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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Should the media back off on Rob Ford? Hell No.

If you know anything about writers, you know that they like a story to have a beginning, a middle and an end. If you take away any part of that, especially the ending, you will see them get very antsy and do all sorts of things that reflect that. Like a baby when you take its bottle away or a dog when you take its toy away, the longer that goes the more agitated they get. 


When the media get agitated the people they begin to chase get agitated, defensive, protective and sometimes they clash. No, most times they clash. 
Readers are mostly the same way. They also like to be teased, stimulated and then have it all come to a final resolution. A conclusion. 
I have written extensively on various issues regarding our Mayor, Rob Ford and his troubles. This blog is more about how to end those troubles and what sort of rights the citizens and the media have with regards to someone who holds a public office and refuses to step down. When everyone knows he should step down. 
Is it any of our business what the Mayor of our town does in his private life? Even if it is, is it right to go on his private property and hound him? What role should the media play as our advocate? These are tough questions and if you ask a variable amount of people you will get varying degrees of answers. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/senate-suspensions-don-t-blunt-mps-questions-for-harper-1.2416779 

"In a surprising move, House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer intervened on more than one occasion to warn Mulcair to stick to government business, not party business.
"As I heard it, it seemed mostly to deal with party business but I'll let the Right Honourable Prime Minister answer," Scheer told the Commons.
The prime minister reiterated that Wright has taken responsibility for his actions and was held accountable."

Last week, the Speaker of the House of Commons--Canada's parliament--instructed the leader of the opposition not to ask certain questions of the Prime Minister because it wasn't the public's business. That enraged opposition leader Tom Mulcair. We have never seen him as angry when he stood back up. Most of the time he is like most politicians in question period. He is making points and looking for a snappy sound bite moment to get on the National News. It is a whole lot of scripted acting designed to meet an end goal. Not this time.

The leader of the NDP hit back at the Speaker saying,

 "Just to be clear, perfectly clear, this is about a coverup in the Prime Minister's Office. This is government business. This is the public's business."

Then last week, I saw a posting from a long time friend of mine about how the media should back off Rob Ford, our crack smoking Mayor who refuses to step down in spite of every reason to do so for the good of everyone, including himself. In city government we don't really have an official opposition or question period to call the Mayor onto the carpet to answer for the things he does that we don't think are in the public's interest. The only real recourse we have is when we vote, and until then, the media to watch, find out and report on things. 
We all know Rob Ford is a sick man. He has some sort of major problem, likely a drug and/or alcohol addiction. The right thing to do would be to back off and let him deal with it. But, he is the Mayor and continues to be. So, the media keeps hounding him, looking for answers. Looking for closure to the story which is still very active.
Should the media back off? I say no. Below, I will make my case for why they should not. Not yet at least.
Yes, Rob Ford is sick. If he resigns, then fine, he should be left alone.
If he wants to stay Mayor--and have the power that a mayor does--then he is fair game.
The media, as our voice and investigative interest, is obligated to pursue him and call him out.
Should they be allowed to enter his private property and hound him?
No, that is different. But once he steps on public property and off of his, he is working for the public and must answer for that. And because he is Mayor, he must show up at the place the Mayor belongs and do his job. When he does that, he is fair game. That is part of the deal and what he signed up for.
If Rob Ford wants this to end, all he has to do is quit. He is writing the story now. He needs to write his own ending. Quitting is writing that ending. Once he does that, there is no more story. He isn't the Mayor anymore. Nobody will really care. Not enough to chase him, or hound him, or find out more information. There will be other more important stories to chase. Until he quits, there is no ending and he is still the story.
So, quit today and story over today. That is how it works. If he is still the Mayor, the story is active and the intensity only grows for the final cliffhanger conclusion. People want that conclusion. They have been brought to the edge and until that is resolved they will keep waiting for resolution. For someone to write the ending. Rob Ford has that power now. Only he can end it. The writers will prolong it. That is the only power they have. 


It all reminds me of OJ and the car chase. And then the trial. Until the verdict, or he admitted he was guilty, there was no letup in the interest.There needed to be some kind of resolution to end the spectacle and complete the story. Even though most think he was guilty, the real interest stopped when the verdict came down. The story was over. He got away with it. In that case, the jury ended the story. 


The ball is in Rob Ford's court this time. The writers are on the other side of the net and the citizens are the fans in the stands waiting for someone to win or lose the point. Someone has to finish the point. If Rob Ford keeps hitting it back to the writers, they will only hit it harder back at him. Each time, the suspense grows. 
Should the media back off on Rob Ford? Hell No. Rob Ford should back away from Center Court--diffuse the whole situation--and give himself time to get whatever help it is he needs without the stress and pressure he keeps fostering on his own by not leaving when he should. The longer it goes, the more intense it will get. 
For all he has done wrong, lets just hope this doesn't end with a hostage situation or a suicide attempt. Or something like that. We have seen him blow up already many times and it isn't a stretch to think he will go completely off the deep end and do something that crazy people do when you back them into a corner. That is where it seems it is heading. No matter what, none of us want that. But we also don't want to see him keep his position after all the horrible things he has done. He doesn't get to skate away on that and keep his job. 
So, I say to Rob Ford:
Write the ending to your own story if you want others to stop writing it for you.
If you don't, the story goes on and so does the media frenzy. Only Rob Ford can stop that. If he doesn't, we should never expect others to do it for him. That is the only way the story ends.

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