It probably says something that Rob Ford is being more restrained and thoughtful than even the Toronto Star these days. Pressed by the Post for comment on Adam Giambrone’s taxi bill, he told Natalie Alcoba that “it’s not fair to single anyone out.” (The media similarly tried to extract a nutzoid soundbite from Ford following Giambrone’s pulling-out press conference, but he refused to indulge them then, too.) It’s one thing for the Toronto Sun to gleefully slap together cover stories about meaningless things, but (let’s be honest) we all hold the Star to a much higher standard.
“Councillor expensed chipmunk costume” is a wonderful phrase, to be sure, but do you know what the proper medium for it is? A tweet. Not a headline on the front page of a daily newspaper. Oh my goodness, Star, you came across something quirky on the City’s website! Good for you! *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*
There’s indeed lots of fascinating stuff among the receipts posted online, and everyone should be encouraged to browse them (if only for the insight they offer into what the job of being a city councillor actually involves). That’s how I stumbled across the Karen Stintz lunch bill that became the subject of my complaint to the Lobbyist Registrar and subsequent investigation into the dubious path that one particular billboard took on its road into existence. Perhaps the dailies might have come upon that story, too, if they were less enthralled by animal suits.
The Star employs very many good, dedicated people, and I’m sure they’re as embarrassed by this as anyone else. And I imagine that one of those people is Laurie Monsebraaten, the author of the “Chipmunk” article who usually does wonderful work as the paper’s “Social Justice Reporter” (a title which mercifully did not appear under her byline on this particular story). As Spacing contributor (and School Board candidate) Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler commented on Facebook, “To take Laurie off [her usual beat] for a day to write a petty ‘gotcha’ story is, in a nutshell, what’s wrong with journalism today.”