STOP GIVING RUDY THE CLOWN AIRTIME…. The problem with news outlets constantly turning to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani for “political analysis” is three-fold. First, he’s an irrelevant figure with predictable observations. Second, he says things that are clearly false. And third, he hasn’t the foggiest idea what he’s talking about, but he keeps getting invited back.
Take this morning, for example. Giuliani appeared on CNN and Fox News to attack the State of the Union, and made a variety of ridiculous claims. According to the former mayor, President Obama (1) “ignored national security” during the speech; (2) “didn’t talk about the Christmas almost-bomber”; and (3) didn’t use the word “Islamic terrorism.”
In Grown-Up Land, these claims aren’t just misleading, they’re obvious lies.
First, the president didn’t “ignore national security.” Giuliani claims to have actually watched the speech, but if that’s true, he would have noticed Obama talking about our “renewed focus on the terrorists who threaten our nation,” the administration having “disrupted plots that threatened to take American lives,” new security measures, and the success the U.S. has had capturing or killing terrorists. The president talked about the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, “taking the fight to al Qaeda,” isolating North Korea, and the “growing consequences” Iran may face.
Second, Giuliani believes the president “didn’t talk about the Christmas almost-bomber,” but Obama clearly said, “We are filling unacceptable gaps revealed by the failed Christmas attack, with better airline security and swifter action on our intelligence.”
Third, as for Giuliani’s obsession with word choice — “Islamic terrorism” is two words, by the way, not one — the president used the words “terrorist” (twice), “terrorism,” “war” (seven times), “al Qaeda” (twice), and “national security” (three times).
And how much pushback did Giuliani receive this morning while making these bogus claims? None.
Remember, just a couple of weeks ago, Giuliani claimed, “We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.” This was blisteringly stupid, but it hasn’t affected his appearances.
And therein lies the point. I don’t really blame Giuliani for routinely lying on television; he’s just a hack doing what comes naturally. I do blame news outlets for rewarding his dishonesty with more scrutiny-free appearances.
Americans want to know more about national security. It’s up to producers, editors, and other journalists to provide forums to those who will help the public better understand the world around them. Repeatedly giving Giuliani a microphone does a disservice to the nation.