Non-Apology Watch: Toronto mayor Rob Ford can't quite apologize to reporter Daniel Dale, blames media
Gather 'round for another edition of Non-Apology Watch.
Today's offender? Toronto mayor Rob Ford can't quite apologize to the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale for insinuating he's a pedophile.
Last week, Conrad Black interviewed the notorious mayor of Hogtown, in what has been referred to as an "intentionally non-confrontational" sitdown.
In the December 9 interview, Ford commented on his lack of privacy, specifically referencing a May 2012 incident in which he found Dale on public land near his home. (Dale was investigating a story about the alleged sale of public lands to Mayor Ford.)
“I guess the worst one was Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures,” Ford said to Black. “I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say that word but you start thinking, ‘What’s this guy all about?’”
(At a press conference on December 10, Ford said, "I stand by every word I said with Mr. Black in my interview.")
However, Ford claims the media distorted his remarks and apologized to Dale, "for the way in which the media has interpreted my statements."
“I never called Mr. Dale a pedophile, I have never used that word to describe Mr. Dale, I do not believe Mr. Dale is a pedophile nor did I intend to suggest that in my comments," Ford told those assembled in council chambers. "My comments to Conrad Black were in context of my worst experiences with the incredible assault by media and particularly the Toronto Star on me and my family. My comments related to the fear I had for my family when my long-time neighbour told me that someone was lurking at my fence and appeared to be taking pictures of my family home over the fence.
"To be clear, I never personally saw Mr. Dale peering over the fence and taking pictures; however, my neighbour did see someone doing these things."
Ford then recounted the evening when he came across Dale near his fence, and admitted he accosted the man.
"I have no issue with Mr. Dale personally," Ford said, instead casting the blame on Dale's superiors at the Toronto Star, "who have put him and I into this situation".
In reference to his interview with Black, Ford said, "I was merely commenting on the thoughts that went through my mind on the night of May 2012 before I had any idea that that person my neighbour told me he saw peering over my fence was a reporter on assignment from the Toronto Star."
In his prepared statements, Ford reiterated that it was "the media" that put the word pedophile into the public realm.
"I wish to sincerely apologize again to Mr. Dale if my actual words have caused him any harm or personal offence. And if Mr. Daniel Dale is here, I wish to personally apologize to him."
As far as Dale is concerned, Ford's statements in chambers did not constitute a full apology; he stated on Twitter that he would continue with his defamation lawsuit against the mayor.
I asked Mayor Ford to 1) retract all of his false claims about my conduct and 2) issue an unreserved, abject, complete apology.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013
His statement today didn't come close. I'm proceeding with a defamation lawsuit.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013
In his "apology," the mayor didn't retract anything at all. Instead, he blamed the media for its reasonable interpretation of his words.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013
He also blamed his neighbour. He used the words "lurking" and "leering."— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013
And, crucially, he didn't retract or specifically apologize for the categorically false, malicious, and in-itself-defamatory claim about— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013
me taking pictures of his young kids.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013
I didn't ask for an "I apologize if." I asked for an "I apologize because I said false, damaging, and unfounded things, and here they are."— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013
So: while I appreciate the mayor's first step, no dad or teacher would accept that apology as sufficient. I would appreciate another try.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013