Rob Ford’s trip to Chicago, by the headlines

Rob Ford’s trip to Chicago, by the headlines

(Image: Christopher Drost) 

If anyone in Toronto was unaware that Rob Ford and a contingent of councillors and business types headed down to Chicago this week, it’s certainly not the fault of the local media. They’ve been publishing story after story about the trade mission, despite the fact that there wasn’t much to report: the mayor met Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, business leaders and politicians, attended panel discussions, and saw a few sights (the biggest drama was that Ford got a little confused about the whereabouts of Winnipeg). Below, a quick roadmap to the multitude of articles—and a reality check from the Chicago media.

First off, an attempt to manufacture a whiff of scandal from a not-at-all racy exchange between Ford and a reporter.
• ‘Are you going to be sleeping with me tonight?’ Mayor Rob Ford’s bizarre football exchange in Chicago [Toronto Star]

Without much hard news to report, pretty much anything Ford said became coverage-worthy. (Extra points for including the word “pumped.”)
Rob Ford ‘pumped’ about meeting Chicago mayor [Toronto Sun]
‘I’m really pumped up,’ Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gushes on meeting with Rahm Emanuel, connections to Chicago [National Post]
• In Chicago, Ford says ‘Toronto is an easy product to sell’ [CTV]
• In Chicago, Ford pledges to make Toronto’s qualities known [CTV]

Saying Ford travelled with a group of business and political delegates sounds boring. Dub them “Team Toronto,” and it sounds like they’re a sports team (or on one of those storied ’90s trade missions that Jean Chrétien led to China). Awesome!
• Rob Ford leads Team Toronto to Chicago [CBC]
• For Team Toronto, a junket to Chicago can be broadening [Globe and Mail]
• Rob Ford, Team Toronto head to Chicago to drum up business [Toronto Sun]

There were a few questions about who covered the cost of the junket—which was reasonable, considering Ford’s past scorn of trips as a waste of taxpayer money.
• Rob Ford declares Chicago trade mission won’t cost taxpayers ‘a dime’ despite evidence to the contrary [National Post]
• Taxpayers may get hit with some of Chicago trip’s costs [Toronto Sun]
• Councillors didn’t travel to Chicago by gravy train [Globe and Mail]

But, Ford insisted, the trade mission will create many business opportunities. Vague opportunities, but opportunities nonetheless.
• Rob Ford, Team Toronto head to Chicago to drum up business [Toronto Sun]
• Rob Ford’s Chicago trip could make big economic difference [Toronto Sun]
• Mayor Ford in Chicago: Toronto is open for business [Globe and Mail]

And finally, the coverage by Chicago media, which amounts to a measly two articles, both written by the same guy (the opening from his second piece: “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford spent two days in Chicago, and nobody noticed”). Plus, they both focus more on Ford’s past hijinks than on his current political goals. Sigh.
• Opinion: Sister City Mayors Are Like Brothers [NBC Chicago]
Opinion: Big, Obnoxious Toronto Mayor Visits Chicago, Blends In Too Well [NBC Chicago]