Media still pushing the myth of Rudy Giuliani, crisis management expert

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Tell me if you've heard this one before: This morning, Rudy Giuliani sat for major interviews with cable networks and offered a number of false claims and blatantly hypocritical statements in attacking the Obama administration's handling of a crisis.

Yup, despite his extensive record of false and ludicrous statements, media bookers just can't seem to stay away from Giuliani - when a crisis hits, they rush to call up Rudy and get him on the air to trash the president. Before it was ABC bringing him in to discuss the attempted Christmas Day bombing and Fox calling on him to analyze the attempted Times Square bombing. Today it's MSNBC's Morning Joe and Fox & Friends booking him to discuss Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill; and there's no doubt that we haven't seen the last of him.

But why? Why are the media so eager to get a former New York City mayor and failed presidential candidate's take on crises? Giuliani would be the first to say that it has something to do with a noun and a verb and 9/11 -- and the media have for years eagerly buffed the handling of that crisis by "America's Mayor."

But lost in this cacophony of praise has been the criticism of Giuliani's performance before, during, and after the 9-11 attacks:

  • Giuliani received criticism for selecting 7 World Trade Center -- which collapsed during the 9-11 attacks -- as the site of his emergency command center. Giuliani reportedly "overruled" warnings from the New York Police Department not to locate the command center in the World Trade Center because it was the "number one" target for terrorists.
  • New York City's firefighters have been critical of Giuliani for what they see as his failure to ensure that the New York police and fire departments had interoperable radios. At the time of the attacks, the New York fire department was using outdated VHF radios that were incompatible with the police department's UHF radios. In failing to improve the radio system, Giuliani reportedly ignored warnings following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a 1995 sarin-gas drill conducted by New York City officials that the lack of interoperable radios was a problem.
  • The New York Daily News reported on August 10, 2007, that Giuliani "drew outrage and indignation from Sept. 11 first-responders yesterday by saying he spent as much time -- or more -- exposed to the site's dangers as workers who dug through the debris for the missing and the dead." On August 17, 2007, The New York Times reported that "for the period of Sept. 17 to Dec. 16, 2001," Giuliani spent "a total of 29 hours" at the WTC ruins "often for short periods or to visit locations adjacent to the rubble." The Times added that "[i]n that same period, many rescue and recovery workers put in daily 12-hour shifts."
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