A fake Twitter account leads into the dark recesses of the Ford campaign

A fake Twitter account leads into the dark recesses of the Ford campaign

The account header for the fictional Karen Philby

This past weekend, @QueensQuayKaren’s followers on Twitter learned that they were not chasing a cat-loving bookworm, but rather a ghost created in the dark recesses of Rob Ford’s mayoral campaign. The facts about this fictional woman came out in a pair of stories last Friday—one in Maclean’s and the other in the Globe and Mail. Basically, when Dieter Doneit-Henderson started bragging that he had a tape that would bring down Ford, campaign chief Nick Kouvalis told his junior spokesperson Fraser MacDonald to get that tape, no matter what. And that’s where the trouble started.

From the Globe:

Posing on Twitter as [George] Smitherman supporter @queensquaykaren, whose bio described her as a “downtown Toronto gal who likes politics, my cat Mittens and a good book,” Mr. Macdonald sent direct messages, promising to slip the tape to a reporter. Mr. Doneit-Henderson e-mailed the audio file within a day.

Mr. Kouvalis listened, horrified. “It was like, ‘Pack your bags. This campaign is over.’” He summoned Rob, Doug, Randy and Diane to the Deco boardroom and played them the recording.

After the stories came out, MacDonald quickly deleted the Twitter account, but not soon enough for the Internet. The sprightly folks at Torontoist got a near-complete archive of all of Karen Philby’s tweets, and Doneit-Henderson has put all of his correspondence with Karen/MacDonald on-line as well. They don’t make the Ford campaign look good, what with all the sly hints at homophobia, allegations that Smitherman was on drugs and calling Sarah Thomson a “surly bitch.”

There’s plenty of anger being directed at MacDonald and the Ford campaign, but the other side to this story is what the Ford camp did with the Doneit-Henderson tape once they got it. The Globe tells us, “The team decided to get out in front of the story and leak the recording to a friendly columnist at a local tabloid. A June 17 front-page headline blared that he’d been set up.” That friendly columnist was Sue-Ann Levy, the local tabloid was the Toronto Sun, and the original story is here.

There’s a lot of anger at the Ford campaign for polluting Twitter (which, like the rest of the Internet, was totally unsullied by lies before this) but not a lot of anger, from what we can see, directed at Levy or the Sun for getting expertly played like trombones. Does no one care about what happens in the dinosaur media anymore? Or is nobody all that surprised?

• Rob Ford’s Team Created a Fake Twitter Account, and This Is It [Torontoist]
• Rob Ford: The lone wolf who has to learn to lead a pack [Globe and Mail]
• How Rob Ford won Toronto [Maclean’s]