Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 8, 2010

RUDY THE CLOWN.... Based on the standards of the political establishment, Rudy Giuliani was the mayor of a city attacked by terrorists, and is therefore an expert on national security. That, of course, doesn't make any sense, but for reasons that defy comprehension, the media has written these rules and news outlets will stick to them, logic and reason be damned.

This week on CNN, for example, Giuliani claimed that Richard Reid's shoe-bomb attempt on December 22, 2001 happened before 9/11. ABC's "Good Morning America" decided today to reward Giuliani's confusion with yet another interview, during which he embarrassed himself once again.

"What he [Obama] should be doing is following the right things that Bush did -- one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama," Giuliani said.

It's hard to know whether Giuliani actually believes the words coming out of his mouth. Part of me hopes he's just a hack, deliberately lying to fool the public, because the alternative -- that Giuliani is suffering from some kind of dementia -- is more depressing.

ABC's item on this neglected to mention that the former mayor's claim is hopelessly stupid, so let's go ahead and count some of the important ways Giuliani's comment makes absolutely no sense whatsoever:

1. "We had no domestic attacks under Bush"? Actually, we had the worst domestic attacks in American history under Bush. Giuliani might recall Sept. 11, 2001 and the anthrax attacks, among others.

2. "We've had one under Obama"? Well, no. We've had several domestic terror plots under Obama, one of which failed, the others were thwarted by Obama administration officials who prevented the attacks before they could occur.

3. If the Abdulmutallab plot counts as a domestic attack "under Obama," than the Richard Reid shoe-bombing attempt has to also count as a domestic attack "under Bush," which makes the "no domestic attacks under Bush" that much more ridiculous.

But let's not forget that this are two angles to this problem. The first is that Rudy Giuliani doesn't have the foggiest idea what he's talking about, and routinely lies about basic, easy-to-understand details about recent history and national security. The second is that programs like "Good Morning America" keep inviting him back, despite the fact that he doesn't have the foggiest idea what he's talking about, and routinely lies about basic, easy-to-understand details about recent history and national security.

Americans want to know more about counter-terrorism. 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 at an important time.

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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Comments

I took it that the one attack under Obama he was referring to was the Fort Hood shootings.

Posted by: urkel on January 8, 2010 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Why, exactly, is it more depressing to you that Rudy might have dementia instead of being a flat-out liar? Since when is dementia a rare thing in the GOP? In the words of the great Dan Quayle, "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

Posted by: BillFromPA on January 8, 2010 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

We can have an honest debate as to whether 9/11 took place under Bush or Clinton, but I think we all have to agree that it was more likely to take place under a democrat administration.

Posted by: Al on January 8, 2010 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK
problems like "Good Morning America"

Freudian slip, or simple statement of fact?

Posted by: les on January 8, 2010 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

1) Al - Bush took office in Jan. of 2001. September 2001 is after Jan of 2001. There is no way to have, "an honest debate as to whether 9/11 took place under Bush or Clinton." You can have a dishonest debate, but only the reality impared will agree with you.

2) As has been pointed out by several former Bush administration officials, terrorism was a much lower priority during the first 9 months of Bush's presidency than it was during the Clinton years. Your claim that, "it was more likely to take place under a democrat administration," is counter-factual and silly.

Posted by: nisl on January 8, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

What would be honest about "a debate as to whether 9/11 took place under Bush or Clinton" when the calendar makes it clear that 9/11 took place under Bush?

While I must admit that I've only been following your comments for a relatively short time, Al, this comment ranks as one of your most mendacious.

Posted by: Pragmatic on January 8, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Al is clearly a spoof or a troll. Why bother engaging him, people?

Posted by: Ryan on January 8, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Al has a valid point. On 9/11/2001, Clinton was still responsible for the security of our country. It was only on 9/12/2001 that Bush took charge. Obviously 9/11 was Clinton's failure!

The Anthrax attacks were all aimed against democrats and media and were therefore not terrorism. Besides that, there is no proof that they were done by brown people and thus do not qualify as terrorism.

The shoe bomber does not count, because that did not happen over American airspace! Also, Reid was not a brown person so it cannot count as terrorism.

Thus, everyone can rest assured that Dick Cheney and Rudy and all republicans are correct in asserting that no terrorist attacks occured during the Bush administration.

