Rob Ford’s Crack Video Is Finally Public: Here’s What We’re Reading Today

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Here’s what’s happening today:

1. How the Arab world fell apart

On the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring, the New York Times Magazine has devoted its entire issue this week to telling “the story of the catastrophe that has fractured the Arab,” going from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to the rise of ISIS and the refugee crisis. Jake Silverstein, editor-in-chief of the magazine, describes the work as “one of the most clear-eyed, powerful and human explanations of what has gone wrong in this region that you will ever read.”

2. Yes, the Rob Ford video is news

Extortion charges against Alessandro Lisi, Rob Ford’s former driver, were dropped today, lifting a publication ban on the infamous video of the former mayor smoking crack cocaine. Lisi’s case centred on his attempt at recovering the video, which the Star posted on their website earlier this morning.

More than anything, the reaction on social media was sympathetic, and rightfully so. Many though, castigated the media for publishing the video at all, calling it shameful or indecent. “Why do you need to watch this?” people tweeted out. Others said to just “let the man rest in peace.” But the thing is that is still news. Ford’s death in March doesn’t change that is one of the most important events in recent Toronto history. His death doesn’t change the fact that this trial would be reported on with or without the video.

On his radio show in November 2013, Ford himself even called for the video to be made public. “Whatever this video shows, folks, Toronto residents deserve to see it and people need to judge for themselves what they see on this video,” he said.

The video is sad and must be approached with the right tone. It is the picture of addiction, which is a disease and often signals deeper mental health issues. Its publication shouldn’t be used  as ammunition to mock the man – and as far as I can see, no one has really gone that route, especially within the media. By publishing the video, The Star is documenting a very turbulent time in this country’s largest city and adding important context to our understanding of one the most controversial and misunderstood political figures of our time. And that is good journalism.

3. Is Donald Trump throwing this election?

“Trump has overcome rough patches before. But with fewer than 90 days until Nov. 8, he now faces a reckoning. There are daunting demographics to surmount. Allies complain of massive staff shortages in battleground states. And voters are skeptical of a billionaire reality star who seems to study the rules of campaigning only so he can break them.” As the U.S. election ticks ever closer, Time goes inside Donald Trump’s summer meltdown.

+1: “The Republican nominee is saying all the right things to sink his campaign. But there may be a method to his madness.” Colin Horgan at Macleans asks if Trump is puropsely trying to losing this election.

+1: Trump just said it’s alright if he loses the election because “I go back to a very good way of life.”

4. German intelligence warns of ISIS ‘hit squads’ among refugees

“German intelligence services have evidence that ‘hit squads’ from the Islamic State terror group have infiltrated the country disguised as refugees, the deputy head of Bavaria’s spy agency told the BBC Thursday.”

+1: The U.S. military routinely downplayed the threat of ISIS in their reports.

5. Why it pays to be grumpy

“The truth is, pondering the worst has some clear advantages. Cranks may be superior negotiators, more discerning decision-makers and cut their risk of having a heart attack. Cynics can expect more stable marriages, higher earnings and longer lives – though, of course, they’ll anticipate the opposite.” The BBC explains why being grumpy just might be the key to success. Take that DJ Khaled.