Painting the candidate as the victim of “baseless attacks” and “outright lies,” and calling the paper one with “clear biases and [a] transparent agenda” that is “openly working against the democractic process,” the latest email message from Rob Ford’s campaign to supporters (included below) pulls no punches: the Toronto Star is the enemy.
The paper and the candidate haven’t been collegial in recent memory, but things got much tenser after the Star published a piece in July suggesting that Ford might have “shook” and “slapped” a high school student in 2001 on the football team that he coached.
Ford himself didn’t respond immediately, but his campaign called that story “outrageous,” “slanderous,” and “patently incorrect.” While the Star‘s original article incorporated accounts from others who called the allegation into question, the Globe went further, finding the football player himself, who called the Star‘s story “completely untrue.”
(A note at the head of the Star‘s original article now reads: “This material subject to legal complaint by Rob Ford.”)
That wasn’t the end of it. When Ford’s Wikipedia page was edited to include a link to parody site RobFordMayor.com—a site that Ford’s lawyers quickly saw to the disposal of; it’s back now—the campaign became convinced that the edits were made from the Toronto Star‘s offices. (More likely, they came from another Torstar property, like Metro or Eye Weekly.)
And that was all enough for the Ford team to publicly announce in August that they would stop returning calls from the Star.
A Star editorial published on Thursday, which asks Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, and Sarah Thomson to drop out of the race, must have been the final straw, though. “If [those candidates] refuse to end their ego-fuelled campaigns, which is most probable,” wrote Bob Hepburn, “then these also-ran candidates would be partly to blame for helping Ford become mayor if he beats Smitherman.”
We’re waiting for comment from the Star, and will update back when we get it. We haven’t tried to reach Ford’s team, though—they don’t return our calls either.