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Reaction roundup: the best things said about Rob Ford’s worst week

If a mayoral candidate named Rob Ford has a Wednesday filled with such questions as “Is Rob Ford prejudiced?” and “How prejudiced is Rob Ford?” it’s safe to say it was a bad week. Then, when Thursday starts off with a press conference to announce exactly how many criminal charges the candidate has faced in his life, well, that goes from bad to terrible. Add in the fact that Ford’s misremembering of important details kept chumming the waters for the sharks in the press corps, and this is probably the worst week in Rob Ford’s political life so far. It’s not just Ford’s opponents who have been buzzing over the past 48 hours—the entire city is reacting. Here, our roundup of what was said across the city.

The Toronto Sun‘s editorial comes out hard against Ford, identifying a pattern involving this week’s events and the 2006 incident in which Ford was escorted from a hockey game (and then lied to the press about it). Sayeth the Sun, “We think voters deserve a mayor who tells the truth the first time.”

The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail go comparatively easy on Ford, focusing instead on the inaccuracy behind his remarks on immigrants. The Globe says that voters should not focus on the Florida drug and breathalyzer incidents, while the Star says, “By every measure—on policy matters, grasp of basic statistics, and even his tell-it-like-it-is reputation—Ford keeps falling short.”

A perceptive reader will note that the Star and Globe are going easier on Ford than the Sun, which broke the drug-charge story. Will Ford supporters reconsider their jihad against the Star and Globe? Judging by the comment threads, no. If anything, they’ve simply added the Sun to their enemy list. One commenter, writing under the name “How to be a Sun reporter,” says, “SUN papers applying Quebec Corp master plan to control election. Now class See how easy it is to write the TRUTH and say what you need to get a by line.”

Nobody does urban indignation better than the Star‘s Christopher Hume, and he doesn’t disappoint today, with about as much contempt for Ford’s supporters as for the man himself: “Spoken by any other politician, such sentiments would have been the kiss of death. For believers, however, it wasn’t racist cant, but Rob telling it like it is.”

Back at the Sun, Joe Warmington suggests that nothing short of murder would shake Ford’s supporters, and maybe not even that. We’re just going to let that sit.

At the National Post, Tasha Kheiriddin calls Ford “the Barack Obama of Toronto.” Except, presumably, white and heavy, with a patchy memory, a reputation for flying off the handle and a dislike of public spending.

Also at the Post, Chris Selley has the mother of all backhanded compliments, saying, “Clearly the quality of Mr. Ford’s name is largely beside the point—or he wouldn’t be where he is in the polls in the first place.”

Further afield on Twitter, the reaction was mainly one of 140-character humour:

• chriswoodpile asks, “Anyone else waiting for Rob Ford to yank the clip-on tie and say “I was drunk and high..of course my memory was fuzzy”?”

• lizzhatesme says, “I trust Rob Ford. I trust him to recklessly slash programs and move Toronto back to the 1950s.”

• And no less than Adam Giambrone, perhaps uncomfortable with the personal tack politics has taken in the city, meekly tweets, “I think people should focus on the politics of the candidates for mayor.”  No kidding, Adam?

• Rob Ford’s honesty in question: Editorial [Toronto Sun]
Rob Ford’s blind spots [Toronto Star]
• Unpacking Rob Ford’s claims [Globe and Mail]
Hume: Rob Ford is campaign’s main attraction and sideshow all in one [Toronto Star]
• Warmington: Nothing sticks to Teflon Ford [Toronto Sun]
• Tasha Kheiriddin: Rob Ford: the Barack Obama of Toronto [National Post]
• Chris Selley: Scandal won’t stop Ford, nor should it [National Post]

  • John

    I think the lying about charges against him or past actions is troubling but his comments on immigration were refreshing. Everyone in Canadian politics is afraid to tell the truth on immigration. There are good things about it and there are bad things about it. Rob Ford should have clarified that most of the millions of immigrants that the federal government will let in and pack into the toronto area over the next few decades will settle in the suburbs. That will still affect Toronto greatly because a huge percentage of people in the suburbs work and play in Toronto. Roads cutting through Toronto are used by millions of suburban people every week. Also as taxes rise in the suburban area to deal with the huge costs associated with doubling your population in less than a generation, there will be a push for toronto to pay its fair share. 905 residents pay more taxes than in Toronto for less services.

  • Christina Archer

    David Miller hasn’t made us so desperate that we would even consider a man like Mr. Ford. He seems to be a prime candidate- for a stroke. Please. Don’t vote for him.

  • George Kiebler

    Not saying that Ford has the cleanest past here, but if you really wanted to dig…you could find dirt on all of the candidates. Most of our politicians have made promises that were not kept to the letter…and I might not be all that wrong to say that all of them fit that statement. It’s so very obvious that Torontolife has a vendetta out against Rob Ford, and for what reason I do not understand.

    I think that one of the other mayoral candidates has a stake in Torontolife or has paid the editors a huge sum of money to drag Ford through the mud because in reality, they know that Rob Ford probably is the man for the job and is the one to beat. This is dirty politics. No one candidate should ever be the target of such attacks and if it were to occur, I would hope that every candidate gets the same treatment. Let’s be fair.

    Let’s see some journalistic and editoral integrity for a change, Torontolife.

  • Dee

    @George Kiebler: I suppose if needed, you’ll convince yourself that every single media outlet that covers Toronto has a vendetta out against Rob Ford.

    It’s not that the media has a vendetta out against him; it’s that the media is comprised of people who are literate enough to read and interpret the things the man has said in his career.

    The mere fact that he’s a leading candidate in the polls is an embarrassment for for our city.

  • George Kiebler

    @ Dee…

    Don’t you find it a bit unusual that every second article on the Informer section of Torontolife has had some negative spin against Ford? Yes…even to the extent of reaching…like that “Mohammed” piece. Being literate is one thing…being intelligent and responsible is another.

    I think that some media outlets have covered this election with more fact than opinion, and that is how the news and issues should be reported. You report on the facts and issues in a responsible, impartial manner…and the voting public decides.

    Torontolife, based on what I have read recently on this topic, is no worse than a blog run by a hipster foodie who’s trying to sound informed and controversial. It sure is controversial…but informed? Not so much.

  • Dee

    @George

    Point taken about Toronto Life. It’s not a valid source of news. It’s sensational garbage. I don’t follow it with any regularity, so I have no idea how often they slam Ford.

    One thing I am sure of, though, is that there’s lots to slam in Ford’s past and present. From what I can tell, he’s uninformed, he’s belligerent, he’s a loose cannon, and he’s a bigot.

    Whatever you believe is right, the whole notion that the media is capable of being responsible or impartial is unrealistic. It’s all biased. So long as they’re not making the stories up, they’re doing the same thing as everyone else.

    If we’re going to have to tolerate Rob Ford’s mayoralty–which, should it come to pass, will be more shameful than Mel Lastman’s–we should get used to the media lampooning him, because we’ll be in for years of it. Editorial cartoonists are licking their chops.

 

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