“I have listened to the three emergency calls. The mayor did not use the word “bitches,” attributed to him by those ‘several anonymous sources.’ The mayor did not describe himself as the original account claimed.” – Toronto Police Chief William Blair.
“Once you decide to go with a source’s information, you own it… If the sources were wrong, those who chose to go with them must resign.”
Having had to call 911 a few times in my life, I can understand that Mayor Ford became frustrated. By the time you have identified yourself, name and address etc. and whatever else they want, it can be far too late to get anything done. Even when you are calling from home, and your details automatically pop up on their computer screen. Add that to whatever stress you are already under at the time, and it is very easy for tempers to fray and words to be said.
And there is stress for the dispatchers as well. Three or four years ago, on the advice of a knowledgeable acquaintance, I phoned 911 and asked for the terrorism desk. I wanted to pass on my concerns about a person acting suspiciously in the local bus station. I had made notes, and repeated them. Nonetheless, I was repeatedly asked why I was calling, and then the young woman who had answered me started saying words to the effect of “What are they going to do?” and “How many people are involved?” rising to a crescendo of “When’s it coming down!”
I found myself having to calm her down, but I can understand to a degree why she reacted so. If such a call is mis-handled and there is any property damage or death, the dispatcher involved will at best find themselves heading off to the local cab company looking for a new job, with a big gap in their resume.
Overall and generally speaking, I avoid 911 calls if at all possible, it’s just too much hassle. If you are really concerned about something but it’s not yet ‘in progress’, then my advice is to find out the local office number for the police, tell them your business, and ask them to re-direct you. Life could be a lot simpler that way.
Getting back to the current issue with the CBC’s reporting on Mayor Ford’s alleged foul language while calling 911, I get the impression that some employees figure their tax-supported jobs give them free license to get even with political opponents. Simple as that.
Those parts of the CBC involved in news dissemination, or in influencing public opinion in any way, should be sold off to the private sector.
And after any internal police inquiry has been completed, I hope Mayor Ford takes legal action if that should be justified.
An example needs to be made.
CBC’s Comedy of Errors
The Toronto Sun
Joe Warmington: Oct. 28th, 2011
TORONTO – Turns out it’s not just This Hour Has 22 Minutes that’s the comedy show — but the whole CBC network.
Even though the journalistic community is laughing at them, there is nothing funny about the systematic and erroneous attacks on Mayor Rob Ford and an apparent lack of respect for the truth.
When you report sources saying the mayor “turned on the dispatcher, yelling: “You … bitches! Don’t you f—ing know? I’m Rob f—ing Ford, the mayor of this city!” and it’s not true, you had better get on your knees and beg for forgiveness.
Instead, the arrogant Mother Corp is digging itself in even deeper.
Even after Chief William Blair came out with a statement clearing the mayor of saying anything remotely similar to what they reported and continued to push, they are still clinging to their nonsensical assertion that Ford called 911 operators “bitches.”
“The content of those conversations has been misrepresented by what are claimed to be ‘several anonymous sources,’ presumably from within the TPS, in which case I have to set the record straight,” wrote the chief. “I have listened to the three emergency calls. The mayor did not use the word “bitches,” attributed to him by those ‘several anonymous sources.’ The mayor did not describe himself as the original account claimed.”
So you think the next thing coming from the CBC would be an apology to Mayor Ford and to their audience. Instead, spokesman Chris Ball wrote “we have multiple, credible, well-placed sources within TPS, including a dispatcher, we are reporting what was told to us.”
They need Marg Delahunty back in the loop and her laugh track.
“Multiple, credible, well-placed sources within the TPS, including a dispatcher?”
More well placed than the chief?
Rule One in sourced journalism is you don’t ever reveal sources. So by saying, multiple, credible and well-placed sources you are dangerously close to exposing them.
It also puts the chief in a position where he will have no choice but to internally investigate to see who the hell is making a mess of the integrity his 911 unit.
And by identifying a dispatcher, it puts him or her on the line in a way that could result in criminal charges.
Not nice when it’s up to the organization to vet what it airs or prints. Once you decide to go with a source’s information, you own it. Hanging out sources does not take the CBC off the hook. If the sources were wrong, those who chose to go with them must resign.
This whole affair must have journalistic icon Knowlton Nash spinning in his grave and he’s not even dead. There are so many great CBC journalists who deserve better representation.
Now the CBC, which has not ever produced this taped call and not indicated if it ever even heard it, must bring forward signed accounts from these “multiple, credible and well-placed sources and this dispatcher” who can prove the mayor and the chief of police are lying.
If they don’t, the head of the CBC news, the producers who signed off on it and the reporter should all be removed.
Anything short of a smoking gun being displayed immediately makes it difficult to imagine how its OK with the CBC brass to abuse a mayor of Toronto.
It’s a scandalous disgrace.
Meanwhile, the chief did the right thing here. He was, sources say, in Chicago for the first day of the mess but dove in to get the truth as soon as he returned. He has not said anything about an internal investigation but you can be sure it did not go over well with him that there is this kind of tomfoolery going on inside the TPS. I would not want to be that dispatcher.
Also in play for the chief is his understanding there were some in the Ford camp feeling this was an orchestrated police smear campaign, stemming from the tough budget battle.
The mayor and several of his supporters, I am told, were appreciative the chief set the record straight and now believe this may have been nothing more than shoddy journalism and reported gossip.
But really this story is about a lot more than just unprofessional reporting. This story is about the War on Ford and how far some will stoop to win it.
Leaking this information to a reporter was vicious. But reporting it without having heard the tape was egregious.
Unless the CBC today can have this dispatcher come forward and play a tape to back up everything they have reported, they are wrong and should immediately apologize and take immediate action to shore up with is left of their integrity.
Otherwise they are nothing but a punchline.
See original here.