I’ve been a fan of Rob Ford’s since he was elected; defended him in discussions, mostly agreed the media is giving him an unfair time. But he’s lost me with this one. Sunday on his radio show on newstalk1010 he completely lambasted the media… including the station that was currently airing his show for their coverage on the trip to Chicago. It was his own fault; Ford is the one that made a big deal over no taxpayer money being used to finance this business trip. It was a ridiculous statement; it’s only reasonable to spend taxpayer money on it when the long-term is in the city’s best interest- in short possible jobs.
A couple of councillors started challenging that assertion, and it’s only natural for the media to talk about it. I know that as a Reporter, when I’m faced with two separate pieces of conflicting information it’s instinct to question the original information. With politicians it becomes almost automatic to say “hey wait a minute, but you said this..” and if there’s still some question left after the clarification I’d keep digging. I would go as far as to say that it’s the media’s job to question it. In this case, the media is right, and Ford is wrong.
Politicians and Reporters need each other; it’s the way politicians are held to account, and can get their message across. For the Reporter it is about access; good relationships where reporters treat politicians fairly but in a friendly way are essential, because they get access, and story leads. Councilor Ford calling Reporters “p**cks is completely disrespectful and has permanently sullied the relationship between the two parties.
It’s a shame because overall, Rob Ford’s mayoral tenure has been sucessful. He’s managed to actually reduce the city’s budget, and the reach of the city’s unions. It’s embarassing for him that it should all be blotted out because he, and his brother can’t seem to keep their mouths shut.