It is patently wrong, writes Globe and Mail's public editor Sylvia Stead, for political leaders to selectively invite media outlets for some unknown reason to a press conference and also unacceptable to refuse to answer any questions.

By Sylvia Stead, public editor of The Globe and Mail

Recently Toronto Mayor Rob Ford held what his team described as a press conference, which wasn’t really, to say he was back from rehab and in the race for re-election.

In the story by Elizabeth Church and Kaleigh Rogers, they explain that Mr. Ford limited his so-called news conference to about a dozen outlets. After starting with “confession and contrition, Mr. Ford transitioned into his campaign speech.”

Although Mr. Ford refused to answer a single reporter’s question, the story wisely includes many of the outstanding issues about which questions should be asked and answered.

The Toronto media were quite understandably unhappy with this process. There seems to have been no need to have limited the number of outlets. The mayor’s office said the room was too small for everyone, but there was no explanation why the much larger room a floor above that is normally used for press conferences was not used this time.

There was also no explanation why two regular members of the City Hall press gallery who cover these issues day in day out were barred, including the president of the press gallery. Surely there was room for these two journalists.

The Globe and Mail, along with most major media outlets, was invited, generally with their city hall bureau chief, as in The Globe’s case.

In my view, it is patently wrong for political leaders to pick and choose media outlets for some unknown reason and also unacceptable to refuse to answer any questions.

To continue reading this column, please go theglobeandmail.com where this was originally published. 


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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.