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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Toronto Star acts like the city's spurned lover when it comes to Rob Ford

A histrionic vendetta The Toronto Star mounted against Rob Ford has continued unabated since his campaign for mayor began in the spring of 2010.

The Star - Bitter about its sermons going unheeded
The visceral hatred for the fiscally conservative mayor festering in the Star's offices has an obsessive component that most closely resembles the way a spurned, bitter spouse might feel for an ex-mate's new lover. In a way that is what happened to The Star.

The Star is the largest circulation daily in the Toronto and the leftist politics of its editorial board has matched the tone of the city's political leadership for the last decade; even longer if one considers Toronto before its metropolitan amalgamation. The alignment was so close that the satraps of One Yonge Street deluded themselves into thinking it was their guidance that was the principle influence of the thinking of lesser humans who cast votes in elections.

Like an unexpected Dear John letter waiting for them when they returned home one day, Rob Ford's mayoral victory changed that for The Star, and they still haven't recovered from the shock.

Ford, whose cost-cutting efforts and suburban plain-speaking contrast with everything the Star stands for, has been the focus of more energy expended by the Star to discredit him than living memory recalls. And The Star's vindictive reports have descended past the point of frantic criticism to reporting cheap gossip, hearsay and slander as if it were news.

The Star lied about Ford having assaulted a High School football player, it has stalked him at his home, it has promoted virtually any allegation it could find, no matter how petty or discreditable, in its unrelenting drive to bring down the victor of the last election. It has even tried to bolster ridiculous people simply because they shared the Star's disdain for Ford.

The Star's pathological enmity for Ford exceeds anything in living memory from a media outlet, and has only served to discredit them as a news organization.

In a report today, following their now unraveling account of Ford having allegedly been drunk at a military ball, the Star printed another story that makes the Mayor's description of that newspaper being "pathological liars" ring true.

Trying to salvage their discredited report about Ford's alleged alcoholism, the Star today trudged out two of Ford's council enemies with accounts that can best be described as slander and hearsay. Making it all the more preposterous is that The Star implausibly tries to present them as Ford's friends who are concerned for his well being.

Sarah Doucette, a leftist councilor who was among only a handful to effectively support the fanatical anti-Israel group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in Council, is quoted as saying, I think it’s been known around City Hall for quite a while that he may have a drinking problem ... in some respects, I wish this had gotten out earlier, because if he needs help, please do it now.”

However, only later on in the article, is the admission that "Doucette said she hadn’t personally seen the mayor intoxicated"  which means, unsurprisingly, that she is pontificating about something about which she has no actual knowledge.

More dishonestly, The Star presents leftist councilor Joe Mihevc's apparently spiteful, amateur diagnosis of Ford's as being someone who is "friendly with the mayor."

The Star reported: pressed for specifics, Mihevc pointed to last summer’s Salsa on St. Clair street festival, where he said he witnessed Ford “walking with a little bit of a funny bounce, and slightly slurred speech … intoxicated... I don’t want this to be the focus of my comments. My comments, frankly, are: My sympathies go out to the mayor on this one."

During the last election, "Friendly Joe," a city councilor, seemed more alarmed at the prospect of Ford winning the mayoralty than Mihevc appeared concerned about his own ward campaign.

Among the hysteria he wrote about the conservative candidate were such gems as "Ford is not about spending money wisely. He is about cutting basic services that he hates. Wisdom has never been his forte." Another of Mihevc's tweets said, "Let today be the start of taking back our city from Rob Ford and those (sic) would destroy the good city we are trying to build."  With friends like that...

Apparently the shock of seeing someone having something to drink at a wildly popular street party offended the sensibilities of the Ward 21 councilor. It's too bad for the city that his overseeing a fiasco that cost Toronto's taxpayers three times its budgeted cost isn't the sort of thing that offends Mihevc.

The voters elected Rob Ford to be mayor in 2010, and not by a small margin either. He received almost as many votes as all of the other candidates combined. Torontonians resoundingly rejected The Star's anointed choices in favor of someone who promised to get spending under control.  Ford has kept his promises about city spending. But the spurned editors at the Star haven't been able to get over their defeat. They should learn to move on, because they are fighting a battle that is doing more damage to their own reputation than to the decent public servant they are obsessed with  destroying.

UPDATE:  Military Ball organizers pen open letter defending Ford


Anonymous said...

Ford has in fact done very little to control or reduce city spending. And you do yourself and your readers a great disservice by slagging the reporters at the Star instead of even considering the possibility that what they are reporting may in fact be the truth.

People often think that anonymous sources are anonymous to everyone. That is not the case, and in fact every serious guide to journalistic standards and practices tell reporters to discount any source who will not identify him/herself. That being said, the sources in the Garrison Ball story are anonymous only in the sense that the Star has agreed not to make their names public. Their identities are known to the reporters, to the Star's editors, and (no doubt) to the Star's legal department, which would not allow such a damaging report to be published without having a solid - if not bulletproof - defence against any defamation charge Ford may decide to file.

When you get right down to it, the very fact that Ford didn't immediately file suit against the Star lends some measure of credence to the stories. If and when some or all of the heretofore-anonymous sources identify themselves the public will be in a much better position to see the basis on which the allegations are being made.

Ford won the election; that much is true. That doesn't mean that he can rule by divine right. Ford is not Louis XIV or Canute; his mandate is not granted to him by the heavens. He beat Smitherman and Rossi and the other candidates, but he still puts his pants on one leg at a time. And I suspect he needs help to do even that.

I'll ask the same question I asked in another comment on another blog post: just what does Ford have to do - just how low does he have to sink - before Ford Nation finally says "enough"? When are you going to admit that cheering for this train-wreck of a man was ever a good idea?

Richard K said...

Clearly, like the worthless newspaper you admire, you're not up-to-date on your facts. Spending has flatlined in Toronto under Ford - the first time ever it's happened in the city. Even Toronto Life, no fan of Ford's, acknowledged that.

The pathetic obsession with Ford's personal life is typical of the intellectually and morally bankrupt special-interest mongers and would be"elites" who are obsessed with image over substance. I've heard lots of such idiots who are personally "embarrassed" because of Ford.

I'm sure they are, but only because they, like so many who write for The Toronto Star, are vapid and shallow.

And what would Ford have to do to get those who like him to turn against him? Easy. turn into David Miller or a similar panderer to special interests.

And his pissing off the people he does is making him more, not less beloved by the majority of the City's voters. The laugh is the Star still hasn't figured that out.