Our corporate media is correct in providing platforms for persons to proudly proclaim that George Bush kept us safe and that Obama is soft on terrorism.

It is Villager wisdom that Obama and democrats are weak on security. We know that this is correct because they tell us so.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on January 8, 2010 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Did Rudy's interviewer correct the error? Or was the interviewer unaware of the error?

Posted by: HaroldinBuffalo on January 8, 2010 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

It's hard to know whether Giuliani actually believes the words coming out of his mouth.

Either Rudy or people around him are smart enough to know this isn't true, so the fact that he keeps repeating it implies that he knows he is lying and doesn't care.

"Al" has roots as a "legitimate" troll from ancient Kevin Drum Political Animal days, but the more recent Als have been parodies.

Posted by: qwerty on January 8, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

That this whole incident is being used by Republicans to bash the President is disgusting. Period.

That the media is complying with this just as eagerly as they complied with the "it's unpatriotic to question Bush" meme, is unforgivable.

Posted by: wtf on January 8, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

The media's complicity is criminal.

Posted by: Bobo Teh Clown on January 8, 2010 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

ECONOMIC *DEATH* to the Village, and the despicable, brain-dead Villagers within!

QUIT WATCHING AND SUPPORTING THESE MISERABLE, CONTEMPTIBLE, AMORAL, CORPORATE-WHORE BASTARDS!

And yes, I AM shouting!

Posted by: I Me Mine on January 8, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Al is a satirical genius with a delightly acerbic wit. His comments always brighten my day and almost always leave me in fits of involuntary laughter.

Posted by: James on January 8, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

But let's not forget that this are two angles to this problem. The first is that Rudy Giuliani doesn't have the foggiest idea what he's talking about, and routinely lies about basic, easy-to-understand details about recent history and national security. The second is that programs like "Good Morning America" keep inviting him back, despite the fact that he doesn't have the foggiest idea what he's talking about, and routinely lies

There's a third angle, which is that programs like "Good Morning America" let Giuliani use them to spread lies, and they don't do anything to set the record straight.

Of course if the GMA interviewer pointed out that 9/11 and the anthrax mailings took place on Bush's watch, I'll stand corrected.

Posted by: kc on January 8, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

=====
Giuliani, mayor of New York when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, also criticized administration prosecutors for "cutting off" questioning of the Nigerian accused in connection with the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight into Detroit on Christmas Day.

"Why in God's name would you stop questioning a terrorist?," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
======

Anybody know what that's about?

Posted by: A DC Wonk on January 8, 2010 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

McCain and Giuliani probably get airtime for the same reason Brangelina are on the cover of tabloids.

It sells.

The "news" programs are there to make money from advertisers. They make money by getting ratings. People are more interested in McCain than a more credible but lesser known Reoublican so he is a sought after pol-celebrity.

It's a self-propagating screw job and it works in conservatives favor.

If others' opinions were better than Giuliani's, they'd be more famous, the logic goes.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on January 8, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Based on the standards of the political establishment, Rudy Giuliani was the mayor of a city attacked by terrorists, and is therefore an expert on national security.

Let's not forget that this particular expert on security, in order to reward a big contributor and against the advice of his own actual security experts, insisted on placing his emergency command center within the most obvious terrorist target in the city (one which had already been attacked before), rendering the center totally useless on 9/11. As a result, corporations and foreign governments now pay him and his company millions to advise them on security.matters. Must be the power of marketing.

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on January 8, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Part of me hopes he's just a hack, deliberately lying to fool the public, because the alternative -- that Giuliani is suffering from some kind of dementia -- is more depressing.

I disagree. Dementia is at least controllable with medication. Either way, Giuliani should be given a break from TV appearances until his condition is cured.

Posted by: Grumpy on January 8, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

I am angry about GMA and other programs for never ever pushing back and telling the truth, has Good Morning America come back with the facts?

Posted by: js on January 8, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Most of the postings on this website are of the sort:

"X said Y, and how can X get away with saying Y, when Y can be linked to X (example, example, example)?"

Certainly, this is no critique of Steve's site--or of any other media that does the same. But at some point, the question then is, what can be done--if anything--about this daily onslaught against reason and rationality?

