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Canada Doug Ford evades real scrutiny by hiring his own reporter

03:15  07 may  2018
03:15  07 may  2018 Source:   thestar.com

Doug Ford assured developers he plans to open up Greenbelt to housing development

  Doug Ford assured developers he plans to open up Greenbelt to housing development Doug Ford assured developers he plans to open up Greenbelt to housing developmentIn a video recorded Feb. 12 and shared with the media Monday by the governing Liberals, Ford said the 800,000-hectare swath of land is “just farmer fields.

Doug Ford being (fake) interviewed by his own staff for his Facebook page.© Provided by Toronto Star Doug Ford being (fake) interviewed by his own staff for his Facebook page.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it appears Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford has vastly upgraded his opinion of reporters and the news media.

In his former incarnation as Toronto city councillor, Ford called reporters trying to hold his mayor brother, Rob, to account “sucky little kids” who “lie through their teeth.”

But look!

Here he is, about to set out on the June 7 campaign trail, and how has he chosen to frame himself as a transparent candidate willing to be held to account?

In TV news-style videos on Facebook that have a PC apparatchik pretend to be a reporter while Ford pretends to present himself for media scrutiny.

Wynne Liberals would expand Greenbelt if elected

  Wynne Liberals would expand Greenbelt if elected TORONTO - Ontario's governing Liberals are promising to expand a large stretch of protected land around the Toronto region if re-elected next month, a pledge that comes after the province's Tories backtracked on a promise to allow housing development in the green space. The future of the Greenbelt — the world's largest permanently protected green space — has been a political hot potato roughly a week before Ontario's election campaign gets underway. The future of the Greenbelt — the world's largest permanently protected green space — has been a political hot potato roughly a week before Ontario's election campaign gets underway.

Whatever one makes of the Ford Nation Live sham, it does say something about the merit of real journalism.

Ford is a candidate who has broken with tradition and declined to have a media bus accompany him while he campaigns. He ducks reporters at most every turn. He has offered Ontarians next to nothing by way of a platform.

So how does he seek to camouflage that evasiveness?

By using the frame of traditional news coverage – without, of course, the fact-checking and accountability - to establish credibility.

This exercise is the very definition of fake news.

Fake news is not, as many think, mere errors in reporting. Journalism is practised by human beings. By definition, there will be errors. The moreso because it is a craft practised in modern times with shrinking staffs feeding ever more platforms at ever faster pace.

Doug Ford creates simulated news to counter media that ‘isn’t going to give us a fair shake’

  Doug Ford creates simulated news to counter media that ‘isn’t going to give us a fair shake’ The FordNation Live pieces underline Ford’s fractious relationship with journalists, who he has repeatedly accused of bias against him — and outright lyingThe report on the Ontario Conservative Leader’s electricity-rates announcement this week looked and felt like an actual TV-news item.

But journalism has codes of conduct, standards and mechanisms of accountability.

Its first obligation is to the truth. Its first loyalty is to citizens. It is a discipline of verification. Its errors are admitted and corrected as soon as possible.

Fake news is the intentional production and publication, for self-serving, misleading or malevolent ends, of material that is untrue or untested.

Whether he knew it or not, Ford chose an auspicious time to embark on this charade.

Last Thursday, journalists marked World News Day, celebrating the power of journalism to change lives, communities, business and government.

The day also commemorated those journalists who have in recent years been killed during or for the practice of their craft.

For all Doug Ford’s insults, journalists around the world have put their lives on the line while he declines to even take questions – other, perhaps, than the softballs served up by an employee.

'Taking matters into his own hands': Doug Ford's media strategy includes his own reporter

  'Taking matters into his own hands': Doug Ford's media strategy includes his own reporter The Ontario PCs are using political staff to file online TV 'reports' about Doug Ford as he campaigns in the provincial election. It is easy for her to get access to Ford: after all, she is his executive assistant and former press secretary.

Ford’s ad campaign attempts to win for himself the credibility that comes to a candidate willing to be questioned on the details, intent, purpose and potential consequences of his or her plans.

That credibility properly accrues from a willingness to have character, competence and ability to think and perform under pressure tested.

To be sure, political campaigns have been ever more staged and controlled in recent generations – with genuine public exposure limited and words tightly scripted to cast the candidate in an almost supernatural light.

The official PC campaign ads say, for instance, that “Doug Ford is here for the people of Ontario – to clean up the hydro mess, to bring jobs back, to end hallway health care, to put money back in your pocket, and to restore accountability in government.”

It would be a service to the people of Ontario he purports to respect if reporters could spend some time asking Ford to explain how that string of impressive promises might actually be achieved.

Voters deserve the opportunity to kick the tires on any vehicle they’re being offered. Instead, Ford appears interested only in having his tires pumped by fawning underlings.

In short, these Facebook videos amount to Ford placing around his neck the gold medal for winning a race he declines to actually run.

The only consolation is his implicit recognition of the value and virtue of real reporters on the job.

To paraphrase Sally Fields, he may not like us, but he respects us.

He really respects us.

Doug Ford promises to cut gas prices by 10 cents a litre .
A PC government would cut gas taxes a total of 10 cents a litre, Doug Ford said Wednesday. The tax break of a dime includes the 4.3 cents per litre carbon tax the Wynne Liberal administration implemented last year with the rest coming from a reduction in the provincial excise tax. “These are real savings,” Ford said at an Oakville gas station where a litre of regular unleaded gas is priced at just under $1.36. © Tara Walton Ontario PC leader Doug Ford speaks during a campaign stop in Niagara Falls, Ont. on May 14, 2018.

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