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I’ve just read a very interesting take on the recent goings on in Ford Nation. As a former member of the Fifth Estate I have watched with a kind of sick fascination the way the media has reacted to, pursued and otherwise bull nosed their way through the whole Rob Ford saga.
Do not, I beg you, take this as any kind of show of support for Rob Ford on my part. In my humble opinion, he is a misogynistic, homophobic, deceitful, jingoistic, narrow minded man. Did I buy into his rhetoric when he first became our mayor? Well, if I am going to be completely honest here then, yes, I did. A little bit at the very least. But that had more to do with my take on the message he was touting. Cut out the waste in City Hall. As I have mentioned above, as a former member of the press I had the dubious privilege of witnessing, up close and personal like, a lot of government waste, on all levels. So, maybe, just maybe, something in his rhetoric reawakened the old journalistic outrage I had felt back in the day.
What’s that you ask? Did I vote for the man? What are you, soft?
Let’s just say, sadly, I wasn’t nearly as disappointed that he won the election as I would very rapidly become.
But that isn’t the point of this post.
No, this post has more to do with what it is that Christian Cotroneo said in his article. He is not, I believe, a stupid person by nature. By his own admission he was, initially and for the longest time, one of those dancing on Rob Fords grave. The difference is that he is the first person I have seen who has offered up his own mia culpa; the fat jokes, the cat calls of shenanigans, and the brutal photographs of our cities “mayor”, the more hideous the better. It is all a very large part of the media’s arsenal. Believe me, I know. In my time I would frequently take the worst, most unflattering photographs of local politicians, businessmen and everyday folks on the street and paste them up on the wall beside my desk. I called it my gallery of “Assorted Rouges, Dolts and Bozos”.
Those images never EVER made it to print.
Alright, call me old fashioned here. Back in the bad old days of the late 70’s we were taught that journalism was all about telling a story impartially. Interview all parties concerned, take what it is that you have learned and report on it with no political bent one way or another. Opinions, while valid, were reserved for the editorial or Op-Ed pages. You see we made the, apparently, misguided assumption that people could read both sides of a story and make up their own mind which direction their own flag flew.
Dumb, I know, but that is what I truly believed. “If you inform them, they will decide” (with all apologies to William Patrick Kinsella).
Rob Ford lied. Rob Ford lied a lot.
Should the media have pointed out his lies, inconsistencies and outright fabrications?
Should they have ridiculed him in the process, by way of barbs and/or grotesque photographs?
Well, not so much.
I suppose my ultimate take on that kind of journalism is this; if people are not informed, intelligent or involved enough then they are more than likely far to inured, insensate or inbred to even matter.
The thing that I loved about Christian’s column had much more to do with the fact he, as a member of that not quite as exclusive as it once was club, had the downright temerity to go where most members of the keepers of the supposed unadulterated truth fear to tread.
Good on you Christian. Good on you.