Dealing with the media can be challenging at the best of times. At the worst of times it can be overwhelming – for even the best practitioners. If, as we are being led to believe, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses the accusations that have been made over the last six months it could be his last and, perhaps, his best chance.
Ford has had a difficult relationship with the media since he took office in October 2010. He’s made things worse with his constant name-calling and baiting the ‘left-leaning media’ that he claims are out to get him. This has only strengthened their resolve to have him answer their questions and their pursuit of him – ‘door-stepping’ him at every opportunity.
Rob Ford should take this opportunity – he should have taken it sooner in my opinion – to answer some of the questions that have been raised about his conduct. What is the truth behind the video the Toronto Star and Gawker first, and this week Police Chief Bill Blair, reported they had seen? Does he have a substance dependency problem? Why would Toronto Police be surveilling him?
Out of the glare of the cameras, the shouted questions, the growing throng of media outside his City Hall office he has an opportunity to put his side of the story. He has a sympathetic co-host in brother Doug Ford. He can set out his plans for the coming weeks and months. He has the opportunity to take a temporary, or permanent, leave of absence that will afford him the time he needs to take care, and control, of a situation that will continue to spiral out of control if he allows it.
And, after the show, he can slip away from the studio quietly to fight the allegations without the pressure of the media spotlight; to get the help and support he clearly needs [regardless of the veracity of the accusations, the stress of the last 6 months has clearly taken its toll]; and give himself time to take care of himself and his family.
I hope he does.
Read more about Rob Ford’s PR and Media ‘Strategies’