How international media reported on Rob Ford's death
Meredith McLeod, Special to CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, March 22, 2016 6:04PM EDT
International reports of Rob Ford`s death pulled no punches Tuesday about what the former mayor of Toronto may be remembered for abroad.
The Washington Post said Ford`s tax-cutting agenda “was overshadowed by a tempestuous personal life that made him an international butt of ridicule.”
Ford died Tuesday morning from a rare form of cancer he had been battling for 18 months. He was 46.
While Ford allies are pleading for the former mayor`s political legacy and grassroots touch with the masses to take centre stage, global news reports of his death are filled with a litany of his transgressions: smoking crack, public drunkenness and lewd behaviour.
Ford`s scandal-plagued mayoral term made frequent headlines abroad. Canadians aren’t used to their politicians -- let alone a municipal one -- being international news. Ford changed all that.
On the day of his death, Canadian media have been circumspect, more respectful of a mourning family and a city full of Ford Nation supporters who are reeling from his loss.
International media have been much more pointed.
The Associated Press began its story: "Rob Ford, the pugnacious, populist former mayor of Toronto whose career crashed in a drug-driven, obscenity-laced debacle, died Tuesday after fighting cancer, his family said. He was 46."
The New York Times said Ford “took a belligerent approach to governing, engaging in profanity-laden shouting matches with city councillors and sometimes journalists.”
A number of news outlets said Ford was far outside the norm of Canadian politics.
“His image contrasted sharply with Canada's usual calm, buttoned-up politics,” said BBC News.
“His time in office was strikingly at odds with the typical image of calm Canadian politics,” said The Washington Post. “He made controversial statements, including an obscenity-laden rant in which he threatened murder, and spoke about oral sex on live television.”
Some American media compared Ford to Sarah Palin, the controversial and polarizing former vice-presidential candidate.
Toronto-based writer Stephen Marche wrote in Esquire magazine that the “next Rob Ford could easily be the next President of the United States.” That was clearly a reference to Donald Trump, though Marche doesn’t mention him by name.
Marche said Ford is “the inventor of a new and virulent style of politics composed of equal parts comedy, rage and celebrity culture. The man rewrote the political playbook without trying. Rob Ford died an accidental prophet. ”
The Telegraph in London said Ford embarrassed stodgy Toronto when American comedians made him nightly fodder on late-night TV.
“That Canadians did not see the joke, of course, made it even funnier.”
American political magazine The New Republic said Ford`s use of homophobic and racist slurs made him “a toxic figure in Toronto municipal politics. He won the mayoralty thanks to his belligerently ignorant populism. ”