We certainly are raising a peculiar crop of leaders these days. Since he was elected, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has frozen out the Toronto Star. He has told his staff that they are to have no dealings with the paper -- including issuing press releases to the largest daily in the country. His anger at the Star stems from an article the the paper published while Ford was running for mayor.
John Honderich writes this morning that:
There is no purpose served in rehashing the details. However, the Star has always stood by the story, noting it was carefully checked by our lawyer before publication.
Candidate Ford was furious and filed an immediate notice of libel, which is entirely and appropriately his prerogative. But he never followed up, as required, and his suit has now lapsed.
Mayor Ford has repeatedly said his freeze will stay in place until the Star runs an apology above the fold on page 1. As he recently told reporter Daniel Dale, “I don’t talk to the Star till you guys apologize. You guys (are) liars.”
Ford has every right to be furious. And he has every right to take legal action. The fact that he has let the case slide suggests the mayor knows his complaint won't survive legal scrutiny. And, if he does not want to personally talk to Star reporters, he can exercise that option. But he has gone farther than that. Honderich reports that:
The mayor’s staff was holding a briefing on arts funding and other members of the city hall press gallery were told about it privately. In this case, they were also specifically asked not to tell the Star about it. In other words, the mayor’s staff was trying to use other journalists to enforce its freeze. Thankfully, they did not go along.
Ford is the big kid who insists on bringing his own ball to the game; and -- when he doesn't get his way -- he picks it up and goes home. As I have written before in this space, the children are in charge. And, like most children, they are going to leave it to others to clean up the mess they create.