You Start Doing Your Job, and I'll Stop Coming to Your House
Rob Ford complaining about the news media confronting him at his front door is like a homeowner complaining about the gas company showing up because the homeowner didn't call the gas company to report the meter reading. One way or another, those Enbridge folks are going to get that number. If you're not going to help them out, you can expect them to come a-knockin'.
In my years as a reporter, I learned that the less someone wanted to make himself available to the media, the more he likely had to hide. I remember being part of a throng of reporters playing cat and mouse with TTC union head Bob Kinnear back in 2006. Some TTC employees had walked off the job illegally. It was a wildcat strike, and Kinnear didn't know what to tell reporters. So he ran. Literally. Through office buildings, down emergency stairwells, from street to street only to be caught at City Hall where, he eventually realized, he was going to have to stop to catch his breath and face the music - and reporters – regardless of whether he had any answers. I can't tell you what he had to say to us that day. The story instead centred on his rather undignified fleeing of the press.
Here we are 2013, and I guarantee not a single reporter in that Kinnear scrum would have ever imagined that councillor Rob Ford would become the mayor of Canada's largest city. They would also never have expected that the always available and media-friendly councillor would become a recluse once in charge. Here's a guy who made himself available to reporters as easily as he made himself available to his constituents. At the mere whiff of questionable spending out of City Hall, Ford was the go-to guy for a tasty sound bite.
How things have changed. This morning, a throng of reporters and cameramen gathered at a suburban gas station, their microphones haphazardly taped to an aluminum stand. The venue was chosen by His Worship himself after the media converged at his home, seeking reaction to the arrest of his occasional driver on drug and conspiracy charges. As per usual, Ford was less than receptive to addressing journalists outside his house, so he agreed to the gas-station press conference. There, he blasted reporters for going to his front door while he was trying to pack his kids into the family car. "That's pretty low ... Don't come to my front door again." Wishful thinking, Mr. Mayor.
This former affable politician has turned into a hermit crab when it comes to journalists. Unlike past mayors, he doesn't provide a schedule of his public events. He doesn't have regularly scheduled weekly press conferences. And unless the question holds an opportunity to make him look good to Ford Nation, he ignores it. Rob Ford doesn't give the media many other options than to take to his front door.
Perhaps it’s fitting then, that he also chooses to waste many of the choices he has in life. Stop associating with certain people and the scandals – and the media – will go away.