Luc Rinaldi

Conrad Black vs. Rob Ford: no surprises

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Around 8:58 Monday night, thousands of Torontonians discovered whether Vision TV is included in their cable packages.

That was probably the only new thing they learned that hour.

In a 15-minute interview with media baron Conrad Black on The Zoomer, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford boasted about saving taxpayers’ money (again), crowned himself the best mayor in the city’s history (again), played the victim card for himself and his family (again), spammed the October 27 election date and lambasted the Toronto Star.

Okay, this part was new:

(For the record, Dale has vigorously denied that he took pictures of the mayor’s family, and he is backed up by the police.)

If any of that sounds familiar, perhaps you watched Peter Mansbridge’s interview with Ford, the mayor’s segment on Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factoror Sun News Network’s one-episode-only Ford Nation. Or maybe you just generally existed over the past few months. As a comment on The Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye’s story about the interview put it: “OLD NEWS!”

The real news: Ford wasn’t the most embarrassing one in the room.

Throughout the interview—which ran in its entirety at midnight and is now available online—Black did his best impersonation of a journalist. He sat in the right chair and asked questions. He even challenged the mayor’s dodging at one point, following up with, “That wasn’t my question.” (Of course, that brief moment of journalistic rigour was just bait for Ford to claim that police chief Bill Blair is out to get him.)

Black spent the rest of the conversation sympathizing with and supporting the mayor, setting up tired talking points—the same way a kid might ask Bill Nye a scripted question to provide a learning opportunity—and chuckling over urine tests and the pair’s mutual enemy, the Star.

The public has happily criticized the media for being unfair and biased in its coverage of Rob Ford (granted, it’s not usually for being too soft on the mayor). With people like Black masquerading as journalists, it’s no wonder audiences are skeptical.

So, for clarity’s sake: Conrad Black is not a journalist.

But that, too, is old news.

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Don’t miss Miro Rodriguez’s story on the future of newspaper film critics



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