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article imageOp-Ed: Mayor Ford ‘knew where video was’, says new report

By Paul Wallis     May 30, 2013 in Crime
Toronto - The Toronto Mayor Ford crack video scandal took another twist with the revelation that Mayor Ford said that he knew where the video was, and giving two addresses.
The fact that he’d said previously that the video “didn’t exist” doesn’t explain his position.
From the Toronto Star:
...Ford then blurted out the address of two 17th-floor units — 1701 and 1703 — at a Dixon Rd. apartment complex, to the shock of staffers at a city hall meeting almost two weeks ago, the sources said.
The mayor cited “our contacts” as the source of his information, according to insiders familiar with the unusual May 17 session in his office.
Staffers were alarmed by the implication of hearing so precise a location, sources said.
OK, bizarre. This situation is now far too serious for any sort of “trial by internet”. There are now even allegations of destruction of city records in relation to the case. Mayor Ford is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The problem is that the sheer complexity of the circumstances of the case have created a major issue.
Allegations of a murder related to the video haven’t been proven, but they have muddied the issue considerably.
So who's winning?
The media handling of this case is also open to some questions. It’s a pity that Ford and the Toronto Star aren’t on a normal relationship footing, because the gap is just too big to bridge.
Much more dubious is the idea of crowdsourcing $200,000 to pay any old criminal with a video. These guys aren’t exactly the most reliable, trustworthy people in the world. If this is how you get proof, look where it’s coming from. This isn’t the same thing as paying for a paparazzi picture of some celebrity’s boobs. It’s the equivalent of blood money. It could also be a form of denial of justice.
What if Ford was entrapped into smoking crack somehow? Appearances can be very deceptive. Why is it assumed that the Mayor of Toronto just naturally wandered off, scored some rocks, and got wasted on video? Nobody sees anything unusual about this? There are way too many things that don’t stack up about this situation, and nobody asks “why?”
There are also a few too many smells. Where did the $200,000 figure come from? Did someone want to pay a phone bill, or something? Or has global media gone so slap-happy that it’s prepared to ignore some very dubious sources and give away big money for the sake of a story?
I have the greatest respect for the Star, particularly a couple of its regular journalists, but really, folks, can this possibly be all there is to a story like that? Nobody’s thought whether or not that video was good blackmail fodder, or that someone might pay more than $200,000? Someone else might have.
(For the record- I’m very much on the exact opposite side of the political fence to Ford. I don’t like his policies or his platforms at all. My Canadian friends have told me a few things that don’t exactly endear him to me, either. This is about news integrity as much as about a scandal, and politics aren’t in the mix.)
Please also excuse a bit of very black humor at this point, because there’s a point to be made. The “respectable” news media don’t descend to the levels of the tabloids, according to theory. They don’t pay for sleaze and play by the rules, most of the time. Given a first opportunity, a virtual movement arises to buy a video from a guy who vanishes?
This is starting to look like everybody is being taken for a ride by the Video Vigilantes. It’s an interesting precedent for future news, wouldn’t you say, that this could become the standard for how you break a story? Trust a crack dealer is the new standard?
The good news guys protect sources. Looks like these sources don’t play by the same rules. If this video doesn’t show, it’s game over, and there’s no protection for the news guys who thought they had a story. Pictures may paint any number of words, but it looks like everyone in this picture is getting framed, very expensively.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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