Backlash to Media Coverage: The Inevitable Ford Situation.

The Q Media Panel agrees:  Star coverage of the Fords has been too much for too long.

The Q Media Panel agrees: Star coverage of the Fords has been too much for too long.

You heard it here first folks.

Actually, that’s not true. If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you probably heard it there first.

In the early days of the Rob Ford “Crackgate” story, I was quick to point out that the Toronto media (in particular, the Star, but they were hardly alone in this respect) had been going after the Ford brothers in a way that questioned objectivity for far too long — and that quite a few people were likely to question the gleeful coverage of the crack story due to the longstanding feud that seemed to exist between the media and Bob Rob and Doug.

Not too long afterwards, I blogged about it.

Turns out that I was pretty much bang on.

Here the Q Media Panel, for the most part, echo my sentiments.

And here are some stories on recent polls that speak volumes:

Globe: Rob Ford’s Approval Ratings Remarkably Steady

The Star: Rob Ford’s Popularity Unaffected

CTV: Torontonian Evenly Split in Their Belief of Rob Ford Crack Allegations

Now, what would be interesting would be a poll that questions the effect of the media on how Torontonians view Ford — and on whether or not Torontonians believe that the media is being objective in covering both this story and the Ford brothers in general.

But, of course, you’re not going to find a mainstream media outlet in Canada willing to pay for that bit of research.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There is enough damning evidence — even without these latest scandals — to suggest that the Fords should be removed from office. And I also think that it is highly unlikely that reporters from major news outlets are going to risk their careers by making up a story about a fake videotape. Or another one about hash dealing.

But the media sure hasn’t done itself any favours in how they’ve covered this Mayorship — or the scandals that have arisen during it.

More often that not, they’ve been guilty of making themselves a major part of the story.

And that, folks, is just lousy journalism. It is also one of the reasons why the Ford brothers are (somewhat) successfully taking on the roles of underdogs and heroes. At least with a substantial segment of the Toronto population.

Fires are easy to start, but difficult to manage. And it is surprising how often controlled burns blow out of control.

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