New York Times Rob Ford

The New York and L.A. Times rip into Rob Ford

We already know that the Rob Ford saga has proved fascinating for the American media, but as our controversial mayor marches on from one gaffe to the next (knocking over another councillor is a bigger deal than was made of it), the depth of US coverage has increased as the story has become more bizarre. Over and above the various television interviews Ford has recently done and the late night talk show bits, major publications south of the border are grappling with the Ford story and what it says about our local and national identity (thankfully in more intelligent ways than that SNL skit).

The New York Times, baffled by the ludicrous nature of the Ford story, tries to make sense of it all by highlighting Toronto's urban-suburban divide. "For the lawmakers and people of Toronto, known to much of the world as a cosmopolitan city with copious bike lanes, hockey's Maple Leafs and general placidity, the endurance of Mr. Ford, so rotund and erratic that he often appears on the brink of spontaneous explosion, has become nothing short of an obsession," Jennifer Steinhauer and Ian Austen write. "[Ford's] recent behavior, which has mortified many of his constituents, has also enhanced his appeal with many of his core voters -- working-class residents of the unified suburbs, the people he calls the Ford Nation."

The Los Angeles Times, on the other hand, takes the Ford story as a counter example to the tired cliche that all Canadians are mild mannered and boring. "This guy makes Anthony Weiner and his crotch tweets look demure. He makes Bill Clinton seem circumspect. Rob Ford is such an outlandish buffoon that he is a challenge to cartoonists. How can any caricature exceed what this man does in real life?" asks David Horsey. "The stereotype of all Canadians as passive, pale versions of robust Americans has pretty much been ripped to shreds."

But, perhaps the best of all the recent American press devoted to Rob Ford comes courtesy of Business Week. "That all of this is happening in Toronto makes the situation even more surreal. The fourth-largest city in North America - population: 2.8 million - revels in its reputation as an orderly, prosperous, 'world class' economy," writes David Sax. "But Torontonians are an insecure lot. As observers around the world ask how a city like Toronto could wind up with a mayor like Ford, locals are wondering how much damage Ford will do to Toronto."

Yep.


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