Earlier this week, Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) did a fantastic takedown in Metro of, among other things, Mayor Rob Ford's oft-repeated claim that he's saved taxpayers more than $1 billion. As Matt illustrates, it's a pretty ludicrous assertion. While it gets rebutted on Twitter regularly, journalists are not getting a proper opportunity to hold the Mayor to account for this himself.
So, in the alternate universe where I'd actually done something useful with my hard-earned Ryerson Journalism degree, here's the question I'd like to ask:
Mayor Ford, you regularly mention how you've saved Toronto taxpayers over a billion dollars since taking office. I think you'd agree that our readers — taxpayers, voters — would consider that to be an exceptional accomplishment. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to determine what the individual savings are that make up that $1 billion.
I'm not asking you to break it all down for us on the spot, but could you or your staff please put together a summary of how you arrived at that $1 billion figure so that we can properly report on this unprecedented achievement?
And your Worship? If you're unable — or unwilling — to do so, will you promise right her and now that you'll stop lying to the hardworking taxpayers who elected you to serve them?
Yeah, I know; the only world where that question gets answered is the one in my dreams. Still…
Oh, NewsTalk 1010? How about you put the first part of your branding to work and tell the Mayor that if he's not willing to prove the claim, he has to stop repeating it on his radio show, hmm? There are broadcast standards that you're required to abide by in return for being allowed to use the public airwaves, and — although I haven't checked — I'd have to imagine that not allowing boldfaced lies to be told on your station would be among them.