Saturday, December 14, 2013

"In its plain and ordinary meaning" Rob Ford doesn't know when to shut the .... up neither does Conrad Black!

Good Day Readers:

Below (Italics) is a partial transcript from CBC Radio's nightly public affairs program As It Happens hosted by veteran journalist/reporter Carol Off recorded a couple days after Zoomer TV's interview with Rob Ford. Right about now Zoomer must be wishing it had never heard of Conrad Black.

Ms Off does a masterful job of shredding Conrad Black for his lack of preparation and research prior to his Rob Ford interview. His amateurish approach is quite noteworthy given his self-professed excellence as a researcher and writer of historical biographies. Get this. He wasn't even aware the police had conducted a week long investigation of the Daniel Dale incident completely absolving him of any misconduct.

The Illustrious Cast of Players
The Litigator: Blakes, Cassels & Grayton's Paul B. Schabas media and defamation expertise
The President: Moses Znaimer, President ZoomerMedia
The Vice-President: Rob Wright, Corporate Services and Television Operations
The Vice-President: Beverley Shenken, Programming
The Unindicted Co-Conspirator: Conrad Black

In some ways this is reminiscent of Watergate where Richard Nixon was named an unindicted co-conspirator. Alas, Conrad Black for such a sloppy, amateurish, wimpish interview?

What's going to get interesting is if Rob Ford absolutely refuses to retract the contentious words or even more interesting if he does offer a retraction but it's half-assed and backhanded.

Clare L. Pieuk

Off : You know something about that, you know how damaging it is, and yet when Rob Ford said that Daniel Dale, a Toronto Star reporter, Rob Ford said, “I have little kids. When a guy is taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say the word, but you start thinking, what’s this guy all about?” What other word is there but the word “pedophile?”

Black: Peeping Tom.

Off: Pervert.

Black: Well, yeah —

Off: Rob Ford said that Daniel Dale he believed to be a pervert.

Black: You’re asking me a question. If you’re going to answer your own questions, you needn’t have phoned me at all. I think there’s room for a greater variety of interpretations and levels of perversion if you insist on using that word, but I took it as the lower end where it was trespassing, snooping, and excessive, not necessarily maladjusted or psychiatrically unbalanced curiosity.

Now perhaps I’m just being a benign optimist, but I know that I’ve been roundly accused in the sorts of places you would imagine I might be, for not leaping to the defence of the Toronto Star reporter, but the fact is, Carol, I don’t know if you’re a parent, but many of your listeners would be, and I don’t think that any of us who have or had at one time young children under the age of ten would be particularly pleased about seeing some stranger out leering over the back fence looking at them, and that’s a disturbing thing.

I’m afraid I don’t get on board here the transposition of the status of the aggrieved party on this particular instance from Mr. Mayor to Mr. Dale. I have no grievance to Mr. Dale. I quoted his figures on my analysis of the budget performance of the Ford administration quite respectfully, and I thought he did a good report on that. I don’t know him apart from that. It is disturbing that total strangers are doing that, but it is disturbing that total strangers are doing that over your backyard.

Off: What evidence is there that he did that?

Black: Well, I was taking the Mayor’s word for it.

Off: Uh huh. But you established with him that Rob Ford does lie. He admitted he lies.

Black: But he doesn’t always lie.

Off: But if he’s suggesting that someone’s a pedophile or a pervert, is that not something where you ask him the obvious question?

Black: I did not take it that way at all. He wasn’t saying [Dale] was a pedophile.

Off: What other interpretation is there?

Black: I’ve just given you some Carol, I think you’re overdoing this. The fact is, the guy is a journalist, he is in some manner allegedly looking over the Fords’ back fence, he’s staring at young children playing in the yard. You don’t have to be a pedophile, you can just be unduly nosy, and frankly, lots of journalists are. And it is annoying to the person whose property is being spied on in that way. That doesn’t mean he’s a pedophile, I didn’t take that Ford was saying that.

Off: Actually Daniel Dale and the story has been investigated by the police about Dale being not on the property, but in the public area behind his property where he was taking pictures of a field, a public property that Mr. Ford would like to buy. He didn’t look over the fence, there were no kids in the yard that anyone knows of, and the police investigation said there was absolutely no substance to this. This was all reported a long time ago. You’re known for your research. Did you not know that this was completely wrong?

