Globe and Mail calls Rob Ford fat, hilarity ensues
It’s official: after a 10-month mayoral campaign, the papers are running out of political things to talk about, and the media itself is becoming the story. The Saturday Globe and Mail’s city section ran a piece titled “Rob Ford’s not popular despite being fat. He’s popular because of it.” The article argues that voters like politicians with some literal heft to them and that weight loss was pretty much the only thing David Miller accomplished in his seven years as mayor. The piece, written by Stephen Marche, has gone over like a lead balloon and has been pulled from the Globe’s Web site.
According to OpenFile:
“The piece was taken off the site either late Friday or early Saturday by senior editors,” Sylvia Stead, the paper’s associate editor, explained by email on Sunday night. “However we are running a number of letters to the editor complaining about the piece tomorrow and you will see the strong reaction. While we believe strongly in freedom of speech for our writers and our readers both we also felt the piece was offensive in its language. It’s also not what the election should be about.”
She said the paper has no plans to publish an editor’s note to detail the decision. Asked if the Globe would update the article’s online page to explain why it was removed, she said, “I’m not sure about updating the page. It’s a good question and I will look into it first thing Monday.”
This is the Internet we’re talking about, so nothing ever really dies: a motivated person can find a copy somewhere, including on the OpenFile page about the story. Reaction among the twittering classes has mostly fallen along a line between “Um, OK” and “WTF?” Given that most of the press had put Ford’s weight, Pantalone’s height and Smitherman’s homosexuality on the same “off limits” shelf, many found the Globe piece to be a bit of a shock.
Former Globester and über-twitterer Matthew Ingram says that what the paper should do now is have a public chat with the editor about all this. Live chats are something the Globe does a lot, and usually really well. Today, for example, the paper is having a live discussion about small businesses. Somehow, we suspect that won’t get the traffic Ingram’s idea would.