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]