It can't be a banner day for any politician when he has to call a press conference to declare that he's not a crack addict, but that's precisely what Toronto Mayor Rob Ford did today. After a week of silence, Ford addressed the controversy that began when three journalists—two from the Toronto Star and one from Gawker—reported that they had seen a video of an inebriated Ford smoking from a crack pipe. Ford's comments today, from the Star and Toronto Sun:
- “There has been a serious accusation from the Toronto Star that I use crack cocaine. I do not use crack cocaine nor am I an addict of crack cocaine."
- “As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist. It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I have been judged by the media without any evidence.”
So what to make of this? You can parse it for yourself, but John Cook at Gawker thinks Ford chose his words carefully. He did not, for example, say that he has never smoked crack, only that he does not do so currently. That he denied being an addict is irrelevant—nobody said he was. And Ford chose not to comment on the video instead of denying it was him. Nothing he said, in other words, "is inconsistent with Rob Ford having been caught on tape smoking crack cocaine within the past six months." (Cook and the Star reporters were given a chance to buy the video but did not do so. Gawker's subsequent attempt to buy it via crowdfunding has hit a snag, notes Slate, because the website's contact person says he has lost contact with the video's owner.)