You won’t read all about this one in the Toronto Star

Story by QP Briefing, which has been repeatedly breaking stories lately, here:

When PC Leader Doug Ford was the only party leader who declined to participate in a Toronto debate organized by Black community organizers, the Liberals criticized him as being out-of-touch.

In social media copy that was also shared by some Liberal riding accounts, the party stated: “Doug Ford says he ‘loves the blacks’ but wasn’t at the Town Hall tonight… Did Doug Ford deliberately choose to ignore the black community leaders debate? #ONBlackVote #WhereIsDoug #onpoli”

There is one problem with this statement: QP Briefing cannot find any record of Doug claiming that he “loves the Blacks,” a phrasing that would be considered offensive.

We asked the Liberal Party to provide a reference to where we could find this quotation, and they conceded it was an error.

“It appears the tweet accidentally referred to Doug when it should have said Trump,” David Clarke, executive director of the Ontario Liberal Party, said in an e-mail on Monday night. “We’ve corrected the error and are working to ensure accuracy to re-issue it.”

Best part of the story? They then went on to issue a new tweet, which contained a new error.

None of this would be happening if Warren Kinsella was still alive.

Doug Ford, and why the populi like his vox

Abacus (with whom Daisy proudly does work, full disclosure, etc.) has a fascinating poll out about who is in the so-called Ford Nation, what they think, why they think it, etc. etc. It’s here.

Now, in recent weeks/months, some folks have been asking me: “Warren, why don’t you hate Doug Ford as much as me and my friends in the Annex do?  Why do you say nice things about him?”

Well, two reasons.  One, I like him.  I’ve written about why, here.  When I was being used as a human piñata, Doug was the first guy to call me.  In politics, you tend to remember calls like that.

Two, the claim that Doug Ford is Donald Trump is fucking idiotic.  The Doug Ford I know is readily seen here – I encourage you to watch all of it – and he bears no resemblance, in any way, to the Mango Mussolini. (Some days, as I told Evan Solomon on his CFRA show yesterday, I’m not even sure Doug is an ideological conservative.)

Why is Doug winning?  Lots of reasons.  Weariness with the Ontario Liberals.  Suspicion about the Ontario New Democrats plans.  But, mainly, I think it’s because his opponents have greatly underestimated him.  I used to work for a guy, remember, who was underestimated all the time.

And Doug is sort of like that guy, that little guy from Shawinigan.  And, he’s like Ralph Klein, Mel Lastman, René Lévesque, Jean Chrétien. He’s like all of those populist-type politicians who are anti-politicians.  He doesn’t look a matinee idol, he doesn’t use perfect grammar, he sometimes (and often) says the wrong thing.

And people like him/them for it.  They don’t like Doug despite his failings – they like him because of his failings.  Get it?

Don’t believe me?  Check out this Abacus slide.  It tells why he is ahead, and why he is likely to stay there.

Comments are open.

Starbucks, racism and a social media case study

By now, you have heard all about the two real estate brokers who were seated in a Philadelphia Starbucks last week, waiting for another man to meet with them for business.  The two real estate brokers were black.

The white, female Starbucks manager called the police, who came and arrested the two men.  They were led away in handcuffs, while other patrons, all white, shot videos and protested what had happened.  The two men were eventually released, without charges, in the middle of the night.

Along with several million other people, I was disgusted by what Starbucks had done – particularly when I saw their non-apology “apology.”  So, I did what several million others had done, and took to social media.  I tweeted this:

That tweet was retweeted more than 600 times (and counting), including by author Cory Doctorow. It was “liked” close to 2,000 times. And Twitter said that it had been seen more than a quarter million times.  The videos of the arrests were seen many more times than that.

That all reminded me of three things:

  1. Its failures are well-documented – the misogyny, the threats, the hatred – but Twitter (and Facebook, whose failures are legion) can sometimes be a force for good.  It can connect with people and mobilize them.  It can even get a corporate global behemoth to pay attention, and react.
  2. I’ve been writing about, and opposing, racism for more than three decades.  In 2008, on the extraordinary night when Barack Obama won, I thought it might signal the end of racism.  That was profoundly naïve, of course, as racism has only gotten worse – and now we even have a white supremacist as Obama’s successor.  Race, and the divide over race, remains the dominant socio-political factor in the United States – and is a dominant factor in other supposedly-tolerant nations, like ours.
  3. Starbucks attracted a tremendous amount of attention, here, because (a) it is as ubiquitous as the Catholic church, and (b) because (clearly) many people regarded it as some sort of progressive and enlightened bulwark against the nativism that is now rampant everywhere (see point two, above).  I suspect this incident would have attracted zero attention if it had transpired on the sidewalk outside that Philly Starbucks.  There would have been no videos shot – at least not by white people.

What does it all mean?  It means the beast of racism is still awake, and that social media can alternately feed and punish it. It means that Starbucks can be counted on for only lattés, not wisdom.

Also: everything sucks.  One step forward, two steps back.  Always.

Bountiful birthday, Bjorn

My youngest brother – and SFH‘s beat-keeper – is Bjorn von Flapjack III.  That’s a (much, much younger) him at the drum kit at CJSW in Calgary.

It’s his birthday, so you can mock him here.  In the meantime, something big is happening his birthday week.  It’ll be good.