11.12.2012 07:29 AM

Star candidate

Sigh. Here we go again.

Here’s one from the archives:

“Just study the case heretofore be known as the Toronto Star, et al. vs. Rob Ford.

The Star threw everything it had against Ford — and everything it had behind Smitherman. The Star — which still has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the Greater Toronto Area, and therefore some degree of clout — laboriously chronicled every one of Rob Ford’s misdeeds.

His mug shot from a Florida bust (a Sun scoop, by the by). His drunk-driving record. His drug possession charge. Even unsubstantiated suggestions that he had gotten too physical with others.

Simultaneously, the Star openly offered campaign advice to Smitherman. In one now-infamous column, the newspaper’s director of communications and community relations — whatever the heck that is — offered detailed campaign advice to Team Smitherman, from advertising to staff. A Ford victory, said this fellow, would “embarrass the city (of Toronto) around the world.”

And, as historians will note, Ford won in a landslide.

The moral of the tale: media boosterism for a particular candidate – on the Left or the Right – doesn’t work, if it ever did. It turns people off.

Stick to reporting the news, instead of making the news.

3 Comments

  1. VH says:

    Don’t think that’s a fair summary of what happened. Yes, the Star railed for months against Ford. No, it didn’t sway the election.

    But why was that? Because Smitherman was stiff? sure. But mainly because of the eHealth spending issue.
    And it was The Star that first brought forward and pounded the drums on eHealth and is more responsible than any other entity for sinking Smitherman’s mayoral chances.

    And it was The Star that brought to light and refused to loosen it’s pit bull grip on Mazza and ORANGE.

    Over the past few years the Star has wrecked more provincial Liberal’s careers than they have done to any other party.

    Maybe that explains something.

  2. Should The Star, having foreseen what a horrible mayor he would be, stood by and done nothing?

    • Warren says:

      The point, Derwin, is that they made it worse. Studies consistently show that voters regard the media as a special interest group like any other. When they see the media stampeding them towards a choice, they frequently go in the opposite direction.

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