Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford photographed while talking to reporters in the land of the the public park behind his house where he confronted Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale because, Mr. Ford claims, was taking photos over his wooden fence, Toronto May 03, 2012.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

"You can't make this stuff up," said Toronto mayor Rob Ford last night, and for a man who is sometimes mocked for being insufficiently articulate, he proved impressively pithy.

For Thursday, on World Press Freedom Day, Mayor Ford's long-simmering and mutually beneficial war with the Toronto Star has exploded into view again. And though many journalists initially criticized Daniel Dale, the reporter whom the mayor chased away after finding him standing near the perimeter of his property at dusk yesterday, they may wish to reconsider after Mr. Ford said Thursday morning that he would not speak with members of the media if Mr. Dale was present.

Mr. Ford has the right to court friendly media outlets, but his ban of Mr. Dale is an inappropriate attempt to muzzle the press that is apparently unprecedented in Toronto politics. When the U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney attempted a similar tactic this week, announcing that his campaign would choose which media outlets could provide so-called "pool" coverage on behalf of all media, the other news organizations refused to play along; on Wednesday his campaign backed down.

Story continues below advertisement

The Star says Mr. Dale made his visit in the course of reporting on a story about the mayor's attempt to buy a piece of public parkland that adjoins his own property. Michael Cooke, the paper's editor-in-chief, insisted sending Mr. Dale was not an attempt to provoke the mayor. "It never occurred to us this would happen," he said Thursday afternoon. "Not in a month of Sundays."

In choosing to attack the Star for what his brother Doug termed "harassment of our family," the mayor may be responding with authentic outrage, but he is also leveraging the incident for maximum political gain. Rob Ford is the city's victim-in-chief: aggrieved by high taxes, a war on the car, and privileged union membership.

And if his press strategy has been scattershot, his victimization at the hands of the Star has been fruitful. Even since the paper ran an article in July, 2010 during his campaign for the mayor's office that raised questions about his aggressiveness as a football coach, Mr. Ford has leveraged the paper's attacks to attract donations and sympathy. During the mayoral election campaign, his team used Star clippings to solicit support.

The Star also benefits from the battle, positioning itself as the city's most aggressive newsroom in keeping the mayor in check. Traffic to its website spikes whenever incendiary material about the mayor is posted, even if sometimes it oversteps the boundaries of good taste: Last month, when it posted a mocking "gotcha" video of the portly mayor visiting a KFC outlet, readers chastised the paper, and its own public editor wrote a column saying it "leaves a bad taste."

The Star has played up the Dale story hard, featuring it as the main piece on its website until early Thursday afternoon. "We're the news of the day," said Mr. Cooke. "You'd expect us to cover ourselves with the same diligence and thoroughness that we cover other things." He added that the paper was reporting the story without bias. "I think we've given the mayor's side of what happened over and over again, in just about every story. I think it's without bias. And in fact you have to be without bias, because we're under great scrutiny."

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies