If what Rob Ford has been saying about Daniel Dale is untrue, as Dale insists, then I don't blame the reporter for initiating legal action in an effort to protect his reputation. However, I do take issue with his insistence that it's fine for him to remain on the city hall beat for the Toronto Star while he does so. A reporter should be as impartial as possible, which means at a minimum he should have no obvious conflicts with the subjects he's reporting on. And there are few conflicts more obvious than being on the other end of a lawsuit with someone. Dale can't provide objective coverage about Ford at the same time that he's suing him.
Mr. Dale now has indicated that he will sue Mr. Ford on the basis of his comments on my show, with the support of his employer. Anyone who has had small children knows the concerns of lurking strangers, and all of us who have been hounded unmercifully in our homes by the media know how unutterably provoking it is. The notion that the mayor had insinuated that Dale was a pervert was a confection uniquely of his colleagues at the Star, and he has his colleagues to thank for whatever stigmatization he feels he has suffered.
You've given the media so much to comment on: missteps, mixed messages, leaderless moments in city hall, all topped off with the cherry of antagonism. Of course they don't like you. Your job is to be the face and the leader of the city in which we all live, and sometimes, you're not so good at it. They are very good at their job, which is reporting on you.
Over the past eight months, I have had the pleasure of being one of Conrad Black's editors. His blogs have arrived weekly from prison like clockwork. Often I wondered how he wrote these from prison. I don't just mean the mechanics (because those were obviously an issue: How do you get access to a computer? Do you have Internet?). But how did he manage to keep up on everything? Reading his highly informed and topical blogs you would never know this was a man almost entirely cut off from the information sources we take for granted. Here's the bottom line: The key to Conrad's survival has been his mind.