Media outlets uncritically reported Giuliani's misquotation of Clinton's view of free markets

Media outlets uncritically reported Giuliani's misquotation of Clinton's view of free markets

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

CBSNews.com and Newsday uncritically reported Rudy Giuliani's assertion during the May 15 Republican presidential debate that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said "that the unfettered free market is the most disastrous thing in modern America." In fact, Clinton said she agreed with the following quote, which she included in her book It Takes a Village: "The unfettered free market has been the most radically disruptive force in American life in the last generation." Explaining further, Clinton said "that the market is the driving force behind our prosperity ... but that it cannot be permitted just to run roughshod over people's lives as well."

In their coverage of the May 15 Republican presidential debate, CBSNews.com and Newsday uncritically reported former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's assertion that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "agreed" "that the unfettered free market is the most disastrous thing in modern America." However, Giuliani misrepresented what Clinton said. In fact, as a May 16 Bloomberg report noted: "In a 1996 C-Span interview, Clinton said she agreed with a quote she cited [sic] her book, 'It Takes a Village,' that 'The unfettered free market has been the most radically disruptive force in American life in the last generation.' Clinton also said in the interview 'that the market is the driving force behind our prosperity,' 'but that it cannot be permitted just to run roughshod over people's lives as well.' "

Additionally, in a May 15 article on the debate, The Politico's Jonathan Martin wrote that Giuliani "cit[ed] two Clinton quotes about the economy," without reporting that Giuliani had misrepresented Clinton's statement. A May 15 Hotline On Call post said Giuliani "gets props for directly criticizing Hillary Clinton," also without noting the misquotation.

Giuliani said during the debate:

"There's something, I think, really big at stake here. We're looking at a race here in which the leading Democratic candidate for president of the United States has said that the unfettered free market is the most disastrous thing in modern America. That's a quote -- or that's a quote she agreed with."

From Clinton's March 3, 1996, interview on C-SPAN's Booknotes:

BRIAN LAMB (host): There's a quote here. I want to ask you if you agree with this. This is from Alan Ehrenhalt, author of "The Lost City" -- you put it in your book. "The unfettered free market has been the most radically disruptive force in American life in the last generation."

CLINTON: I believe that. That's why I put it in the book. I think if you look at the argument we've had in our political life in the last several years, it's been a false debate. We've pitted the government against everything else. Well, I don't believe the government has had as big an impact as commercial television, as a lot of the decisions made in the marketplace about how we're going to pay and compensate people, about downsizing corporations and making workers more insecure. And I just believe that there's got to be a healthy tension among all of our institutions in society, and that the market is the driving force behind our prosperity, our freedom in so many respects to make our lives our own but that it cannot be permitted just to run roughshod over people's lives as well.

CBSNews.com and Newsday ran reports that reprinted Giuliani's misrepresentation of Clinton's statement on the free market without correcting it. In a May 16 CBSNews.com news analysis, senior political editor Vaughn Ververs wrote:

Under the microscope for some of his recent conflicting statement on abortion, Giuliani was asked to address the issue several times. He sought at one point to play down his support for abortion rights by broadening the question and raising the specter of what he called the Democratic Party's "leading presidential candidate" -- Hillary Clinton.

"There's something, I think, really big at stake here," said Giuliani. Without mentioning Clinton's name, he said she agreed that the "unfettered free market is the most disastrous thing in modern America" and claimed she favors increasing taxes. "There's such a stark difference there," said Guiliani [sic], "that this election in 2008 is going to make a very big difference about whether we go in that direction."

In a May 16 Newsday article, reporter Craig Gordon wrote:

As for Giuliani, he shot back not at his accusers but at the woman any one of them might have to face in November of next year, the Democratic senator from New York -- saying all on the stage should agree to look past differences to unite and beat back Clinton. Without mentioning her by name, Giuliani accused Clinton of believing that the free market is "disastrous" and that the government has to take money from citizens to spend on the common good.

Network/Outlet
CBS, Newsday
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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