AN ENTERTAINING MAYOR
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is, to the say the least, an entertaining person. It’s hard to believe it hasn’t yet been a year since his personal and professional activities have intrigued the city. I couldn’t browse the Internet, listen to a talk show or read an article that didn’t in some way explicitly target or reference the mayor.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way defending the man. He’s in the public limelight and knows it; what he fails to understand, though, is how to conduct himself under the watchful eyes of Canada’s largest city.
From his “drunken stupors” to alleged crack-smoking and relations to gang members, it’s clear Ford isn’t like other mayors. Perhaps what makes him more interesting is the loyal fan base he’s been able to gather (commonly referred to as Ford Nation) and maintain through the 2013 scandal that began last May.
The Toronto Star, which first broke the news of a video showing the mayor smoking what appeared to be crack, was accused of having a vendetta against him by none other than Ford himself. I don’t blame him, but it’s important to approach with caution.
Granted, the Star’s - and Toronto-based newspapers for that matter – coverage of the Rob Ford debacle became overwhelming. I’m not saying it was poorly reported, it was excellent journalism on Robyn Doolittle and Kevin Donovan’s part. But day after day I would see his face plastered on the front page with a new development in the story. You can’t blame the reporters; after all, it was news and it was local, so they’d have been in breach of one of the principles of journalism to not report it.
But the front-page delivery and ongoing details, however minor, seemed to sicken Toronto residents. It was as if the scandal was being shoved down their throats, whether they liked it or not. To paraphrase one of my professors, the Star busted out font that would’ve been used in times of war.
To be fair, though, Ford makes himself an easy target. An outspoken mayor who refuses to speak to certain members of the media, misses council meetings or rejects the notion he needs help is, in my opinion, just asking for it.
In a time where sensitivity and political correctness is key to remaining in power, Ford speaks his mind, and for this I admire him. He has gone on to repeatedly say that his drug and alcohol allegations are personal issues.
Of course a crack-smoking, death-threat-uttering mayor isn’t the best thing for Toronto. But in the words of Irish poet Brendan Behan, there is no such thing as bad publicity.
So it seems with Ford; he’s made local and international headlines and remains on the radar of late-night talk-show hosts. Despite all this, and being stripped of his powers by Toronto city council, Ford remains adamant on running in the 2014 election.
Whether the media attention works in his favour is yet to be seen. One thing is for sure, though; he put Toronto on the map. He is the Drake of politics.
(Rob Ford image courtesy of CTV News)