Globe and Mail prepared to defend Doug Ford allegations in court
Published Monday, May 27, 2013 11:02AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 27, 2013 11:26AM EDT
Globe and Mail Editor-in-Chief John Stackhouse says his newspaper stands by its report that alleges that Toronto Coun. Doug Ford, the brother of Mayor Rob Ford, was a hashish dealer for many years in the Toronto neighbourhood of Etobicoke back in the 1980s.
Counc. Ford has called the allegation false and told TV station CP24 that he thought Stackhouse was, “a disgusting human being, in my opinion.”
The Globe’s article, which appeared in the paper’s Saturday edition, relies on 18 months of interviews with several unidentified people who said they either purchased hash directly from Doug Ford, supplied him with it, or witnessed him handling the drug when Ford was in his teens and early 20s.
The anonymous sources cited in the story include two former hash suppliers, three “street-level” drug dealers and some “casual” users of the drug.
In his response to the report over the weekend, Doug Ford said that the report amounts to “irresponsible journalism.” And on Monday, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday asked why the paper would run a report based solely on anonymous sources.
Stackhouse admits it’s unusual for his paper to rely on sources who wish to remain anonymous, but he says he and his reporters are confident of the story’s veracity.
“It’s exceptional to rely only on anonymous sources. It’s not something we do easily or comfortably,” Stackhouse told CTV’s Canada AM Monday.
“I recognize the public concern that goes with that. We’re relying on our credibility, and we’re saying The Globe and Mail believes in the information.”
Stackhouse says his reporters spent “many, many months” interviewing sources and the paper believes in the report “absolutely.” He says he and his fellow editors decided to run the story after consulting with their legal counsel, because of the gravity of the allegations.
“We felt it was essential for the people of Toronto -- and in fact, of Canada -- to be aware of this information at this point in time and we in fact had a responsibility to put it on the public record,” Stackhouse said.
Deputy Mayor Holyday, a longtime ally of Mayor Ford, said in the course of their investigation the Globe reporters must have spoken to other people who don’t remember Doug Ford being a hash dealer, and asked why the paper didn’t report that.
“I’m just wondering why they didn't quote people, some of the other people, who didn’t confirm the story they're working on,” Holyday told Canada AM.
"I'm wondering why, in the name of balance, they wouldn't have said (there were) some other people they spoke to who didn't recall any of this. Why didn't they mention them?"
Stackhouse says his reporters did find people who raised questions about the allegations or who said they were not aware of the allegations.
“But the further we talked to them, the more we realized they may not have been privy to situations that were going on. And the overwhelming amount of evidence we came upon it proved to us that this was going on,” he said.
Stackhouse said his paper is prepared to defend it in court, if need be, or “any public forum that we are required to” and suggested that they would continue to pursue the story.
“We will continue to report it. This is certainly not over from a reporting point of view. And we will continue on this story, understanding that our readers want to know more.”