Wednesday, October 16 Commentary
The Toronto Star story about Mayor Rob Ford on video smoking out of crack pipe. The Globe and Mail story about his brother Doug Ford being a drug dealer in high school.
The Ontario Press Council has never had more complaints from the public...siding with the Ford's who believe they are the victims of yellow journalism.
A 3 person panel investigated and has now reported back.
Basically the Press Council says the Star and Globe followed ethical standards of journalism.
In the Star case, the council says the "reporters were thorough in analyzing the video and came to a reasonable conclusion in deciding that it was a video of Rob Ford." It also says that because the Mayor is a senior public servant "he is appropriately subject to a greater level of scrutiny than if he were a private citizen. It is, therefore, in the public interest for media to report his behaviour where that behaviour appears to be illegal and inappropriate."
In the Globe story about Doug Ford, the council noted that the reporters used 10 unnamed sources and the reporters were sufficiently diligent in their efforts to verify their conclusions." It also said this kind of sourcing is often necessary to investigative reporting and public-interest journalism."
It should be stressed here that the council made no effort to verify the accuracy of either story...just that journalistic standards were met.
Not for a minute am I buying the Rob and Doug pony show about city councillor Paul Ainslie.
You'll recall Ainslie switched gears and voted in favour of an LRT in Scarborough and against the Ford's coveted subway extension. It cost Ainslie his job on the Mayor's executive committee. Fair enough, if you can't be a team player,you can't be on the team but for the Mayor to then record a message and put it on a computerized phone system so Ainslie's constituents are bombarded with calls about how the councillor was the only rep in Scarborough to vote against subways is, in my view, an attempt to intimidate.
The Mayor insists he did nothing wrong, that its his responsibility as mayor to tell constituents how councillors voted. That's a bunch of BS. He's never done it before on any other issue that I can recall.
The Mayor is saying Councillor Ainslie wasn't going to tell his constituents how he voted. How could Ford possibly know that especially since the voted had just taken place? He inadvertently admitted that.
So it was spur of the moment and this notion that Ford is taking a moral high road on this is ridiculous. From NewsTalk 1010's The City on Sunday here's Ford explaining what I believe this is really all about.
Half truths, innuendo, petty politics...the Ford's have demonstrated an uncanny ability to excel at all 3.
The Harper Government's Throne Speech comes down at 5 this afternoon...spelling out the legislative game plan for the next couple of years leading to the next election.
The shift to a consumer focus has been widely leaked for weeks but don't expect much in the near term. All you'll hear today is what we've been reporting....a promise to bring in changes to roaming fees, TV channel bundling, and flattening out the disparity in retail prices between Canada and the U.S.
The actual legislation would be presented at a later date and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of it is held back until closer to election time.
Republicans and Democrats sinking in a political quagmire in Washington are still trying to swim out of the impending financial crisis that threatens the global economy.
At midnight the current law giving the Treasury authority to borrow money to pay its bills will lapse. Treasury would then have to rely only on revenues coming in...roughly 30-billion dollars a day. The risk comes when the bills on any given day exceed 30-billion. Treasury would typically borrow the money but if there is no new authorization it won't be able too and the U.S. would default for the third time in its history.
The first time was during the war of 1812 when the Americans invaded Toronto...then called York. In retaliation the British invaded Washington and set fire to every public building including the White House.
The second time was more of a hiccup than anything..that was in the 1970's.
If there is a 3rd one, experts say the world would pay a heavy price with a global recession a virtual certainty.