Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 28, 2010

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.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Rudy's comments were rehearsed well before Obama's speech was even written.

Posted by: dk on January 28, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

...the president used the words "terrorist" (twice), "terrorism," "war" (seven times), "al Qaeda" (twice), and "national security" (three times).

But did he remind America that the terrorists are Islamic? How else will America remember that the halal grocery store across town is a secret hideout for the enemy?

Posted by: Grumpy on January 28, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I copied and pasted this post to an e-mail to CNN (via their contact us page) to give them an example of why I don't watch CNN anymore.

Posted by: Chris on January 28, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

And then there was CNBC a little while ago, with Pete Sessions talking about who knows what. I was at the gym and couldn't hear what they were saying, but every time I looked at the screen, I saw this caption (I think this was the wording): "Obama: Can't afford tax cuts now." Sooooo irresponsible and misrepresentative.

Posted by: Cindy McCant on January 28, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's not just that he's invited back over and over, its that his lies are left unchallenged.

I'll also contact CNN. I hope alot of people do.

Posted by: SaintZak on January 28, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

From the few comments so far it looks like liberals are going to start their own mini tea party movement to coerce CNN into denying Giuliani his First Amendment rights. Why am I not surprised?

Posted by: Al on January 28, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

You know, it was snowing in NYC this morning, Rudy lives close to the studio, he's always available. In other words, he's a cheap date with name recognition. He was probably a last-minute stand in for someone else.

People aren't completely dumb - they know Rudy is full of shit, and every time he shows up and says his lines he further solidifies his bozo-ness and gives one more credibility hit to the GOP as a whole. I say let him speak!

Posted by: Jack Lindahl on January 28, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Image results for 'Rudy the Clown',


Posted by: cld on January 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy just loves parties!


Posted by: cld on January 28, 2010 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's just Show Biz. If Mark Twain was right, that we are an ignorant, mean and silly people, then we should expect show biz media to have guests who interest such people — the same sort as themselves, only more so, which explains Giuliani.

Posted by: buddy66 on January 28, 2010 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

We've been over this before...these characters never get called out for any of the falsehoods they spout...and they are on 24-7. If one gets bombarded enough times with this trash, with no comeback whatsoever, one starts to believe it. Herein lies one basic problem with Obama's agenda - it gets transformed into something totally different from what it truly is by these talkinghead idiots.

Posted by: whichwitch on January 28, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

An addendum to point #1 - I recall Obama stating with barely veiled delight that the capture/death score against al Qaeda was significantly better in 2009 than 2008. Perhaps Rudi would care to address that.

Posted by: Chopin on January 28, 2010 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

When do you ever see critical questioning on CNN? Fox? MSNBC?

The journalists are too wrapped up in the show to actually be of service to their viewers.

Look at the free passes McCain gets.

Even Sarah gets handled with kid-gloves.

It's not just Rudy Doody.

I'd love to see a producer prompt a fire-back question during an interview. They could hold up a HUGE whiteboard, saying "This is bullsh*t, ask him if he heard the speech?" Or

talk into the earpiece... "Rudy's fooling no one, tell him he's a jerk, don't worry we won't fire you. Think of the play back on the web tomorrow if finally someone CALLs him on his lies!!"

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's sad that we have to waste time defending Obama against these trivial lies. He did so say war!!! He said war lots of times!!! Obama totally loves war! He loves war more than Republicans!! Shouldn't the response be, "Rudy, why do you want more war?"

Posted by: bobbo on January 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

For people in the Village, the narrative is fixed in their head that "Democrats are soft on National Security" and like Rudy, they don't hear Obama when he says things like this in the speech as their brains are not wired to receive. Rudy simply did not listen to speech, but simply hears the speech his strawman Obama spoke in his head so he could justify his talking points.

I could write essays on how the current narrative is structured.

Posted by: rickstersherpa on January 28, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

You can't blame the poor newsreaders at CNN. If they new anything about reporting, they'd be reporting, not reading scripts.

Anyway, they most certainly would have read a specific challenge to Giuliani's more or less impromptu remarks had they been scripted.

What's that? You want the newsreaders to listen and think? Gimme a break. That's not their department.

Lie down with an airhead, wake up with an imbecile blowing hot air at you.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Posted by: The New York Crank on January 28, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

the best thing about rudy is the fact that he has been so rejected by the gop yet still is willing to do their dirty work. this guy couldn't muster enough votes to win ONE delegate in 2008.

