]
• Michael Bryant: a good day for justice [Globe and Mail]
• Judge Bryant on his merits [National Post]
• Analysis: Bryant case highlights divide between south and north [National Post]