BB coverage of Rob Ford

Really? In what possible way is Rob Ford NOT a laughable bumblefuck? Cory may have a hardon for hizonner, but respectable? Laudable? Viable? Not this train wreck.

Edit- Oh, no fair removing your complaint for which you were chastised. It ruptures the space-time continuum.

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I really enjoy reading Boing Boing, but Cory’s obsession with Rob Ford makes me feel uncomfortable. I appreciate this blog belongs to him, and that I don’t really have much say in the matter, but his wording makes it seem like he really has a personal vendetta against him.

Is there any way I can read a filtered view of Boing Boing’s newsfeed that excludes Cory’s posts until this whole Rob Ford thing blows over?

This is not intended to be a personal attack against Cory specifically. I enjoy the rest of Boing Boing, and I usually enjoy Cory’s other posts too.




If Boing Boing’s coverage is a personal vendetta, how do you explain the coverage around the world? I live in TO, and have seen Toronto news coverage morph from “Hey! The film festival’s on again!” once a year to Rob Ford as top news story. We have CNN in City Hall, for crying out loud. That never happens.

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That’s awesome! Thanks!

How much of this other international coverage refers to him as “laughable bumblefuck”? How much other coverage presents unsubstantiated speculation as fact (e.g., Toronto mayor Rob Ford “drunkenly calls radio show” to defend Rob Ford, calling himself “Ian”)?

Unlike the previous commenter, I do believe this is actual fairly typical of Cory’s style—especially when it comes to his posts on copyright—as he seems quite fond of calling people names.

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Actually quite a few Toronto-based sites use that term. Of course CNN doesn’t because they don’t use language like that in their reporting.

It is true that the coverage of Rob Ford shows a clear bias against Rob Ford. The folks who run boing boing don’t seem to think Rob Ford is doing a good job as mayor of Toronto. They do think the current copyright situation is bad. They do think that it is fun to cover bananas and banana-shaped things. They do like Disney’s haunted mansion.

If you like Rob Ford as much as I don’t like Disney then I can understand why you cringe at certain headlines, but it’s not a “personal vendetta” its an opinion on a curated site that we presumably visit because we care about the opinions of the curators.


I’m well aware of the global coverage. I read the news. Boing Boing is not only re-publishing stories that have already been reported elsewhere, but does it in a spiteful and childish manner which makes it seem like a cheap tabloid.

I’ve been reading Boing Boing for years, and I know it’s not impartial. But I don’t think it’s ever felt this immature before.

I guess maybe we could ask why Cory feels it is necessary to keep posting these stories, especially since they are already receiving adequate coverage elsewhere. The phrase ‘flogging a dead horse’ springs to mind…


I think the reason CNN doesn’t use language like that is because they actually engage in (reasonably neutral) reporting of facts, and not opinion-based blogging. The reason that BoingBoing—and presumably the other TO-based sites that also use the term—does use language like this is because most what appears here is personal. As you say, some of them personally like Disneyland, and some like bananas, some like to criticize copyright and others like to criticize big companies who copy the ideas (if not necessarily the expression) of small artists. And some of them like to complain when bloggers are treated differently than journalists, even though the treatment of Ford is a great example of why the distinction between the two is meaningful.

And by the way, I’m not seeing a lot of other sites that refer to him as “laughable bumblefuck,” other than those linking to BoingBoing.

Cory is Torontonian by birth. I think he lives elsewhere now, but Rob Ford is hometown news for him, and relevant to the people and culture he cares about. It’s not like he’s obsessing over a tribal leader in Tajikistan.

I assume Cory keeps posting these stories because (1) he is interested in what is going on in his home town, (2) more information keeps coming out, and (3) Rob Ford continues to be employed as mayor.

I think the better question is why people sign up purely to complain that the editors are posting stuff on a personal blog.

[quote=“fireshadow, post:45, topic:14427”]I think the better question is why people sign up purely to complain that the editors are posting stuff on a personal blog.
You must have missed the part where I said I’d been reading the site for years. It’s not my fault that Boing Boing change their commenting system every few months requiring me to re-register. I may not be a prolific commenter, but that doesn’t mean I signed up purely to complain.

Also, if Boing Boing is really intended to be a personal blog, it shouldn’t be public (make it invite only), nor should it invite feedback by providing a comments system. Indeed, what’s the point in having a comments system if you don’t want feedback?


