05.03.2012 08:19 AM

Always leave the Shawinigan Handshake to the professionals, boys and girls

…but, in all seriousness, the now-infamous Toronto Star vs. Mayor Moron match has fully entered the pantheon of Totally Stupid Things.  My take:

  • Reporters who show up with uncharged recording devices should be beaten, although perhaps not by rampaging mayors (roll over and play dead when mayors attack!);
  • If a politician ever looks they are going to hit you, let them, as your path to a Pulitzer is thereafter guaranteed, and a huge lawsuit payout too; and
  • The Fords have now, irretrievably, turned Canada’s largest city into an episode of The Beverley Hillbillies, with Doug and Rob playing the role of the Clampetts with aplomb and style.

The Right will defend the Fords, the Left will defend the Star.

Both sides look bad.  And, meanwhile, the ostensibly World Class City® continues to drift.

Mel Lastman, come back.  Compared to this guy, you look like Winston Churchill, now.


  1. In the system says:

    It’s not so much the “Beverly Hillbillies”, Warren. It’s way more like The Trailer Park Boys now.

    And yeah, back in the day I would have happily taken the punch. That’s five fingers of Job Security, and the best bar story ever.

  2. Tim Sullivan says:

    Sounds like the Mayor may be liable for assault, at least. No damages need to be proven.

    Nothing like trying to difuse a situation. Could the 3M+ people of Toronto not have found ONE PERSON with a modicum of class to be the mayor?

  3. Liam says:

    Agreed 100%. Much as I may disdain the man our fair city elected mayor, how does the Star think this goes over well?

    First of all, charge your damn phone before you go out on a story – if anything, the fact that he had (by the sounds of things) two, potentially three, recording devices on him and yet managed to come away with zero credible evidence of his side of the story is suspect at best.

    Second, the Star HAD to have anticipated something like this happening, and it seems like a colossal miscalculation if they thought that this exact result would do anything except galvanize the opposing camps that already exist. All they’re doing is manufacturing more and more pointless acrimony between all sides here that, as I’ve learned from a certain politico of note, has absolutely nothing to do with Ford’s – abjectly abhorrent – record as mayor.

    Go after the man’s record, not how big a fence he wants to build around his back yard.

    I’m already tired of this story, and it happened 14 hours ago.

    • Philip says:

      Top post. What kind of reporter goes on that story with a dead cellphone or any other working recording device. I guess the answer to that is: a bad one. Add to that the reporter could have at least taken the punch. A person could dine out on that story for months.

      As Liam correctly points out the real stories are the Mayor’s policies/ramblings and his attendance record at Council meetings. Mayor Hindenberg obvious can’t be arsed to play mayor anymore now there is actual work involved. Report on that story.

      • In the system says:

        “What kind of reporter goes on that story with a dead cellphone”

        How about a human one. At least once, I arrived at an event with no film in my camera and my extra casettes empty. No pen once or twice. It happens. It doesn’t make him a “bad reporter’. That’s a bit harsh.

        • b says:

          Agreed. i’m constantly astonished at how quickly my phone will die on me.

          • Liam says:

            For the record, I sympathize with what Mr. Dale must have experienced here (we’ve all had a phone die at a bad time), and want to take nothing away from the fact that have no trouble believing something (probably very) untoward happened, but it just seems like a constellation of bad timing and planning on the Star’s part.

            As I’ve already said, they absolutely had to have anticipated something like this happening, and knowing their already testy relationship with His Worship and what they were planning on doing (approaching his private property), wait until fresh daylight, or at least send a second set of eyes and a camera with a fresh battery.

            This feels like an example of a newspaper making news, not reporting it.

        • JenS says:

          I had the same thing happen on occasion as a reporter. I had days when I forgot my charger at home and hoped I didn’t ave to o out on a late-day story as my phone would certainly die. Daniel Dale is, in general, precisely the opposite of a “bad reporter.”