It's crystal clear that we have a dysfunctional traditional media in this country, whose purpose is largely to support and reinforce the dysfunctional government and processes that we as citizens are saddled with. Aside from the internet (and YMMV) and a few traditional media examples (e.g., Rachel Maddow) there really isn't any other outlet with which to spotlight these daily atrocities to honest-thinking people. (Which begs the question, if there were, would it make any difference?) Until or unless the majority of our populace realizes what is going on, I don't see that there's anything we can do about it except bitch. And bitch I do, as do others.

But really, what can we do about this other than yell from the sidelines during a game that is controlled--and is indeed rigged--by those who want to maintain this wretched state of inequality and manipulation of fact? More of a philosophical question, I guess. What do we do?

Posted by: terraformer on January 8, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

The biggest 'enemy' your country has is your utterly corrupted Corporate Media. And most of the citizens of your country are simply to stupid to realize it. What do you expect from a population that is 30 percent obese, another 40 percent grossly overweight ? A population in which the majority 'believe' that the Earth is only 10,000 years old ? A population that is only 5 percent of the total of all countries, yest uses 25 percent of all the Earth resources ? A population in which over 10 percent of your population is in prisons, and has the highest rate of imprisonment of any other country in the world ? A population that is so stupid that over 30 percent of your citizens can even find your own fucking country on a world map ? A country and it's corporations that pays people like Brian Williams 15 million a year to read the propaganda that he is hired to read for 30 minutes a night, and yet a country that pays the teachers of your children about $30,000 a year. And then you wonder why you citizens are so stupid and thus given to 'believing' the MANIPULATION OF REALITY BY THE MEDIA THAT IS OWNED BY THE CORPORATIONS WHOSE SOLE MOTIVE IS TO ENRICH THEMSELVES ? As a result a country that should be called the UNITED CORPORATIONS OF AMERICA, versus the United States Of America.

Like I said your GREATEST ENEMY IS YOUR OWN CORPORATE MEDIA. And you are to stupid to realize it.

Posted by: blue on January 8, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

It's clear some interviewers are more concerned about the theatrical aspects of their show than they are about being correct on the issues. Ratings depend on numbers of viewers, usually not on being correct.

Being correct so many times means being argumentative with Republican guests and that turns many TV viewers off who don't want controversey over their morning coffee.


Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 8, 2010 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

How could Mr. 9iu11ani forget about 9/11?

Posted by: Bobo Teh Clown on January 8, 2010 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

So, what, now?

It's a noun, a verb and 'nothing happened'?

That's even stupider than the first Rudy.

Posted by: biggerbox on January 8, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

blue, we apologize for our flaws; we know we're fat and stupid, but thank you for the reminder. And you're very perceptive; your analysis of what ails the U.S. is ground breaking and thought provoking. I'm just curious as to the identity of the enlightened, trim, rational, educated, sensible nation you're posting from. Freedonia? The Planet Ming? blueistan?

Posted by: jrw on January 8, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

jrw: it's called Denmark. And we happen to have the most free media in the world. Given that there are over 200 countries in the World the UNITED CORPORATIONS OF AMERICAN ranked number 54 relative to 'freedom of the press'. Now why is that ? Have something to do with the Corporations that own your media and their own self-interests which include keeping your citizens stupid and mis-informed ?

Posted by: blue on January 8, 2010 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

But the real scandal is that ABC invites him and then doesn't point out, "9/11 was during Bush's time." I don't understand that-- do they think they have to be polite?

Also, it's clear this is a meme -- Matalin (who knows better) said it, and several have said it since. I think this is an attempt to resuscitate Bush's reputation, futile as that might seem. Cheney too.

Posted by: asheden on January 8, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Giuliani was also on "Morning Joe" this a.m. --spouting there were 'no terrorist attacks other than 911 during George W Bush's administration.'

He was barely challenged. He barely let others speak.

Meanwhile, terror attacks during the George W Bush administration included:

--5 dead from anthrax mails in the fall of 2001, deemed a terrorist act in a 2004 state department report.

--Shoe bomb attempt by Richard Reid 12/01, described later as a terrorist attack by Michael Chertoff, of the Bush administration

--Shootings at Los Angeles airport where 2 were killed, 4 wounded at ticket counter, described as terrorist act in Justice Dept. report of 2004

--Sniper in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. area in 2002--3 weeks of terrorism; the accused received the death penalty, described as "act of terrorism."