You are right, most of the sites I found (slightly different search terms, but similar results) did end up linking to boing boing, so fair is fair on that point.

Journalism includes opinion pieces, every newspaper runs opinion pieces every day. And those opinion pieces may not use terms like “bumblefuck” but they have, recently and regularly, called for Ford’s resignation, said he is damaging to the city.

Here are some quotations from Canada’s largest newspapers:
“Toronto deserves better than a raging bull as mayor.” (Toronto Sun editorial)

“But Toronto remains stuck with this particular warlock, and it will be for some time to come.” (Toronto Star editorial)

“Like so much of what the man has said and done over the past few weeks, it was a confusing and sad spectacle.” (Globe and Mail editorial)

“The travesty of his mayoralty must end, now, with his resignation. If he refuses, more drastic measures may be warranted.” (National Post editorial)

“Raging bull,” “warlock,” “confusing and sad,” and “travesty,” are arguably harsher than “laughable bumblefuck” which at least accused the mayor only of incompetence, not of criminality or malice. This is what journalists do, they tell the truth and they give opinions.

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Opinion pieces are different than journalism, and are typically marked as such.

That, however, is a minor quibble. I don’t believe that any opinion pieces published in major media have included unsubstantiated allegations in the guise of fact, and certainly none of them do so on a routine basis the way BoingBoing does. I don’t believe any responsible media publication presented as certain fact that it was Rob Ford who called a radio show, let alone asserted that he was drunk. In fact, most media published reports indicating it was almost certainly not Ford who called in. Nor did other media conclusively assert that Ford was a crack smoker before he confessed to it, yet BoingBoing routinely presented this as fact. I don’t believe this is how responsible or ethical journalism works.

Calling Ford a “sad spectacle,” a “warlock,” a “raging bull,” or a “travesty” is different than giving him an insultingly dismissive epithet that is used as a general pejorative and not used as an context-specific adjective. I mean, if the CBC always referred to the PM as Steven “sad spectacle” Harper there might be a valid comparison, but this isn’t what happens.

So basically, Boing Boing has the “give opinions” part of “tell the truth and […] give opinions” formula down, except they aren’t really giving informed, context-specific opinions so much as general indictments.

That drunk calling headline was an unproven assertion and I’ll give you that, though I still think it more likely it was true than not.

But you are looking for context as to calling Ford a dismissive name, his entire tenure is the context. Bill Weir from CNN said he has the impulse control of a small child. The allegations he is currently answering for go back to St. Patrick’s day of 2012. According to his staff he’s been regularly drunk at work the entire time he’s been in office. I’ve read at two different columns today saying that Ford has completely taken the bottom out for shameless behaviour. Reporters are baffled, having worked, up to this point, under the assumption that there is some basic level of civility that all politicians will adhere to.

Every story about Ford on boing boing has been about a stupid or mean spirited thing he has done. Cory (and boing boing more generally) chooses to report on Ford’s many problems and mistakes. You can call that bias if you want, but it is also context to call use an epithet to describe him just as every major media outlet in the world is doing right now.

If boing boing ran an earnest story about all of the good that Rob Ford has done and continued to use that epithet then that would be contextless (perhaps in such a story, “lovable bumblefuck” would be more appropriate).

How many Responsible News Outlets wish they could?


Again, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. Other major media outlets have managed to cover Ford and his missteps without resorting to ad-hominem epithets. And if every Boing Boing story about Rob Ford has been about stupid things he has done, why is it necessary to also refer to him as a “laughable bumblefuck” in those posts? Why can’t his actions speak for themselves, and why can’t analysis/opinion be about his specific actions instead of his general character as a “laughable bumblefuck”? You could even call him an alcoholic, a chronic liar, and wildly incompetent: each of these accusations would be more contextual than “laughable bumblefuck,” which is sadly dismissive without specifically criticizing Ford for anything.

And again, would it be appropriate for the CBC to use the term Stephen “sad spectacle” Harper in every critical story they run about him? And by this measure there should be absolutely nothing objectionable when tea party blogs talk about Barack Hussein Obama, let alone when they include even more unsavory epithets. Hey, they’re just voicing an opinion within the context of a critical post!

I think we both agree this is a bad thing, and that civility should be encouraged. I think that this baseline level of civility should extend to the media—Boing Boing included—as well.

I honestly doubt that many journalists that respect the profession actually wish they could. I’m sure they have a field day with Ford, however, and they probably find quite enough to say about him as it is.