          BUT … I’m not sure how pleased I would be to find a representative of a company I don’t like taking pictures around my home at dusk either. Ford’s reaction was waaaaaaaaaay over the top, but I can certainly see how it would evoke some reaction.

          Meanwhile, the Star couldn’t buy this kind of publicity. Every media outlet is reporting on it. Amazing.

    • Cath says:

      well said Liam!!

      • Dan says:

        After Mary Walsh ambushed the Mayor in his drive-way, the Toronto Star sends a reporter snooping around his backyard at night? I don’t care who’s yard it is only people up to no good snoop in someone’s yard at night. If the intrepid reporter and his handlers really wanted an interview with the mayor that is not the way to do it. This was a stunt to provoke the mayor and nothing more. Grow up you idiots at the Star. Start showing some of the professionalism you are supposed to have.

  4. Houland Wolfe says:

    If Mayor Ford makes Mel Lastman look like Churchill, then Lastman makes David Miller look like T.C. Douglas!

  5. Matt says:

    I never thought I would miss the comparatively enlightened Mayor Mel. …but, I do. Both sides need a time out and stand in the corner for awhile.

  6. Kirk says:

    I’ve been away from Toronto for 4 years now so I’m not up on municipal politics in the GTA. Is there any chance of John Tory taking another shot at being mayor? He reminds me of a candidate who could work with councillors on all sides of the political spectrum.

  7. James Calnan says:

    the missed opportunity for Ford was to invite the guy in, introduce him to the wife and kids, give him a beer and make sure he helps everyone to understand why the Mayor needs to buy city parkland to protect his family…

    Reason over passion.

  8. Jim Hayes says:

    I think we all need to stand back and take a deep breath.

    Daniel Dale is a well respected journalist. While I am no fan of the Star, the journalist was going after a legitimate news story. He didn’t enter the Mayor’s property and had every right to do his job.

    If journalists now have to fear going after a legit story either because of blotto politicians or a public even a small minority who don’t get free press, we are in a lot of trouble.

    • kenn2 says:

      I’m no fan of the mayor, but skulking around someone’s home after sunset? Really? Mr Dale should be a little bit less well-respected for doing that. And all of this “dead cellphone” BS.

      I haven’t taken photos professionally, but my limited experience suggests its easier to take outdoor photos in daylight. WTF was Dale thinking? Or, what was really going on??

  9. Jon Powers says:

    What’s funny is the way different news sources are reporting it. The star makes Daniel Dale into a poor, dough eyed reporter who was shaking with fear as the big mean bear of a mayor accosted him. The Post makes it sound as though Mayor Ford was protecting his family from an evil trespasser lurking outside his property, potentially threatening his wife and children. A perfect illustration of why you should never rely on just one source for all your news and information. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

    • Warren says:

      Neither side looks very good on this, per usual.

      Left out of the discussion: whether the majority, the citizens, are well-served by either side.

      Answer: no.

  10. Alex says:

    I live in Ottawa and often complain that our nation’s capital is boring. After reading the stories on the latest gong-show in Toronto, however, my home city is looking pretty darn good. To quote Kady O’Malley of the CBC, “I wonder what would happen if I showed up at [the mayor of Ottawa’s] house. He’d probably invite me in for lemonade.”

    For a thought experiment on how Ottawa’s mayor would have reacted, you can read this story: http://ottawa.openfile.ca/blog/curator-blog/curated-news/2012/if-someone-was-photographing-jim-watsons-home-what-would-our-may

  11. Dude Love says:

    Here is why most people don’t care about this story or who is actually major.

    I’ve lived in the same area for 20 years. And in that time my garbage has always been picked up (contracted out prior to amalgamation), my water runs, streetcar runs on its daily 20 minute (or so schedule) and the street is always cleaned on the first Tuesday of the month. Has anything fundamentally changed in the city? No. Life goes on regardless of who the mayor of the city. So people need to get over the “left vs right” thing. Rob Ford is the mayor, big deal. Someone will be mayor after him and nothing will really change.