--University of North Carolina, grad student drives SUV into nine pedestrians, claiming he was following the lead of the 9/11 attacks of M. Atta

Can people please learn these facts and challenge the lies of Rudy Giuliani and others.

Media Matters for America has done a wonderful job of delineating the truth of the matter.

Thank you as well, Mr. Benen.

Posted by: progressively opining on January 8, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we can cut to the chase here:

What part of the August 6, 2001 Daily briefing memo giving to Bush, entitled " "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States" does the media, Guliani, etc., not understand??

Posted by: bigwisc on January 8, 2010 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

And consider this: The invasion of Iraq would never have happened without the 'active complicity' of the Corporate Media. The thousands of lives lost in your military, the countless families of soldiers who have been destroyed because of this war, the hundred of thousands of lives killed in Iraq itself, the billions upon billion of dollars spent on this war, would not have happened with the aiding and abetting of the Bush/Cheney/Corporate agenda that wanted this war.

YOUR GREATEST ENEMY IS YOUR CORPORATE CONTROLLED, YES CONTROLLED, MEDIA ...

Posted by: blue on January 8, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

And if these show didn't "invite him back" what would they have to talk about 24/7? We who watch are the bigger fools. We who watch and don't demand the Media to ask incisive questions are the FOOLS. The Net/Blogs have to continue to expose the Media for creating these situations that feed their news cycle.

Posted by: fillphil on January 8, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Blue is exactly right. Americans ARE fat, lazy, stupid, gullible, and very easy to control because Americans sit on their fat asses in front of their fat TV sets and just mindlessly absorb whatever comes on the screen as the gospel truth.

Posted by: FireZone on January 8, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

It is like the former mayor has the halo effect. Rudy goes on these shows and the hosts, such as Mika
Brezinski this morning, are all about him being America's Mayor. He gets a pass. Every time.
I know she could have debated and challenged him. It was a Rudy lie after lie, and Rudy misrepresentations the whole time. The panel participants knew it. Every so often you could feel a potential challenge coming, but it was weak. They let him wear the halo.

Posted by: collective amnesia on January 8, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

And I should have added, the corporate media cares not one bit about being truthful or accurate. ALL they care about is ad revenue. How do you get people to watch, by giving them conflict of any sort. They don't care if someone is blatantly lying about something, they just want viewers which is why they keep inviting dickheads like Rudy or Ann Coulter or whoever on their shows because it's provoking the way schoolchildren use taunts to try and get a reaction.

Posted by: FireZone on January 8, 2010 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK
If the Abdulmutallab plot counts as a domestic attack "under Obama," than the Richard Reid shoe-bombing attempt has to also count as a domestic attack "under Bush," which makes the "no domestic attacks under Bush" that much more ridiculous.

The "no domestic attacks under Bush" line (even in its usual "after 9/11" form) was so ludicrous given the 2001 Anthrax attacks and the 2002 LAX/El Al attack -- in both of which actual people were killed, and both of which were characterized by Bush's own Justice Department as terrorist attacks (the latter explicitly foreign terrorism) -- that whether or not one counts Reid's unsuccessful hardly makes a difference in the degree of ridiculousness.

(Of course, even ignoring the accuracy of the "after 9/11" form, the idea of giving Bush a pass for the largest successful terrorist attack in history against the United States is, to say the least, somewhat dubious.)

Posted by: cmdicely on January 8, 2010 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Part of me hopes he's just a hack, deliberately lying to fool the public, because the alternative -- that Giuliani is suffering from some kind of dementia -- is more depressing.

Third equally likely alternative: it was a really off-color joke.

Posted by: blank on January 8, 2010 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

how about a fool with dementia? works for me.

Posted by: daphne on January 8, 2010 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

How to be a National Security Expert:

1. Locate your command and control center in a complex that has already been attacked by terrorists.
2. Do not assure your fire and police personnel can communicate with each other in an emergency.
3. Make sure there are no peep shows left in Times Square.
4. After your major fail, promote your corrupt and incompetent police commissioner, who also did not assure his people could communicate with fire personnel, as the chief national security executive.

Posted by: Mxyzptlk on January 8, 2010 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Al is clearly a spoof or a troll. Why bother engaging him, people?

Posted by: Palyao on January 19, 2010 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Dominy on March 15, 2010 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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