Black: I didn’t know any of that. (underlining CyberSmokeBlog)

Off: So you accepted what Ford had to say?

Black: I mean, if your summary is correct, then the mayor lied. I still don’t see it as an allegation of pedophilia. It’s an overhasty leap out of the starting blocks to assume that, then certainly, if the account you just gave is accurate, then the mayor lied. And I would resent that if he did.
Full Text: Daniel Dale's libel notice against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale has begun proceedings for a libel suit against Mayor Rob Ford over statements the mayor made in a Vision TV interview with Conrad Black. The libel notice also names Vision TV, ZoomerMedia Ltd. and ZoomerMedia Ltd.’s TV division.
This is the full text of the libel notice, from Blakes, Cassels & Grayton LLP of Toronto, as addressed to the mayor; ZoomerMedia president Moses Znaimer; vice-president (corporate services and television operations) Rob Wright; and vice president (programming) Beverley Shenken.

Dear Mayor Ford, Mr. Znaimer, Mr. Wright and Ms. Shenken:

We act for Daniel Dale, a reporter with the Toronto Star.

This letter shall constitute notice under section 5 (1) of Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act. In a television show “The Zoomer”, hosted by Conrad Black and broadcast on December 9 and December 10, 2013, on Vision TV (owned by ZoomerMedia Limited and ZoomerMedia Limited, TV Division – all collectively “ZoomerMedia"), Toronto Mayor Rob Ford stated of Mr. Dale:
  • “Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say the word, but you start thinking, you know, what’s this guy all about?”
This is a vicious libel of Mr. Dale. In its plain and ordinary meaning, Rob Ford is calling Mr. Dale a paedophile.

Mayor Ford then went on to have the following exchange with Mr. Black:
  • Ford: [...] this is about 5 o’clock at night, when it’s getting a little dark. I ran around the back, I live on the back of an RV and I caught this guy, on the bricks, over the fence, taking pictures. I got pretty upset. He started screaming and yelling, dropped his phone, dropped his camera and everything.
  • Black: Did he run away?
  • Ford: Oh he ran away. He fled on foot. I was upset. That’s just crossing the line.
  • Black: Was it on city property? Or was he trespassing on your property?
  • Ford: He went on, he went around. I guess it would be on city property. It was on my property, on the fence. And he had cinderblocks that he had to step on to get over the fence. And he started taking pictures.
These statements are false in virtually every detail, including, in their plain and ordinary meaning and by implication, the assertion that Mr. Dale trespassed on the Mayor’s property and acted surreptitiously and inappropriately. A police investigation found no evidence that Mr. Dale went onto the Mayor’s property or peered over his fence, nor did he take any steps to do so.

The defamatory statements made are completely unfounded, as Mr. Ford and ZoomerMedia know. They were uttered maliciously by Mr. Ford, and broadcast and rebroadcast maliciously by ZoomerMedia.

Further, as Mr. Ford and ZoomerMedia anticipated, Ford’s statements about Mr. Dale have been repeated and republished by mass media, including large daily newspapers. This was a natural and probable consequence of the broadcast.

Indeed, as the show was pre-recorded, ZoomerMedia had ample opportunity to edit out these grossly defamatory statements by Mr. Ford. It failed to do so. Instead, ZoomerMedia promoted the upcoming broadcast of the interview with Mayor Ford far and wide, including on its website.

Mayor Ford subsequently compounded the harm caused by stating, at a press conference on the afternoon of December 10, in response to questions about the defamatory statements, that “I stand by every word,” and encouraged people to watch the show. He further aggravated Mr. Dale’s damages by his statements this morning on the Washington D.C. radio show, The Sports Junkies.

The false and defamatory statements have caused and are continuing to cause serious harm to Mr. Dale’s professional and personal reputation. Mr. Dale reserves all of his rights, including to seek damages from Mayor Ford and ZoomerMedia.

ZoomerMedia and Rob Ford should immediately retract the false and deamatory statements in their entirety, and apologize to Mr. Dale – publicly, abjectly, unreservedly and completely – if they wish to even begin to undo the harm caused by the broadcast of Mr. Ford’s outrageous statements.

Yours very truly,
Paul B. Schabas


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