Over the past week, as the Adam Giambrone scandal came to a head and then popped, gossip blogger Zack Taylor has published two breathless—and obviously dubious—stories about the former mayoral candidate in an attempt to cash in. We’d call that attempt “futile,” but it hasn’t been: the Toronto Sun, an actual newspaper with people who have job titles like “reporter” and “editor,” has picked up both of Taylor’s stories, and republished the details in them, with apparently no research of their own of Taylor’s claims whatsoever.
We mostly try hard to ignore him, but we’ve written about Zack Taylor before. We laughed at his ironic self-declared devotion to high journalistic standards when, several minutes after avowing such high standards, he broke news of Jeff Goldblum’s death. (Goldblum, somehow, remains alive to this day.) Before that, we mocked Taylor’s colossal, and wholly unjustifiable, hubris. (There was also the time where he maybe actually got a tween celebrity scoop, but as the old adage goes,
everyone makes mistakes sometimes people who always make mistakes don’t.) We’d have ignored Taylor this time, were it not for the daily newspaper which has seen fit to give him the attention he so relentlessly craves, and the credibility he so obviously doesn’t deserve.
Watch the Sun work:
1:13 a.m., Wednesday.
Taylor publishes a photo of the torso of a man who is almost certainly not Adam Giambrone: the photo has almost everything that could identify its subject cropped out, and everything in it that could identify its subject—the approximate build, the chin, the bizarrely huge head, the sliver of a smile, what looks like acne—points to someone other than the Ward 18 councillor and TTC chair. (One might also take note that the photo appears to be taken at a straight angle, but the reflection of the lens of the camera taking the shot isn’t visible, which would mean that the shot was cropped digitally by someone after it was taken.) For good measure, Taylor slaps a small photo of Giambrone in the lower-left corner, which effectively obscures one-quarter of the photo. Taylor titles the post “ADAM GIAMBRONE SENT KRISTEN LUCAS NAKED PHOTOS?!” because responsible journalism is publishing an unverified and altogether unlikely rumour with a question mark after it. Taylor writes that he “received the above cell-phone photo of what appears to be Adam (we cannot confirm 100% it is him).” Right now, you are probably thinking of a sarcastic thing that could easily take the place of this sentence.
10:11 p.m., Wednesday.
The Sun publishes “Giambrone has ’Net all a-Twitter,” about the web’s reaction to the Giambrone scandal. Three paragraphs are ceded to Taylor. The paper—which prints Taylor’s photo of not-Giambrone, big, in the print edition Thursday—describes the shot as featuring “a bare-chested young man who resembles the Davenport councillor.” The article lets Taylor assert that “it appears to be Giambrone in a cellphone photo taken in a mirror that was allegedly sent to Kristen Lucas during their ‘texting affair.'” The Sun apparently does not attempt to confirm Zack Taylor’s assertions themselves, instead outsourcing that job to…Zack Taylor. “Taylor,” the paper notes, “stressed he has yet to confirm that it is the councillor.”
1:11 p.m., Thursday.
Taylor publishes “ANOTHER WOMAN COMES FORWARD IN THE ADAM GIAMBRONE SCANDAL.” The woman, says Taylor, alleges “never ha[ving] sex or anything” with Giambrone, “but we used to text each other all the time.” In a later update to the post, Taylor notes that the woman cannot produce any text messages. He runs a larger photo of her, and her name, nonetheless: Ashley Tanner. Cumulatively, there is no evidence whatsoever of a relationship, of a text message relationship, of text messages, or that the woman is who Taylor claims she is. (This is the only Ashley Tanner we can find in Toronto, and we can’t place either of the two photos—apparently taken at the same event—at any Toronto venue.) The woman claims, says Taylor, “I will not be commenting more about this as I’m not a ‘fameseeker’ like the other girl.” Taylor does not notice the irony.
10:19 p.m., Thursday.
The Sun publishes “Giambrone linked to another young lady: Gossip website.” Its lede is “More sexy skeletons are coming out of Councillor Adam Giambrone’s closet,” which, were the bit about sexy skeletons true, would certainly make for a much more interesting sex scandal. Instead, the Sun alleges a “texting relationship” in an article which is little more than a re-write of Taylor’s with slightly more colourful adjectives (“the randy Red Rocket commissioner”; “buxom Ashley”). The Sun, once again, apparently makes no attempt to verify the story in any way, deferring wholly to what they call Taylor’s “reporting.” And then the paper prints what must be the most ludicrous lie of all: Taylor’s site, they say, is “one of the top 10 in North America.” There is literally no quantitative or qualitative measure that would justify such a claim. But this is the Toronto Sun, and that, it seems, is par for the course.