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Reaction Roundup: a few sane arguments (in a whole sea of crazy) about Rob Ford’s backyard showdown

(Image: Christopher Drost)

The strange tale of Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale’s altercation with Rob Ford keeps escalating (as does our vicarious embarrassment for all the involved parties). Newspapers are drawing up comprehensive maps of Ford’s Etobicoke neighbourhood. Questions are swirling about whether the infamous cinder blocks were moved (and whether Dale could, in fact, balance on them). Speculation abounds over what could have happened if Ontario had a “Stand your ground” law like Florida, and why mysterious phone calls were made from the phone after Dale ditched it.

The Toronto Star is clearly loving the attention—at last count, it has run a bazillion stories on the dust-up. But Ford is also trying to benefit from the incident; since the mayor refused to release the security video that could  show what really happened at the fence, columnists have suggested Ford’s using the altercation as a chance to play the victim for political gain. Even worse, the mayor threatened a full media blackout if the Toronto Star sends Dale to report on city hall (on World Press Freedom Day, no less). Now that Dale and Ford have become Twitter trends and Toronto is being ridiculed in cities near and far, we combed through the countless op-eds to see if anyone could cut through the crazy and make some sensible arguments about the affair.

Thank goodness, there were a few:

• Now Magazine has never been a huge fan of Ford, but Joshua Errett made the obvious point that having someone hanging out near a wooded area at dusk would spark defensive behaviour in anyone (never mind someone who’s had home security problems in the past). Breaking the argument against Dale’s behaviour into four points, Errett believes the reporter could have prevented the whole drama by taking a more “professional approach,” including letting the mayor’s handlers know in advance and sending a photographer to take photographs in bright daylight (that tends to produce better pictures than ones taken with a Blackberry in the evening).

• That said, the mayor acted like a bully, says The Grid’s Edward Keenan. The mayor knew Dale from their interactions at city hall and “would have known that Dale was doing nothing more menacing than reporting a story.” Ford wasn’t motivated by fear, Keenan argues: “He was not under the impression Dale posed any threat. It is anger we are talking about, and the aggressive expression of that anger.” Keenand believes the whole hysterical aftermath was a PR strategy in which the mayor played the victim, rather than the aggressor because Ford “is most loved by the people who will love him and vote for him when it appears he is the victim of bullying.”

• Finally, in the National Post, Matt Gurney argues that Ford is going “to keep blowing his top” so he should finally agree to a security detail. Had he had one on Wednesday night, everything would have unfolded differently: Dale would have answered a few awkward questions from a cop and “that would have been it. No confrontation, no equipment discarded in terror, no media freakout.”

• Rob Ford versus Daniel Dale [Now Magazine]
• Send in the clowns [The Grid]
• Matt Gurney: Get Rob Ford a security detail already. For everyone’s sake [National Post]

  • Thomas

    Anyone else getting tired of Ford’s incessant use of “my wife and kids” as a cover every time there’s controversy?

    Ford: “I need to appropriate a chunk of parkland so I can build a better fence to protect my wife and kids.”
    Translation: “The value of my home is going to skyrocket once I double my lot size.”

    Ford: “I’ve got a wife and kids to protect.”
    Translation: “I have poor socialization skills and anger management issues, so I called 9-1-1 on a CBC prankster, and verbally assaulted a Star reporter who’s half my weight.”

    I guess in FordNation, it’s okay to use your loved ones as political currency.

  • gravy

    Where were his family protection skills when his wife charged him with domestic assault in 2008?

  • Go Big Or Go To EtobiCoke

    I still want to know why the park land behind his house looks like a trailer park. He should clean up the cinder blocks and the twigs and branches he’s stacked against his fence.

  • Paul

    He refers to himself as over 300lbs of fun, its no longer fun. This is the Mayor of canada’s biggest city, how disgusting indeed. Can there not be a referendum to vote this bozo away to the Zoo ?!!!

  • yoda

    Daniel Dale will be proven to be a liar when all is said and done, skulking around at dusk taking pictures with a Blackberry no less. Should have used an I-Phone dude don’t you know RIM is in the toilet.

  • iSkyscraper

    Enough with the blackberry and photos — he’s a reporter, not a photog, and obviously was just snapping a couple shots for his notes. (The newspaper was no doubt planning to run a graphic, not a photo). The only conspiracy here is how the good citizens of Toronto could elect a mayor so stupid, so uneducated, so thuggish as to make the city an international laughingstock (see recent articles in BBC, WSJ, etc.)

  • Jeff Holmes

    Rob Ford is one man acting badly
    The Star is an entire organization acting badly
    A professional organization would have heads rolling

  • peachy

    time to have him sectioned

  • Glenn Zembal

    Enjoy all you Haters!!!

  • Glenn Zembal

    Daniel Dale was Exhibiting the same behaviour as a Pedophile, Stalker or Peeping Tom. He should be charged!! Have a great day!!