Rob Ford and Mary Walsh: Do Two Wrongs Make A Funny?

It’s not that I’m without sympathy for Mayor Rob Ford.

Honest to God, I believe getting a death threat or two could put the willies into anyone.

However, his misrepresentation of the “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” ambush at his home has me wondering why he’d want anyone to know that he felt threatened by little ol’ lady Mary Walsh, even dressed up in her vaunted Marg Delahunty, Warrior Princess garb.

Walsh as Marg Delahunty. Prime Minister Harper as himself.

You hear Ford’s account of the event and you’re led to believe that he thought he was under siege by some lunatic assassin, ready to send the mayor to meet his maker. One glance at the video and you’re certain that the mayor was..umm… enhancing an objective description of the events. After all, he did want us to believe that great confusion can be born in the early morning darkness. Obviously, it was really, really undark when the CBC comedy crew came charging up his driveway.

His credibility in the matter is tarnished, if not lost due to the outright fabrication as to the daylight conditions.

So, his wanting us to believe that he feared for his safety and that of his daughter’s is a little far-fetched. A 911 call placed to police was really unnecessary.

Even if the mayor didn’t recognize the Canadian Queen of uncomfortable moments on television, I’m pretty sure he’d recognize a camera crew. And a microphone. He’s seen way too many of those to mistake it for a sword. Which, really, would be the weapon of choice of a warrior princess.

And unlike so many of his detractors, I don’t think Rob Ford is stupid. That he’s plenty smart and savvy enough to recognize an ambush interview led by a woman dressed like a WalMart-costumed version of Joan Of Arc.

Added to that, is his very casual exit from his vehicle as Walsh harassed him. He moves quite calmly and deliberately away from her, even as she lays a hand on him to pat him on the back.

So. Terrorized? Frightened? Needing to call 911 for immediate assistance? No.

Quite simply, Ford did not want to play. Didn’t want anything to do with a “gotcha” interview performed by someone who’s well – versed in making subjects look uncanny, if not downright foolish. Unless they go along for the ride. Which is a choice the mayor could have made, but really, how many of us would feel comfortable thrusting back at the parry of a well-aimed satirical sword of someone they feel is a political enemy?

Fair choice, that.

Especially when you’re on your own driveway.

Rob Ford wearing bling that would make a warrior princess blush.

Public figure or not, Walsh and her crew had no business mining for political comedy on Mayor Ford’s personal property. Doesn’t matter if they’d invited him to partake in some silliness in the past, with no cooperation. Doesn’t matter if they’d tried before to ambush him in a public place, with no result. It’s not like the mayor is Graham James, hiding out in Mexico until hunted down by Bob McKeown and his Fifth Estate crew. That kind of surprise interview serves a public good and should thus be protected and even celebrated. That’s real news. Good journalism. “22 Minutes” is nothing like a real news show, of course. Mayor Ford is nothing like an on the lam criminal. Because of that, they should have thought better of sideswiping an elected official at home.

Ambush interviews in the world of comedy can serve a very useful purpose. Really funny moments can sprout from them. It’s a valid comedic prop. Whether you think Walsh and her show are funny, is really beside the point. Point is, they’re trying to be funny. They’re using a time-worn tool at their disposal. It’s just that they took it to a place it doesn’t belong.

They shouldn’t do it again. While we’re doling out “shouldn’ts,” Mayor Ford shouldn’t distort the truth to make some believe he had a real scare in this thing.

As for all the chatter being done that the mayor’s stupid for not recognizing a prank, and that Walsh should be charged with assault? Well, maybe some comedy came out of this after all.

[box border=”full”]To read “Don Cherry: You Should Be Thankful For Him,” click here.[/box]

[box border=”full”]To read “Blatchford’s Layton column: Timing Is Everything,” click here.[/box]

[box border=”full”] To read “Sun TV Interview Isn’t Worth Complaining About,” click here.[/box]

[box border=”full”]To read “140 Character Assassination,” click here. [/box]

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About Don

Don Landry is a multi-talented media pro: an accomplished morning show host, a sought-after voiceover artist and master of ceremonies, and a thoughtful commentator and interview specialist.