    • Ted B says:

      I’ve lived in the city for my entire (gulp) 42 years, other than for school. And in that time I’ve seen more and more delays and worsening service at the TTC which I use pretty much every day, the transit system that doesn’t get me where I need to go because the size and spread of the city has changed so much, my taxes going up and my services going down, less and less for my kids to learn and do at the local library or through parks and rec, huge deficits and debt (at least Miller finally took care of the deficit part in his last year, one good thing to come out of those two terms), more and more potholes that remain unfixed for longer, less and less opportunity to make something really great and unique with our waterfront (though the last 10 years we may have slightly turned the corner on that until the most recent mayor who is back to cozy with developers).

      Like a great old house, the bones of this city remain great and, despite the fearmongers, crime is going down so it’s one of the safest and most progressive cities to live in.

      Has anything fundamentally changed int he city? Depends on your definition of fundamental.

      There’s been a lot of fundamentally good but also fundamentally bad.

      Ford has done a tiny bit to fix up the finances, but is being penny wise and dollar dumb. He is also cozy with the developers who get what they want once again. And he’s not really even bothering to tackle the big issues we have.

      It is trite to say life goes on so nothing matters. Life goes on so IT DOES matter.

      • Ted B says:

        And it BETTER change.

        It is a very good city.

        But it was great.

      • Dude Love says:

        Urban decay is everywhere and it has existed since man developed urban centers.

        The city does some things well, others not so well. It is all about priorities.

        At least the developers will have to build with green roofs.

  12. Actually, I cannot see in what respect the Star is at fault. I believe Dales story, I would be emabarrassed to report that I shrieked in fear like that, so the complete candour makes it believable. Also the fact that Ford lied repeatedly about so many things, like getting busted with dope in the States, his drunken abusive behaviour at the leafs game, etc. makes his version of the story less credible. There was an extremely valid reason for Dale to be there, and I must say I am interested in knowing why the Mayor feels he can influence the TRCA for the purposes of acquiring publicly owned land.
    I never read the Star. Whether I support the Liberal Party or not, I prefer reading news that is relatively bias free, and the Honderich family do not share my interest in bias free news, but I do not think that anything untoward was happening here, until the Mayor started freaking out. If anybody looks bad here it is squarely on Ford, IMHO. This is really much ado about nothingthough, unless of course the Mayor is unduly using his influence for private gain.

  13. Nurie Jahangeer says:

    At least the police were called to Mayor Ford’s home over an alleged trespasser.

    I mean surely that should be seen as an improvement since the police are usually called to this racist, homophobic, testosterone pumped, Alpha White Male’s home to deal with alleged spousal abuse and domestic violence.

    PS: If Clayton Ruby requires donations from the public to pay for the costs of his legal attempt to remove
    Miss Piggy from office, I am willing to personally make a big donation!

    • Dude Love says:

      Instead of donating to a very wealthy lawyer, donate the money to one of the many service or charitable organizations that ACTUALLY need the money.

  14. There’s something about this story that shows we live in a bubble.

    300 lbs of not-so-much-fun charging at you – easy to say you just need to trot 30 steps back and wait for exhaustion to take hold of the aggressor.

    But what if it’s night or you don’t recognize the person? And what if Ontario’s handgun laws weren’t so strict and we had a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law like so many states are considering in the U.S.?

    There may not be 30 steps back, there may be none.

    Thank God we live in Ontario.

  15. MIchael Andrews says:

    Our Ford
    Who art in Edenbridge
    Holliday be your other name
    Thy Kingdom fall
    You will be done
    In chambers as it is Council
    Give us your prattle, our daily bread
    And forgive our alleged trespasses
    As we forgive Stintz who was so hospitable with you
    And lead us not into arbitration
    But deliver us a Toronto Star
    For thine is a blunder,
    Inglorious and intractable
    For, like, ever and ever

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