Paper defends airing video
TORONTO -- A video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford ranting about killing someone is of "huge public interest" and relevant to the mayor's character, the Toronto Star's editor-in-chief said in explaining why the paper paid $5,000 for it.
"The issue is so big that to pose the question, 'Why did you pay for it?'... I don't understand it," Michael Cooke said in the wake of the explosive video's release.
The video, published Thursday on the Star's website, shows the mayor in a profane fury. The paper reported it was filmed on a cellphone at a Ford supporter's home, where Ford had arrived "clearly impaired."
Cooke couldn't say if the paper's earlier decision not to pay for a video that appears to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine factored into their decision to pay for this one, but said he sometimes wishes the paper did buy that first video.
"The mayor is in front of us a day or so ago saying he's got nothing left to hide and he's called...us all liars and maggots from the beginning when we reported two of our journalists seeing that video, seeing the mayor smoking crack, or what we thought to be crack," Cooke said.
"The mayor's friends went to stunning lengths to find and suppress that video, we think, certainly we've written stories about it, and all the while he's denied its existence so our feeling last night was that if we didn't grab that video quick it might disappear."
The Toronto Sun obtained a short clip of the longer video of Ford's tirade, but reported that while it discussed the video with the "vendor," it didn't enter into negotiations to buy it.
The Star said it was told the money went to "the legal and beneficial use of a family."
Ford gets burger parody
REGINA -- A Regina restaurant has turned Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's woes into the special of the day.
Nicky's Cafe is selling a Crack Pepper Burger -- a burger covered in cracked pepper, mushrooms, onions and cheese.
Owner Perry Mekris said he likes to serve up a few laughs along with his food.
He said his customers come in and talk about the day's events, and Ford has clearly been the hot topic of late.
He said the burger has been a strong seller.
Mekris said the saga of Toronto's embattled mayor -- who has admitted smoking crack cocaine and been caught on video drunkenly threatening to kill someone -- has not done Canada's largest city any favours.
"Really, they're a laughing stock right now around the whole world," he said. "My dad was in Greece, and he even heard in Greece about Rob Ford."
-- from the news services