Exploiting a family’s grief


The family members of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan have a special insight into the pain of losing loved ones to early and violent deaths. For the most part, they don’t have a unique or penetrating understanding of Afghanistan or the NATO mission there.

This didn’t stop the Toronto Star from splashing a banner headline across Monday’s front page quoting the uncle Cpl. Thomas James Hamilton, who was killed on Saturday by a roadside bomb, calling the mission “a fight that can’t be won.” Hamilton’s mother released a statement saying that her son strongly believed in the mission and had volunteered for a third tour – something the Star duly buried in its story.

The headline on the Star’s web version of the story has been changed, which suggests the paper’s online editors have more class than the print ones.


Exploiting a family’s grief

  1. Does Aaron Wherry work at the Toronto Star too? Do you think he wrote the headline?
    Just asking.

  2. There seems to be more than enough material, in the form of direct quotations, to suggest the tone of the article adequately captured the sentiment of the family.

    The Afghanistan war has lasted longer then World War II. If we have clear objectives and are likely to achieve them, the government and the media are going to have to do a better job of demonstrating it. This would be a better use of time spent poo-pooing the notions of those who have just lost loved ones in combat.