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Saturday, March 22, 2014

A British food critic gets a taste of Toronto news media's appalling behavior

I've been to City Hall during press scrums and if anyone wants to know why (one of the reasons) I'm so contemptuous of The Toronto Star's semi-literate reporters and the organization in general as well as most local media, they should check one out for themselves. You can't get anything like a real taste of it from watching it on TV, because the "journalists" and TV coverage makes sure to hide the egregious behaviour of the media. But it's truly astounding. While there are a handful of people who act professionally and with dignity, like Sun Media's Brain Dunstan, it's incredible watching these "media professionals" behave like angry, hysterical, autistic children in public. And then they have the temerity to accuse Rob Ford of bad behavior after their relentless efforts to provoke him, the overwhelming measure of which he stoically ignores.
...After ordering the hot dogs — Ford declined, saying he was watching his weight — the phalanx of media descended “and it was crazy,” Coren said.

“It was over the top, seriously. I’m British and the British press is famous for acting aggressively to land a story, but I’m going to be honest and say the press (around Ford) behaved abominably and were very aggressive, and, in my opinion, crossed a line to get (Ford) to react.”

The rush back to Ford’s offices was “unreal,” said Coren. “Apart from being a bit sweaty, he acted like nothing had actually happened and took what had just happened in stride.”

Coren was later “taken to task by some journalists, who chewed me out because I hadn’t asked him about the crack. I’m a restaurant critic, for goodness sake.”


Anonymous said...

Are you aware that Rob Ford does not speak to the media ever, besides the occasional off the cuff remark? If Ford would schedule media time and actually answer questions like any other politician, then the media wouldn't have to chase him around to get answers to questions. Questions like "Did Mr Lisi sell you drugs", "Did you order the jailhouse beating of Scott McIntyre", "Why are you still drinking when you said you would stop", "Why are you going out to nightclubs and getting drunk on weeknights when you have a wife & two children at home", etc etc etc.

Before trying to cast Ford as the victim (as he casts himself ad nauseum), perhaps you should gain a bit more perspective about what has happened during his tenure as mayor.

It would serve you better to have knowledge of past events, rather than to speak without knowing the full story.

Richard K said...

I'm probably much more aware of things than the last commenter, who courageously left it as an anonymous comment.

I'm disinclined to publish most anonymous comments these days, but I put up that one as an example of the type of vacuous reasoning utilized by the hysterics who hate Ford so much.

None of those questions relate directly to public policy. If any of Ford's behavior is criminal, then it is a police matter and he should be charged. But once Ford has made it clear he isn't going to answer a particular question, what type of logic then leads these media people to decide that acting like a petulant child throwing a temper tantrum is the way to deal with it?

Virginia said...

Would you talk to a bunch of morans like that? Why should he talk to them?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... "Are you aware that Rob Ford does not speak to the media ever, besides the occasional off the cuff remark? "

And are YOU aware that the reason Ford was burned by the media was the Toronto Star? I guess you do not remember the unsubstantiated smear piece they published on him almost four years ago, the one which stated Ford roughed-up players while coaching football? The story that has no basis in fact whatsoever?

Ford asked for an apology from the Star. They refused. He could have sued. He didn't. Instead, he said he wouldn't speak to the Star again. He hasn't. Stubborn? Yes. True to his word? Undoubtedly.

Running after Ford like a Komodo Dragon after a bleeding antelope has only served the media to make itself look more idiotic and amateurish than it already is.

Should Ford be more open to others in the media? Yes. Can I understand his frustration. Absolutely.

Maybe if the Star grows up and conducts itself like a professional news organization, things will improve.

David said...

It is the greatest get rich scheme for any would-be journalist in Toronto. Follow around Rob Ford until you can get a funny pic or he says something stupid and then sell it to the MSM for $$$!

Anonymous said...

Re media...try walking a day in Rob Ford's shoes (not 4 years) and see how well you fair. Does the media report on the good things he does for his constituents. Media should tell the "whole" story about Mayor Ford, but they seem bent on creating only negative press. Mayor Ford has a right to privacy...he has a right for his children to play outside in their own backyard without being photographed by reporters. He has a right to leave his home in the morning without having to make his way through reporters, to get to his car. He has a right to go to his office without the aid of security because of being accosted by reporters. Attempts to goad Ford into reactionary comments has failed so now they have to dream up issues and tell readers how to feel about it. The bias is so palpable it is pathetic. If after watching this form of canabalistic journalism you still believe media is reporting the whole truth, then you're living in a dream world. It looks like The National Enquirer has come to the "daily rag". Discernment when reading or watching the news has become necessary. If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything. Time to stop the abuse of power the media has and start questioning what we are being fed in the name of truth..

Unknown said...

You know, I'm pretty familiar with the term "stoic," and I have yet to see that term applied to running away and slamming photographers to the ground. And I'm a pretty diligent guy when it comes to language.

