Rob Ford is on his way to becoming a one-term mayor. And one of the biggest reasons he'll lose any future election bid is his staggeringly awful handing of the media.
Mayor Ford has shown on numerous occasions that he has little time or respect for the media (outside of a few boosterish, right-wing outlets that treat him with kid gloves). His infamous radio interview with CBC the morning after his election win (yelling to his football players and cutting the interview short) was just one example of his rough media relations skills.
But this latest CBC 911 call debacle brings his media relations ineptitude to a whole new level. Mary Walsh's 'Marg Delahunty' character has long been a Canadian comedy institution, buttonholing Canadian politicians and submitting them to satirical interviews. Even robotic Prime Minister Stephen Harper made time to be interviewed by Marg. But rather than go with the flow and poke a bit of fun at himself, Ford called 911 on Marg and her CBC crew - not once, but twice. And media reports today portray his second call as being profanity-laden, with Ford calling the 911 dispatchers 'bitches' and saying, "Don't you f--ing know? I'm Rob f--ing Ford, the mayor of this city!"
If Rob Ford thought he could avoid any media scrutiny by calling 911, he was obviously mistaken. The mainstream media is having a field-day with this story. At the time I'm writing this, there are hundreds of stories listed on Google News in print, radio and TV and all across the country. Most recently, the mayor and his brother Doug have tried to do damage control by telling the media that the 911 call wasn't really as bad as the CBC is making it sound. The result? More controversy and more negative media coverage.
If he had simply gone along with the gag, shown a bit of humour and let Marg ask her questions, it would have been a (mildly) funny bit that a small percentage of Canadians would have seen. But thanks to his ignorance (or indifference) of how the media works, today Rob Ford looks like an arrogant, crude and disrespectful bully.