Fri, 08/18/2017 - 10:49

Posted by Tamara Baluja on May 23, 2013

When Gawker published an article saying they had seen Toronto Mayor Rob Ford allegedly smoking crack cocaine, it set off a firestorm in political spheres and journalistic circles. From a Twitter fight between Gawker and Toronto Star on who got the “exclusive” to a debate on chequebook journalism and what this coverage means for media libel, J-Source has your round up on news and commentary on this unprecedented journalistic event.

Opinion: Video, shmideo: reporting is about telling what you see and hear

A lot of people think something’s rotten in the way Canadian journalists have handled “crack-gate.” But Ivor Shapiro, chair of Ryerson's School of Journalism, asks since when does an audience need to see the raw evidence for it to be true and believed? His conclusion: pretty well everyone in the press has been doing their job the way they’re supposed to. 
Since the Toronto Star and Gawker went public with allegations concerning Mayor Rob  Ford mixing with self identified criminals and possibly smoking crack cocaine, the mayor has denied the allegations dismissing them as part of a larger vendetta against him.  Given the seriousness of the allegations and the damage they are doing to the office of mayor as well as to Ford himself, why hasn't he filed a libel suit?  J-Source Law Editor Thomas Rose explains. 

Chequebook journalism: Should news outlets pay for the alleged video of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine?

Most news organizations have strict policies to not pay for the news. But he question is: can a case be made for public interest that makes paying for the alleged Ford video justifiable? Toronto Star columnist Rose DiManno wants her newspaper to pay for the alleged Rob Ford video reasoning that if the Star doesn’t, the video may be bought by people who would prefer to let it disappear for good. The Province in Vancouver also launched a crowdfunding campaign to access the alleged video. Edward Tubb reports. 

Opinion: The press owes the public more than repeating gossip on the alleged Ford video

The Rob Ford video is not news, it’s only gossip, according to two journalism ethics professors, and the difference is the standards of verification. Romayne Smith-Fullerton and Maggie Jones Patterson argue the public must be wondering what outweighed the search for truth.

Why hasn’t Mayor Rob Ford sued the Toronto Star?

Its been a week since the Toronto Star and Gawker went public with allegations concerning Mayor Rob  Ford mixing with self identified criminals and possibly smoking crack cocaine.  The mayor has denied the allegations dismissing them as part of a larger vendetta against him.  Given the seriousness of the allegations and the damage they are doing to the office of mayor as well as to Ford himself, why hasn't he filed a libel suit?  J-Source Law Editor Thomas Rose explains. 

Opinion: Media's latest stories on Toronto's Mayor Ford a challenge for a court fight

Last week's stories about a man who appears to be Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking what might be crack, raises just about every journalistic issue around responsible reporting and libel that there is. Western journalism professor Paul Benedetti says the incident provides a perfect teaching example about what journalists can and cannot say to avoid a libel court case. 

Opinion: Crackgate - Star's rush to publish alleged Rob Ford crack-cocaine story unsatisfactory

John Gordon Miller writes the Toronto Star skirted around the edges of these editorial principles by rushing into print, without anything but a last-minute attempt to get Ford and his people to tell their side of the story.

The Gawker-Toronto Star cat fight about the Rob Ford "exclusive"

Gawker posted a video for sale allegedly starring Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. The video became the subject of a frenzied discussion on Twitter, with many cautioning about libel laws. And then started the hilarious cat fight on Twitter about who got the "exclusive." Gawker appears to have forced the Toronto Star into publishing the story on the video that they had been sitting on for almost two weeks. Reporters Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle apparently saw the alleged video on May 3, but were doing due diligence, one can suppose. Tamara Baluja reports. 



- this whole thing says a LOT more about the state of the press in Canada (I won't even use the word 'journalism' which seems to be in a coma of some kind in most of the western English speaking world) than about Ford - the way they behave like a gang of teenage girls endlessly vindictive and shrillly chattering when they decide they don't like someone - highly embarrassing to those of us who actually care about journalism and how important it is to democracy. I suppose the two things go together - the failing democracy in Canada, and the failed press, which has become little more than a combination of corporate-state propaganda and dumbed-down gossip-sports-entertainment-sex spectacle promoter. It's not up to the media to decide if Ford is guilty - isn't that a job for the cops and courts? Has anybody in the media even bothered to ask the cops what they think about the alleged video, and are doing about it, and just reporting that? 
A couple of things a **real** media, dedicated to serving the people of Canada rather than being a corporate -state propagandist and spectacle promoter, might be doing:
1) trying to get some answers about why we allow private banks to create our money supply 'out of thin air', and charge interest on this credit-money, which among other things has led to a trillion dollars worth of government debt, on which we have paid a couple of trillion dollars of completely windfall profits to these same commercial banks whilst closing down the democracy in the name of 'austerity' (more detail here - What Happened  ),  and causing the inflation that is decimating the middle class, or 
2) why they have all been acting as the secretariat urging people to 'get rid of that monster in Syria OMG!!!' - when earlier demonisations, provided to the press by the same people, have turned out to be somewhere between outright lies and gross exaggerations, which the press should be questioning rather than acting as the US Hegemon propagandist - remember Saddam's WMD, or his soldiers taking babies out of incubators (later shown to be simply a PR exercise), or the mass graves in Kosovo that later turned up to not be there my my, or the many lies about Gaddaffi a couple of years ago - we might note that while these leaders were admittedly not nice people, all three of these countries are currently in far, far worse shape than before the regime change operations (not to mention the many brutal dictators who are US allies who don't seem to get any press attention). The press all seem completely unable or unwilling to challenge US geopolitical interests anymore, or why recent Cdn governments have been so supportive of such international criminal activities - which is of course the same objective with Assad in Syria, with all of the lies spread by the media.

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.