Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale is moving forward with his libel action against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford despite Ford’s Dec. 17 public apology in a city council meeting.
As iMediaEthics has written, Dale began libel proceedings against the Toronto mayor and ZoomerMedia after Ford suggested Dale was a pedophile. Ford said in an interview with Conrad Black aired on ZoomerMedia’s Vision TV: “The worst one was Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say the word, but you start thinking, you know, what’s this guy all about?”
Dale said he was on public land next to Ford’s house to report a story. Toronto detective Tricia Johnston told Dale last year that he was “not being charged” over Ford’s complaints to the police in the incident.
Dale has since responded to Ford’s apology (see iMediaEthics’ story on it, as well as a video and transcript of his comments). Ford maintained in his apology that he never said that Dale was a pedophile, but he was just splitting hairs, iMediaEthics notes, because he said Dale was “taking pictures of little kids” and that he specifically didn’t “want to say the word.”
Dale tweeted out a statement that called Ford’s apology was insufficient.
“I asked Mayor Ford to 1) retract all of his false claims about my conduct and 2) issue an unreserved, abject, complete apology,” Dale tweeted. He continued: “His statement today didn’t come close. I’m proceeding with a defamation lawsuit.”
Dale explained that the apology was no good because it wasn’t a retraction and Ford didn’t accept any responsibility for his comments.
Dale wrote, “In his ‘apology,’ the mayor didn’t retract anything at all. Instead, he blamed the media for its reasonable interpretation of his words” and his neighbor.
“And, crucially, he didn’t retract or specifically apologize for the categorically false, malicious, and in-itself-defamatory claim about me … taking pictures of his young kids,” he wrote.
Dale went on,
“I didn’t ask for an ‘I apologize if.’ I asked for an ‘I apologize because I said false, damaging, and unfounded things, and here they are.’
“So: while I appreciate the mayor’s first step, no dad or teacher would accept that apology as sufficient. I would appreciate another try.”
Star editor Michael Cooke, who has given his and the newspaper’s support to Dale’s lawsuit, also commented on Ford’s statement.
— Michael Cooke (@TorStarEditor) December 17, 2013
Hat Tip: Gawker