[URBAN NOTE] Three links on Rob Ford’s Daniel Dale incident
It’s rather impressive that Rob Ford’s political career is fast approaching a point where a possible deposition from his position for violating provincial conflict of interest legislation this September coming will be a relatively dignified ending to the career. The news of his encounter with Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale outside of Ford’s home, where Dale–investigating reports that Ford was interested in buying city-owned property–was confronted by an angry, yelling, running Rob Ford and forced to leave, leaving his phone and camera behind.
I understand that Ford may have felt he was being spied on, and that he’s fully entitled to his privacy. That being said, if you want someone to get off your land, there are better ways to go about it instead of charging gung-ho at a guy whose only weapon is a cell phone. What, are you afraid he’s going to slowly radiate your brain to death?
This isn’t about Ford’s ideology, or his point of view, or anything other than the fact that this kind of conduct is not becoming of a representative of Toronto. I don’t think highly of Ford as a mayor, and it has less to do with his politics, and more to do with his willingness to put himself in these kinds of situations. If a city elects you to office as a representative of the city, it’s your responsibility to be level-headed and not get into, as Latrice Royale would call it, “Rumpus Room Shenanigans”.
Like it or not, Mayor Ford, your position of power comes with responsibility. YOU are a representation of Toronto. And shit like this is a terrible way to represent the people who gave you your position. You’re supposed to be better than this. Even if the guy was infringing on your territory, charging angrily into a situation without thinking of the consequences instead of following the proper procedures (calmly questioning his actions, asking him to leave, calling for help) is only making the city you claim to speak for look bad.
Toronto’s reputation is increasingly undermined by the antics of its bombastic mayor, some political observers and insiders warned a day after Rob Ford’s latest clash with the media.
[. . .]
Counc. Shelley Carroll, who has frequently butted heads with the mayor, said his chronic “overreactions” are drawing jokes and eye rolls in political circles outside the city.
“It’s the conversation opener” when meeting officials across Canada and even parts of the U.S., she said Thursday.
Wednesday’s incident “takes us into the realm of _ one could almost say _ international embarrassment,” she added.
Graham White, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said Ford’s blunders have given the city “a really bad image” beyond simple ridicule.
Unlike former mayor Mel Lastman, whose many gaffes both irritated and charmed the public, Ford “is coming across as a thug,” a far more alarming reputation, he said.
The mayor’s threatened media blackout is “absolutely appalling,” White said. That it came on World Press Freedom Day adds a note of irony to an otherwise troubling development, he added.
[. . .]
This isn’t the first time Ford has been involved in a dust-up with a member of the media.
In October, Ford called 911 after Mary Walsh of the CBC’s comedy series “22 Minutes” confronted him in his driveway dressed as her Marg Delahunty, Princess Warrior character.
Ford, who has had death threats, said he didn’t know who Walsh was and feared for his safety.
Dale, if you’ve never met him, is a mild-mannered, quiet, gentle guy. He is an award-winning journalist. And he has handled the media attention this situation has garnered with a great deal of composure.
None of that matters for the purpose of this point. The point would hold even if Dale was a talentless loudmouth who bungled at every turn.
What matters is that Dale had a 300-pound angry man with a football player’s build coming at him. He got the hell out of there. And for this he has been widely mocked.
We can continue to discuss those other questions about media relations at City Hall, but there should be no debate about whether running from a guy who is twice your size and has his fist raised, when nobody else is in danger and nothing but your phone is at stake, makes you less of a man.
It makes you a sensible human being with survival instincts. It means you are capable of keeping your head under pressure. It is, most of all, a sign that you have a sense of proportion—that you prize safety over some ego-driven display of bravado that can make a precarious situation worse. And if you did run when there was something more vital at stake—someone else’s safety, for instance—that wouldn’t make you less of a man, either, though it might make you less of a person.
[. . .]
Maybe the Star does have a vendetta against the mayor. Or maybe this is just the kind of scrunity they bring to every mayor: they sent a photographer to David Miller’s house to see if he kept his lights on during Earth Hour back when he was in office, after all. But whether he should have been working on this story or not, at that hour or not, nobody should fault a male reporter—one working on a real estate story in Toronto rather than, say, a street battle in Syria—for running from a raised fist.