Time for Gawker to Put Up or Shut Up

I am troubled by what has been going on in Toronto.

For nearly two weeks, Canada’s largest city has been in the midst of chaos and uncertainty over a video allegedly showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.

The allegations were made by John Cook, editor of Gawker, a New York City based gossip blog, on May 16. Cook claims to have been contacted by a tipster and flown to Toronto to see the video and asked his readers to send him $200,000 to buy the video.

The video allegations have even made it into the realm of late night television with Jon Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel and Jay Leno all, for lack of a better word, “crackingjokes at Ford’s expense.

The $200,000 goal was attained on May 27. Unfortunately for Gawker, there’s one problem. They’ve lost contact with the tipster. I wonder how often Cook told his teachers that his dog ate his homework.

Well, this is what happens when you do business with drug dealers.

From where I sit, Gawker and these drug dealers deserve each other.

For his part, Ford denies the allegations.

It should be noted Cook gave himself an out when he wrote, “But if they disappear, or sell it elsewhere, we will donate every penny we receive to a Canadian non-profit that helps people suffering from addiction and its consequences.” That seems awfully convenient.

Please forgive me if I’m not overwhelmed by Cook’s purported concern for Canadians suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. If you’re going to claim that you’ve seen and can produce a video of the mayor of Canada’s largest city smoking cracking cocaine then you had damn well better back it up. 

In other words, it’s time for Gawker to put up or shut up.

If Gawker cannot produce this alleged video and substantiate it claims then why should we believe anything it has to tell us? As of this writing, Cook has given the tipster a month to produce the video. Well, it would seem that Gawker isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. At the very least, its readers should think twice before giving it their money.

On the other hand, why would anyone give Gawker money to see a video of Rob Ford smoking crack unless they hate Ford in the first place?

For those of you unfamiliar with Canadian politics, I should explain that Ford is a conservative mayor in a left-wing city. Needless to say, the left-wing in Toronto isn’t all that different from the left-wing in Boston, New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. It cannot abide anyone who does not think like them especially if that person holds elected office. Since Ford was elected to Toronto’s top job in November 2010, he has supplanted even Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the bête noir of Canada’s Left.

Indeed, in 2012 there was an effort through the courts to remove Ford from office over his failure to pay a fine which had arisen over a conflict of interest that occurred while Ford was still a city councilor concerning city resources he had used for his football foundation. Last November, an Ontario Superior Court Judge ordered Ford removed from office. At the time of the decision, Ford stated, “It comes down to the left-wing politics. The left wing wants me out of here and they’ll do anything in their power. I’m gonna fight tooth and nail to keep my job as mayor.” Ford appealed the decision and in January 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeals overturned it.

Needless to say, these latest allegations against Ford have the Left licking their lips and salivating over the possibility that Ford might leave office before the end of his term in 2014. Commenting about the Toronto Star, Jonathan Kay of the National Post wrote, “You can almost hear the gnashing of teeth at the Star, which, since 2010, has effectively dedicated its entire journalistic mission to bringing down Ford in one way or another.”

However, in the past few days, Ford has fired his chief of staff and two of his press secretaries have resigned.

So could there be more to this story? It’s possible. Toronto Police were contacted when a member of Ford’s staff indicated he had reliable information as to the whereabouts of the video. However, it remains to be seen whether this “reliable information” is, in fact, reliable.

As far as I’m concerned, as of now, there is no story. All we have are some drug dealers who want to sell a video and a blog willing to spend $200,000 to buy it. Only now the buyer and seller can’t get together. Meanwhile, a man’s reputation is being ruined and the people of Toronto are left holding the bag.

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