Toronto mayor takes to web to rebuild image

TORONTO mayor Rob Ford and his brother say they will host an online show so they can take their message straight to “Ford Nation” – the term they use for the embattled city leader’s conservative suburban supporters.

Rob Ford: fighting back. Picture: Getty
Rob Ford: fighting back. Picture: Getty

The public relations’ offensive comes after the mayor admitted smoking crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor”. He refused to resign despite city councillors stripping him of most of his powers.

Brother Doug, also a councillor, said the show was meant to “get their message out and not have that message twisted by the media”.

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Rob Ford said he has “declared war” on the council after it acted in response to his drug use, public drunkenness and a series of outbursts that have made him an international media sensation, to the embarrassment of many Canadians.

The new online show follows last week’s airing of a single episode of a TV talk show hosted by the Fords that premiered on Sun News Network before it was subsequently cancelled. Network executives said Ford Nation was the highest rated programme ever on the two-year-old cable channel, but said it was too costly to make. The mayor used much of the pre-recorded show to defend himself and talk about his re-election bid next year.

Doug Ford said the new, self-funded online series, also to be called Ford Nation, will be go up on YouTube before Christmas. “Numerous people have approached us about doing a show and since technology has changed, you can get your message out easily to a larger audience,” he said.

“The objective is to get a clear message out there. We’ll say a sentence and the media will clip four or five words out and it won’t be clear or balanced.”

He said the mayor has also given up the drink.