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The Rob Ford ambush: Who is the real victim here? Let the networks decide

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Following a botched CBC comedy sketch and an infamous emergency call, the public has questions. Is Rob Ford the victim of left-wing gotcha journalism? Or is he a foul-mouthed vituperative boor? Without the 911 tapes, we'll never know. But that won't stop the media. Coming this fall to a TV near you:

On Sun TV:

Upbeat, happy music plays as a montage plays across the screen.

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Narrator: He was a fighter for justice…

Rob Ford shakes his fist at a striking garbage worker.

Narrator: He was a man of the community...

Rob Ford coaches football at Don Bosco.

Narrator: Until he encountered a force so evil…

The music switches to a minor key. A tuba blares a fearful theme.

Inside a CBC boardroom, a group of bitterly divorced grey-haired second-wave feminists in pantsuits and Birkenstocks silently nod at one another. One of them picks up a phone and dials. A telephone in Newfoundland rings. Mary Walsh picks it up.

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Mary Walsh: I'll take care of it.

Narrator: Does one man stand a chance against a conspiracy?

Montage: Mary Walsh donning her breast plate. Mary Walsh sharpening her plastic sword on a grindstone. Mary Walsh crouching in the bushes as Rob Ford walks obliviously out his front door.

Narrator: In a culture of lies, does truth stand a chance?

As Rob Ford bends over to adjust a child's booster seat, Mary Walsh plunges her sword into his back and through his heart, twisting it cruelly as she speaks.

Mary Walsh [sotto voce] Privatize this, Mr. Mayor.

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Narrator: This fall…

A wounded Rob Ford weakly dials 911.

Narrator: …on television screens across Canada...

911 dispatchers erupt in howls of laughter and flash the "union power" sign as the mayor begs for help.

Narrator: …Sun TV brings you: The Rob Ford Warrior Princess 911 Cover Up: What Really Happened.

On CBC:

Narrator: It was a cool and moody October morning, when a 911 dispatcher picked up the phone…

The silhouette of a grieving woman appears. Her face is blacked out to protect her identity. The word "re-enactment" flashes at the bottom of the screen.

Narrator: This week on the Passionate Eye, we imagine the phone call that changed a life.

911 dispatcher [her voice digitally altered] I was working the early shift, filling in for a colleague on vacation.

Narrator: It was a call that would change her life.

911 dispatcher [now sobbing] There was this middle-aged man on the phone. [sobbing harder]And he was so angry.

Narrator: But this was no ordinary caller. It was the mayor of Toronto.

911 dispatcher: 'The f-ing mayor. I'm the f-ing mayor.' [sobbing uncontrollably]It was all he kept saying.

Narrator: Every day, 911 dispatchers receive hundreds of calls. Car accidents. Domestic violence. Accidental decapitations. Murders. And now… inappropriate language.

911 dispatcher: I can't sleep. I'm having issues with intimacy. It's ruined my life.

Narrator: This week on the Passionate Eye, we examine the phone call that changed a life.

A professor appears in a golf shirt, with the logo for Trent University stitched on the chest.

Professor: This was a classic case of a Caucasian alpha male going super nova. He'd just been humiliated in front of his wife and children by a middle-aged woman wearing breastplates. He experienced a manic episode of self-destructive impulses that he transferred onto the first available person.

Narrator: The broken dreams…

911 dispatcher: My therapist says it could be days before I'm able to return to work.

Professor: Victim begets victim.

Narrator: And we call into question the culture that demands so much paperwork of those filing workplace grievance.

911 dispatcher: There's, like, 20 pages.

Professor: Paperwork is the 21st century's cotton gin. It is this country's most pervasive form of institutional abuse.

911 dispatcher [sobbing again] My hand got numb by the fourth page.

Narrator: This week, on the Passionate Eye.



Special to The Globe and Mail

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