However, here's a key part of one your comments, Richard;

"If any of Ford's behavior is criminal, then it is a police matter and he should be charged. But once Ford has made it clear he isn't going to answer a particular question, what type of logic then leads these media people to decide that acting like a petulant child throwing a temper tantrum is the way to deal with it?"

Isn't the OPP investigating the gas plant scandal? Shouldn't the same logic apply, or is that only in favor of your guy?

And PLEASE don't tell me that if there was significant circumstantial evidence that a Liberal or NDP office holder was involved in extortion, conspiracy or obstruction of justice that you wouldn't be demanding an activist media.

This is a cynical (but rather clever) attempt by Ford to show just how hard done by he is. He chooses the day an explosive report comes out to take a walk through Nathan Phillips Square, knowing the media will pounce, which is why he had so much uniformed security with him, which he usually doesn't.

It's a stunt, just like dragging his wife through the press on International Pussy Eating Day was, when he could have just as easily taken her down the back stairs.

I will give Hizzoner credit for his spin on the Newtonbrook story. He's played it based on whether or not he hit a kid, as opposed to whether or not he got fired over losing his shit with a teenager, which even he hasn't argued against because he can't.

David, it seems to me that the easiest way for His Worship to shut down that business is to stop saying and doing incredibly stupid and self-destructive things.

That brings me to the greater point. In each and every circumstance, the author of Rob Ford's misfortune has been Rob Ford. Without exception.

Smitherman inoculated himself to drug stories by getting out in front of them and showing that they were in the past, before he was elected to anything. Ford repeatedly lied about his conduct during his tenure, compounding the initial problem and inviting the scrutiny he's getting now.

More importantly, Smitherman wasn't hip deep in association with violent criminals and using government resources to get mercy for them from the courts.

As for public policy, Rob Ford has used city staff, time, resources and money to

1)Enable his football fetish by a) Using city letterhead to solicit donations from lobbyists with business before the city. b)Have staff with him during coaching sessions during office hours. c)Divert TTC buses to drive his players around instead of arranging transportation himself.

2)Use city staff and resources to enable his penchant for getting fucked up by a)Having them buy him booze after he was photographed a few too many times at LCBO outlets. b) Babysitting him at the Bier Markt, the Taste of Danforth, ad just last weekend at City Hall when he was shithammered.

3) Involving city staff in the containment of the initial crack story. And that should be the most damaging aspect of l'affaiere Ford so far, but isn't because people are stupid.

And Richard? I'd be careful about saying that "I'm disinclined to publish most anonymous comments these days," while pretty regularly posting ones supportive of your guy.

Either post all of them, or none of them.

Richard K said...

Skippy, you can choose to run your blog as you like and I'll do the same for mine. You notice I do publish all of your comments, as redundant as they may be about Ford, because you are willing to identify yourself. I'll do that for anyone willing to put their name to what they say, as long as it doesn't libel someone or incite violence.

As to stoicism, like most of Ford's detractors, you seem to be basing your opinion on what local media chooses to use and tell you. It's like showing a report of a traffic accident and saying all the roads are death traps, when more than 99.9 per cent of people taking car trips arrive safely.

I've been to City Hall and seen these press scrums in person. Most of the time, when Ford is subjected to the outrageous, rude behavior from Toronto Star and other reporters, he is stone faced. Once in a while, after the relentless goading, they may prod him to a response and it's that they show, rather than the dignified way in which he usually comports himself at City Hall. It's understandable that, like the traffic accident, makes the news while the uneventful does not, but let's not pretend that the far less common occurrence is the norm, when it's not.

And let's not also pretend that the ideological hatred that most of the media in Toronto has for Ford hasn't resulted in a hysterical, unprecedented, vicious onslaught, from even before he was elected mayor, that is unprecedented in politics and media in Canada.

And by the way, you want to draw comparisons - what about Liberal higher-up Ben Levin who was charged with pedophilia offenses and is being defended by Ford persecutor and leftie activist Clayton Ruby? Kathleen Wynne's right-hand when she was Education Minister, the guy who shepherded in a curriculum of child sexualization, turns out to be an accused child molester and the media just let that go. Even with a publication ban on trial proceedings, there's no reason there shouldn't be a media investigation about that outside of what happened in court, which I gather isn't much. But no, that's not important at all. I haven't seen a single mention of that in the mainstream media in months.

Or much lately about the lying and corruption of Wynee's government, which has pissed away billions of public funds and is running a higher debt load higher than California's which has 5 times Ontario's population.

No, let's fixate on Rob Ford who is actually, despite his personal issues, trying to fix City hall, has done his utmost to keep civic spending in check.

So clearly you have your priorities and I have mine. If you want to have a non-stop freak out about Ford while massively bigger issues that will affect you in a far more serious way pass you by, be my guest. But don't expect me to join in.