There’s no bias in asking a tough question
WATCH: Doug Ford gets into exchange with Global Toronto reporter Jackson Proskow on Feb. 27, 2014.
Global News reporter Jackson Proskow was at City Hall Thursday, asking questions of Doug Ford about his comments on the police investigation involving his brother, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. A confrontation unfolded of the sort that Proskow has grown used to — one where he was repeatedly accused of bias and unprofessional behaviour. Here is his response:
I have always said there’s only one rule in politics: don’t take anything personally. That goes for politicians, bureaucrats and yes, even the journalists who cover them. That’s why, uncomfortable as it may be, I’m not fazed by the public shaming levelled on me by Coun. Doug Ford on live television.
It has become a regular spectacle, whenever a journalist asks a tough question. Instead of supplying an answer, the councillor levels an accusation of bias or quite simply proclaims that “the people are tired of hearing from Jackson.”
However tough a question may be, it is not an indication of bias, it’s simply the result of a journalist doing their job. In fact, one could well argue that the larger bias comes from those who don’t ask tough questions and fail to offer proper scrutiny to our elected representatives.
When Coun. Ford appeared before the cameras to level a fresh round of accusations against the chief, while claiming a broad conspiracy involving a police board member and mayoral candidate John Tory it seemed as though Ford had no intention of answering questions and simply wanted to make his remarks unchallenged.
The mayor and councillor were suggesting the chief had wasted vast sums of money on surveillance of the chief magistrate and had netted little more than photos of Ford urinating in a parking lot. We of course know they recovered so much more and that police still classify this an “ongoing criminal investigation.”
That’s why I began asking questions after Doug Ford accused reporters in the scrum of being part of the alleged conspiracy too.
“Are you saying it was improper for police to investigate allegations of drug and gang connections with the mayor? Are you saying that’s improper?” I asked Ford. He clearly had no intention of answering, so I cut in again: “Yes or no question.”
That’s when the councillor turned the tables on me.
“Let me finish, because you’re as biased as they come Jackson Proskow from Global,” said Ford.
The councillor never did answer my question, but he did proceed to name me and my employer again and again. Later when it was all over he breezed past me in the hallway and remarked “Jackson, you’re the most unprofessional media person down here. It’s disgusting the way you act.”
Back to that golden political rule. I brushed it all aside, and I would certainly hope the councillor did too.
My job is to ask the questions, uncomfortable as that may be. Anything less would truly be unprofessional.
WATCH: Jackson Proskow gives us the latest details on the escalating war of words between Mayor Ford and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair (Feb 28)