Conrad Black has sued plenty of people for libel over the years and now CBC's Carol Off has suggested that the Lord of Crossharbour may have been involved in a bit of defamation himself.
Off held the former media baron's feet to the flames on CBC Radio's As It Happens Wednesday night for allowing Rob Ford to suggest that Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale is a pedophile during an interview for Vision TV)
Dale has called the allegation "vile." In a response Wednesday, the City Hall reporter outlined how police found no merit to the mayor's claims that he peered into his backyard and took pictures of his children during a heavily-publicized altercation in 2012.
After asking Black about his own experiences with how damaging slanderous media coverage can be, Off launched into a series of questions about why Ford's dubious suggestion made it to air.
Black at first seemed to suggest that Dale did "leer" over the Toronto mayor's back fence to take pictures of his children.
"I don’t think that any of us who have or had at one time young children under the age of ten would be particularly pleased about seeing some stranger out leering over the back fence looking at them, and that’s a disturbing thing," Black said. "I’m afraid I don’t get on board here the transposition of the status of the aggrieved party on this particular instance from Mr. Mayor to Mr. Dale."
But Black backtracked after Off explained that there is no evidence that Dale did anything but take a look at a piece of public land adjacent to the mayor's property. Ford had been trying to buy the piece of public land.
Black said he "didn’t know any of that" and that if Off was correct then the mayor must have lied to him, something he said he would "resent."
Off then went on to question why Black, a man known for his extensive research on U.S. presidents, didn't do more digging before his interview with Ford. Black said it was not up to him what makes it to air and that he was "on a trip around the world" during much of the recent scandal.
Black was also grilled on why Ford was allowed to suggest, without giving any evidence, that Toronto Police have been investigating him for political reasons. Black said he was simply asking for Ford's opinion.
Asked if it is the duty of a journalist to ensure accurate reporting, Black said he acted responsibly before launching into a denunciation of how bothersome it is to have "media snooping around your house."
Those quotations give just a taste of what was a remarkable, and often tense, interview with one of Canada's most outspoken public figures. You can read a transcript of the discussion at the Toronto Star.
Editor's note: Conrad Black blogs for The Huffington Post Canada.