Newspaper recycling: Smitherman's Hydro pledge is old news
Its currency is, usually, diminished with each minute it ages. Within a day or two, hot did-you-know? watercooler fodder (sweet gold for reporters who broke the story) starts to molder into useful background information for future stories.
But sometimes reporters forget.
When George Smitherman gathered reporters Friday at the Green Living show to tell them that he wouldn't sell Toronto Hydro because it would decrease the city's ability to make it push the production of clean, green energy, it didn't seem like hot stuff. More like recycling.
Smitherman told me in an early March interview that he opposed selling off Toronto Hydro, because it's a profit-generating asset and there's no compelling reason to sell it. His rival Rocco Rossi has come out of the gate pledging to sell the utility to help pay down Toronto's debt.
"Rossi has suggested selling outright certain city assets, including Toronto Hydro, something Smitherman rejects," I wrote.
It wasn't my secret. At the candidates' debate at the end of March, he blasted Rossi for the Hydro privatization pledge, comparing it, as he did again Friday, to the Harris government "giveaway" of Highway 407. Several major news outlets reported the exchange.
So I was a little surprised, as no doubt were Smitherman's handlers, to see that Friday's presser generated lots of "Smitherman won't sell Toronto Hydro" headlines. The Star ran my story online, about Smitherman putting a green spin on his existing pledge, but it wasn't big or new enough to elbow other stories out of the paper.
Well, collective amnesia is a good thing for the former health minister. Smitherman gets more ink than, in this case, he deserved. What's not to like about recycling?