Toronto Star Public Editor Questions Decision to Publish Reader-Submitted Rob Ford KFC Video

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A screenshot from the video. (Credit: YouTube, "preeeak" via Yahoo News)

The Toronto Star published a reader-submitted video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford walking out of a KFC fast food restaurant.

But why, the Toronto Star public editor Kathy English wondered.

The video was recorded by a woman “named Cordella, who declined to give her last name” and during the tape you can hear her “laughing loudly and uproariously –to me, disturbingly so — making fun of Ford,” English explained.

Mayor Ford “has made his weight loss battle a public issue” — even announcing earlier this year his hopes to lose weight, English wrote; however, the video was questionable for a number of reasons, in English’s view.  For example, English noted that “We don’t know whether Ford ate the fried chicken himself or bought it for others.”

And, the commentary added on the video by submitter Cordella suggests “mean-spirited and juvenile” taunting, English wrote.  Readers similarly expressed concern and disapproval with the video, she noted.

As such, English wrote:

“I question why the Star gave this woman a platform for her puerile video mocking the mayor.”

The Star’s city editor Graham Parley defended the publication because Ford has “made [his weight-loss goal] an issue in this city.”  English noted that “in the past” Parley hasn’t permitted “jokes about the mayor’s weight” or “photos of Ford caught eating in public.”

However, others questioned “is it a story” that Ford was seen at a fast food restaurant, according to J-Source.

Now Toronto summarized reactions to the video as “most commentators…were of the opinion it was a low blow.”  Likewise, in an April 18 article, the Toronto Star reported that readers’ response was “emotional” and largely “negative.”  The Toronto Sun, for one, called it an “ambush” and a “chicken move” and defended Ford.

And, Toronto Life  magazine reported that the newspaper was criticized by “other papers…for bullying.”

We are writing to Ford’s office asking for comment about the video and will update with any response.

UPDATE: 4/25/2012 7:41 AM EST: Added more information.

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Toronto Star Public Editor Questions Decision to Publish Reader-Submitted Rob Ford KFC Video

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