Yesterday, the infamous Rob Ford Crack Video hit the web. From the click-baitiest tabloid sites to established media, they all had it.
There he was, the late mayor of Toronto Rob Ford, in all his former glory, drunk and puffing on a crack pipe while wearing a track suit. Or at least that’s what I think the video showed. I don’t know, I didn’t watch it, and I don’t plan to.
It’s not news, or at least it’s not news right now. When Ford was still alive, still Mayor of Toronto and still denying what were then only allegations that he smoked crack while in office, it was in the public interest to publish such a video. Even after he admitted to smoking crack, when he was alive and running for re-election, you could make the argument that it was valid news content.
Now, there is no need to prove something which was already admitted to and the argument of reminding voters what someone who is asking for their votes did the last time he was in office is no longer valid as Rob Ford won’t be running for anything ever again. If you think it’s important to remind people that Ford was a mess as a mayor so they don’t vote for similar politicians, there are plenty of other videos of things he did in public that serve the same purpose.
I can’t really think of why someone would want to watch the video now. Maybe it’s a desire to laugh at the failings and addictions of someone they didn’t like or hated. Why some outlet would want to publish it is a little easier to figure out: clicks, ratings and money. While you can argue that reporting on the video being available is newsworthy, and you’d probably be right, but then just report that, you don’t need to actually host or embed it yourself to do that.
I think media outlets shouldn’t publish the video out of respect. No, not out of respect for Ford, his family, or even the abstract concept of respect for the dead. I’m a firm believer that if someone didn’t earn your respect in life, then they don’t automatically inherit it upon death.
While I did think his ‘never give up’ attitude was commendable, I despised everything Ford stood for politically and truly hope no one as blatantly anti-progress as him ever comes to power again (yeah, I know that’s a pipe dream). I’ve also heard that he was quite abusive to those around him and, in general, wasn’t that great a guy.
That still doesn’t mean people should be promoting a voyeuristic video of a dead man feeding his addiction. It won’t change how anyone views him or his politics at all.
Media outlets shouldn’t publish the video out of respect for themselves and their audience.