The occasion was 1) to officially elect a president and vice-president (the Toronto Community News’ David Nickle, who was re-elected, and the Toronto Star’s David Rider, respectively), and 2) to officially send a letter to the mayor’s office warning that their systematic snubbing of the Star has amounted to an “abuse of process.” That is, while the Ford team is free to play favourites with regard to tips, leaks, and interviews, his office’s ritualistic refusal to send news releases to certain accredited members of the press gallery has been deemed to be an unacceptable breach. (The letter is attached.)
At the height of their relationship, Doug Ford called Rider a “genius.” This was after Rider, the paper’s Urban Affairs Bureau Chief, had (inadvertently) set up a meeting between then-candidate Rob Ford and Dieter Doneit-Henderson, an HIV-positive gay man. Whatever happened with Doneit-Henderson after, the opportunity for Rob to dispel the notion that he was an ignorant homophobe effectively neutralized an early George Smitherman line of attack.
Two months later, however, the Ford team cut the Toronto Star off. On Tuesday, July 13, the paper published the first in a week-long series of articles examining Rob Ford’s record as a high school football coach at the Toronto District School Board, prior to his move to coaching in the Catholic system. Written by investigative reporter Robert Cribb and education reporter Kristin Rushowy, the initial story alleged that not only had Ford been a short-tempered coach but that he had also been a physically abusive one. (The Globe and Mail later tracked down the player Ford had supposedly “manhandled”; he denied the incident involved anything more than face-to-face shouting.) As is now noted on the article’s online edition, the Star piece became “subject to legal complaint by Rob Ford.”
Although court records indicate that no lawsuit was ever formally filed, the Ford campaign took immediate measures to freeze the paper out, by removing them from their press release list and by declining to speak to its reporters on the record. The Star compensated by obtaining releases from colleagues at other news outlets and grabbing their quotes from scrums. It is, after all, a campaign’s prerogative to choose with whom they communicate. But when Rob and Doug (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) eventually assumed their new offices in the fall, very little changed.
The majority of City of Toronto press releases come in the form of emails distributed by the City’s Strategic Communications (StratComm) Division; anyone can easily sign up to receive these. The mayor’s and councillors’ offices, however, also send out their own, more overtly political or personal news releases. A statement on Rob Ford’s health or an announcement of a new chief of staff are, for example, things that would come directly from the mayor’s office. And the Toronto Star still doesn’t get these.
When Nickle (whose outlet is part of Torstar’s Metroland Media Group) attempted to resolve the Star situation informally, StratComm returned with questions—likely not their own—regarding the legitimacy of the Press Gallery, such as when its last election was and what its bylaws are. It was those queries that prompted last week’s get-together of seventeen reporters and columnists whose offices ring the Colin Vaughan Media Gallery & Lounge at the rear of City Hall’s first floor. (A reasonably up-to-date list of members can be found in this PDF.)
Despite some predictable grumbling, the assembled journalists unanimously endorsed the letter, which does not name the Star but makes its concern abundantly clear: “…official communications from the City of Toronto, including the mayor’s office, must be communicated equally to all members of the Gallery, without favour or prejudice.” Nickle delivered it to the mayor’s office later that day and is still awaiting an official response.
Last Friday, Rider managed to briefly catch a “groggy-sounding” Mayor Ford on his cell phone as he exited the hospital. It was the first time he had spoken to the paper in seven months.
What was barely ever reported on, was what was REALLY true about us, and who we REALLY are.
Here is some more of who we were BEFORE Mayor Rob Ford destroyed our families life & peaceful existence. From Deeply Religious, Humanitarians, Human Rights and Social Justice Activists & Leaders in our community & Pacifists, who are both Pro-Israeli & Pro-Arab – TO – Enemy Number 1 – Defamed & Slandered in such an Undignified, Humiliating, Degrading, Dehumanizing & in such a public fashion, all lies fed by the Fords and Co, to the various media outlets and the Ford Operates on the inter-webs, spinning away their lies & fantasy as if they have EVER known me!
Such as @Smithersdealer AKA www.twitter.com/416647905 a Mayor Ford OP who was instructed to launch a hate campaign, incite hatred for us, incite us to “commit suicide” plus death threats…And much more! All evidenced & filed with the TPS.
Such nice PEOPLE, these Ford’s! “Too Nice” I think is what Shill for Mayor Ford and best Lesbian mouthpiece & part time, horrendously horrible & vindictive writer BFF
A Tell All Exclusive no holds barred book on Mayor Rob Ford, his family, what they did to us, other’s, what they confided in us, how we know that they live.
Happy reading in the meant time at Election41.Posterous.com – Going live, shortly, as well
Here is a number of examples of the company we keep – People who we consider friends and ally’s – Met mostly through our Volunteer Work, Humanitarian Causes & Political Activism
You form your own opinion Toronto and Canada
Here are almost ALL the relevant links, good, bad, the ugly, the unethical, the neglect and the smears/lies/slander by Mayor Rob Ford