Tag Archives: media

Who cares about Toronto? National newscasts do. Who else?

It’s bound to happen one day, and the sooner, the better. When our earth will require suppositories, the place it will be applied at is going to be Toronto.

Have you followed national newscasts lately, be it on radio or on television? The leading item the last few days: did Toronto mayor Bob Ford smoke crack cocaine or did he not? Was some grainy and perfectly inconclusive video footage the smoking gun or was it not? And so on, and so forth.

The self-important Toronto journalists, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward rolled into one, one and all of them, with Egon Erwin Kisch thrown in, for good measure, shout questions, most of them perfectly loaded, none of them really relevant, as if the world was coming to its end.

An aside for Toronto’s intrepid journalists: if you happen not to know who the heck was Egon Erwin Kisch, don’t despair. You can’t know it all. To enlighten you, as if you needed it: following in Dante Alighieri’s footsteps, Egon Erwin Kisch was the first investigative reporter of modern times. How were YOU supposed to know?

Our national broadcasters, public and private, the lot, think that anyone outside of that gigantic village a.k.a. the centre of universe as we know it, cares about their mayor’s smoking habits.

Who knows whether anybody in Toronto itself really cares, but that’s another matter altogether.

In their coverage, the Toronto journalists ignore perfectly that their police chief is absolutely out of bounds. Announcing the video that reminded him of earlier media reports, a remark that triggered all that frenzy, Bill Blair went on to offer his personal opinion as to what mayor Bob Ford ought to do. He, thus he told the multitudes, was making his suggestions as a citizen.

A surprise for you, police chief: that’s not cricket. You may have whatever personal opinions you wish to have, but these opinions must not interfere with your performance as a professional. Expressing your personal opinions on matters in public domain, and on matters under police investigation in particular, should have triggered something else: an avalanche of calls for your immediate resignation. Not from your office of a police chief, Sir, but from the police force.

Of course, Toronto’s journalists were busy interfering with mayor Bob Ford’s private property, ignoring his requests that they leave his driveway forthwith. How could they notice their police chief’s perfect misbehaviour if it happened to coincide with their lust for their mayor’s blood?

What is really behind the scandal, nobody seems to know, or, better: those who know keep their mouths shut.

Considering you wouldn’t catch a Toronto journalist with her or his mouth shut, there’s but one conclusion to be made: they know practically nothing.

It could be that mayor Bob Ford could really be a crack cocaine addict. Except, those amongst us who have seen a crack cocaine addict or two would confirm that people like that don’t look as healthy as mayor Bob Ford does.

It could be that mayor Bob Ford stepped on a toe or two in matters involving tenders for publicly-funded projects.

It could be anything else, for that matter, even though the option with toes the mayor interfered with looks quite probable, given his size.

Still, the entire scenario resembles the good old rule about journalism: reporters cover events, journalists think THEY are the events.

Having followed a national newscast or two the last few days, one is tempted to say the latter rule prevails.

Who cares in the rest of the country is of no concern to them, so long as their faces, carrying seriously stern expressions, can fill the air all over the place.

One day, they’ll wake up, let’s hope. When? The day medical people start applying suppositories to mother earth, that’s when.

Racism – or storm in a tea cup?

Wayne Simmonds picked up speed, skating in on a shootout attempt against Jordan Pearce when a banana flew by and landed close to his path.

Simmonds did score on Detroit’s Jordan Pearce, but his Flyers lost the exhibition game in London, Ont., nevertheless.

As it was, until that moment, your typical pre-season NHL game, both teams testing rookies and line combinations for the moment real shooting starts in less than a fortnight. The banana changed the picture. Everybody’s up in arms, the league issues a strongly worded statement under Commissioner Gary Bettman’s signature, the teams join the angry chorus, a huge number of players run to their electronic devices so fans see them tweeting their indignation, and Wayne Simmonds himself declines to comment on the incident.

So far as everybody is concerned, throwing a banana at a player whose colour of skin is dark constitutes pure and unadulterated racism.

A somewhat premature outcry, don’t you think?

A devil’s advocate would ask a simple question: how do you know the person who threw the banana was racist? Do you know who it was, in the first place? Have you spoken to that person yet?

Phrased differently: are you not putting the cart before the horse?

Some of us, for example, might remember old movies, you know, the strong silent type of movies, black-and-white, too, where throwing banana peels in the path of someone pursuing somebody else used to bring the pursuer to a spectacular fall, the more spectacular, the louder the explosion of laughter in the audience. So, what if the unknown perpetrator just wanted young Mr. Simmonds to slip and not score in his shootout attempt? Ridiculous, granted. The ice is slippery enough as it is. But still: who has proof that it was a racist slur rather than an idiotic attempt to influence the outcome of the game?

Young Mr. Simmonds, unlike the general media and many of his NHL colleagues and bosses, seems to be wise enough to decide the incident is nothing he would care to talk, let alone think, about.

Something else should have happened: the referee should have stopped young Mr. Simmonds, call it a game, and award the win to the visiting team. The home team didn’t do its job. It is supposed, among many other things, to make sure there’s enough security in the arena and no debris should be flying to the ice (with the exception of hats when someone scores his third goal in that particular game).

Of course, it’s the same company that owns the Flyers (Comcast) that also owns the London, Ont., arena. That would mean the game would go to the Wings, as it has, anyhow. But still: the time to react to unacceptable debris on the ice would have been then, and not the flood of stories decrying racism that would appear later on.

By the way, a devil’s advocate’s next question would be: are you (meaning those who automatically assume the banana-throwing incident had racist connotations) not racist yourselves? Why are you so fast jumping to conclusions? Just because they are politically correct?

Yes, yes, yes, there is this question: who in their right mind would be bringing bananas to a hockey game? But how do we know it’s not part of the perpetrator’s diet, as prescribed by her or his physician?

The incident was (and is) deplorable, no doubt about that.

But the lynching of a perpetrator whom we don’t know, whom we haven’t asked at least about what he was thinking when he threw the banana, is deplorable, too.