Posted by: byron c on January 28, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Al, could you explain to me just where in the First Amendment there is wording that guarantees one the right to appear on CNN? Or, for that matter, on Fox? And can you explain why it would be a violation of the First Amendment be challenged for making false statements? No one is saying he shouldn't make them. If he wants to stand on a soapbox at Washington Square Park and yell that there were no terrorist attacks during Bush's Presidency, no one will stop him. But if responsible news organization must invite him, then why don't they challenge his obvious misstatements?

Posted by: T-Rex on January 28, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Why exactly do the networks bring Giuliani on? To talk security? He compounded the deaths on 9/11 by relocating the Office of Emergency Management to the World Trade Center, and by refusing to provide firefighters and policemen working radios that would have warned them to evacuate the towers before they collapsed. Do the networks bring Giuliani on to talk politics? After spending over 50 million dollars during the 2008 presidential campaign he was only able to win 1 electoral vote, so he's not exactly an expert on winning campaigns. Perhaps the networks bring him on to talk the politics of security, after all he did put forth the name of his good friend Bernie Kerik as a nominee for the head of Homeland Security. Wait, that's a bad thing too.

So why do the networks keep bringing Giuliani on to talk about anything? Because they think credibility is highly overrated.

Posted by: Lab Partner on January 28, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno. Why is James Carville consistently called back? If the past decade has proven anything to me, it is that a person does not have to be precient, intelligent, or even interesting to land gigs with the various talking heads who populate television "news." Said person does need to be prepared to relentlessly spew talking points. Being ready, willing, and able to talk over anyone with opposing views is also a big plus. In a perfect world, Giuliani would not occupy even a centimeter of the national spotlight. He is a failure in so many ways. But, alas, the world ain't perfect.

Posted by: TuiMel on January 28, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you get it? Roody is a reliable feature on post-speech shows or following major Obama/Democratic initiatives for EXACTLY THE REASONS YOU DESCRIBE! Everybody knows that even those who hold him in utter contempt - and they are legion - will watch just because they want to get a feel for what a Pinnochio he was this time around. CNN only cares about number of viewers, just like every other network with whom they must compete. They don't care what the viewers' reaction is to what they see, only that they watch. Wolf Blitzer is a case in point; he wouldn't even make a good hood ornament (assuming he was small enough), but people continue to watch his show because he's "controversial", which is another way of saying he lets people he speaking with tell lies, and often repeats them to legitimize them.

People who love Roody watch because they see him as a prophet who cuts through the Democrats' bullshit and zeroes in on the things nobody wants to talk about. People who hate him watch for the same reason people can't pass a highway wreck without turning to look. CNN benefits either way.

Posted by: Mark on January 28, 2010 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Repeatedly giving Giuliani a microphone does a disservice to the nation.

Absolutely true. I'd wager, though, that at this point Ghouliani could go on one of these shows and claim the moon is made of cheese and the hosts would just nod politely, while in the control booth the producers would already be scheduling his next appearance. That is, if McCain isn't available.

Posted by: electrolite on January 28, 2010 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy Giuliani, like so many of his kind, want the term 'terrorist' to be connected to the words Muslim and Islamic. Several nutcases indict a billion people of the same religion but several nutcases who shoot doctors and blow up a federal building are just overzealous, misguided individuals.

Posted by: Tom on January 28, 2010 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Every time Rudy is asked to bobblehead about terrorism, he or one of the news flacks talks about the staggering cost of taking one of these guys (currently Fruit-Of-The-Boom Boy) to trial in the criminal justice system. Usually they say 250 million per year X 4 years = 1 billion dollars. Nobody ever challenges the idea that it could cost so much. What are they planning to do, tear down the Empire State Building and build a new Alcatraz of Manhattan just for these trials? It's absurd but gets embedded in the viewers' minds as another example of government waste.

Posted by: GringoNoraca on January 28, 2010 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Stop giving Rudy air time? If you don't enjoy him as you hear him, keep in mind the fact that Rudy's rants generally sound much better in the original German.

Posted by: Ron Chusid on January 28, 2010 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”

Mark Twain

Posted by: islandgeek on January 28, 2010 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Why Guiliani?
1. Ratings
2. Guiliani is a media-whore
3. Ratings
4. Guiliani is "well-known"
5. Ratings
6. Asking questions are hard
7. Ratings
8. There are no "news shows"; they are now simply bastardized "informercials".
9. Ratings
10. 9/11 (you knew it'd be there!)

Posted by: Doug on January 28, 2010 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

clown alleinunterhalter clowns geburtstag

Posted by: Carroll B. Merriman on November 18, 2010 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK



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