Needlessly keeping up the Giuliani pretense

NEEDLESSLY KEEPING UP THE GIULIANI PRETENSE…. ABC News’ “This Week” will have two featured guests tomorrow. The first is a good get — Attorney General Eric Holder will sit down for his first Sunday morning interview since the attempted Times Square bombing last weekend. Between this week’s developments, questions about the new Arizona immigration law, and the looming trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, having Holder on is a no-brainer.

The interview after Holder, however, is far less sensible.

[I]n a This Week EXCLUSIVE interview, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani explains why he thinks the accused bomb suspect should be declared an enemy combatant. Should terror suspects lose their Miranda rights and be stripped of their citizenship? Is a criminal approach to terrorism making America less safe? The man who has been called America’s Mayor – the mayor of New York City on September 11, 2001 — Rudy Giuliani, only on This Week.

This seems to be pretty reflexive for the national media — if terrorism is in the news, it must be time to interview the former mayor of a city where terrorism struck nearly nine years ago. The assumption at news outlets is as common as it is bizarre — terrorists struck New York, so the former mayor of New York must be an expert on terrorism.

But it’s a mistake, not only to buy into bogus associations, but also to present Giuliani to the public as a credible, reliable voice on national security issues. He clearly is not. Giuliani’s remarks on national security policy tend to be, on their face, ridiculous. Worse, his commentary tends to include claims that are wrong, poorly thought out, or both.

It’s well outside the realm of opinion to note that Rudy Giuliani has, just in the last few months, repeatedly lied on national television about national security. He told demonstrable lies about the response to the Abdulmutallab case; he told demonstrable lies about the State of the Union address; and he told a demonstrable lie when he boasted on ABC, “We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.”

Newsweek‘s Ben Adler recently noted that Giuliani’s frequent “factual errors … raise a legitimate question as to whether Giuliani deserves to be invited back to discuss foreign policy.” And yet, Giuliani keeps getting invited back anyway.

Rewarding someone who deceives the public with more airtime does a disservice to the discourse — and encourages more public deception.

About a month ago, Greg Sargent noted, “Someone needs to tell the bookers at the networks that the fact that Rudy Giuliani happened to get photographed walking through the smoke and dust on 9/11 does not give him any authority or credibility on foreign policy and national security issues.”

That’s good advice. There are conservative experts in national security matters, who have credibility and relevance in the contemporary debate. Giuliani isn’t an expert, he has no credibility, and he stopped being relevant quite a while ago. He’s the worst possible guest on these issues — no substance, no honesty, and no depth beyond tired talking points. It hardly makes for must-see TV.