The Media Has A Rudy Giuliani Problem

News networks have repeatedly hosted former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani after terror attacks despite his divisiveness. Giuliani consistently uses his appearances on news programs to fearmonger about Muslims, blame President Obama for terror attacks, or advocate for divisive policies such as surveillance of Muslim communities.

Giuliani Uses Orlando Mass Shooting To Renew Call For Spying On Muslim Communities

After Orlando Shooting At Gay Nightclub, Giuliani Renews His Call For Surveillance Of Muslims. In the wake of America’s most deadly shooting in modern history, which took place June 12 in Orlando, Florida, Giuliani appeared on Fox News’ Fox & Friends to bolster his call to profile Muslim communities, saying it is “absolutely stupid … to pull police officers out of the mosques.” From the June 14 edition of the show:

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): People are so scared about -- they're so terrified that we're going to offend someone. However, what's offensive is to have 49 people dead today. How do you explain that to their families?

RUDY GIULIANI: How stupid is it to pull police officers out of the mosques? Absolutely stupid.

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): And during your administration --

GIULIANI: I put them in.

DOOCY: -- there was surveillance of mosques, that's right. And Donald Trump called for a renewal of that particular policy.


GIULIANI: [T]he reality is, I put police officers undercover in mosques, and then Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg increased it substantially after September 11, as they should have. And the present mayor has taken them out. And that's part of not identifying what the common thread is in the attack in San Bernardino, the attack in Brussels, the attack in Paris and now the attack in Orlando. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/14/16].

Fact Checkers Found NYPD Surveillance Of Mosques And Muslim Communities Was Ineffective

Wash. Post’s Fact Checker: The Surveillance Program Giuliani Claimed He “Started ... In 1994” Was Completely Ineffective. In a March 23 fact check of Republican Senator Ted Cruz's suggestion that the United States begin surveilling mosques -- a policy Giuliani claimed he initiated in 1994 -- Washington Post fact-checker Michelle Ye Hee Lee noted that such programs have “actually fractured the police department's relationship with many in the American Muslim community” in the past. Moreover, Cruz's characterization of why the New York City Police Department (NYPD) dropped the program “is an inaccurate description.” In fact, “by the time that de Blasio and Bratton shuttered it, it was largely inactive. And over its six years, none of the information collected by the Demographics Unit led to a single case.” The Post gave Cruz's claims about the merits of the NYPD's Muslim surveillance program “Four Pinocchios,” a distinction the paper reserves for “whoppers” of misinformation:

In response to the attacks, Cruz called on police in the United States to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods. When his comment drew criticism, specifically from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, his campaign pointed to the New York Police Department's practice after 9/11 of spying on Muslim communities for potential terrorist activities. Then the campaign criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for shuttering the surveillance program, saying he “succumbed to unfounded criticisms” and “eliminated the efforts” of NYPD to work with Muslim communities.

How accurate is this characterization?


There are two elements to this claim. First is that de Blasio ended the program because he “succumbed to unfounded criticisms.” There was criticism, and whether it was “unfounded” may be a matter of opinion. But by the time that de Blasio and Bratton shuttered it, it was largely inactive. And over its six years, none of the information collected by the Demographics Unit led to a single case. The Cruz campaign's characterization makes it seem as though de Blasio disbanded an active program because of the criticism, but that is an inaccurate description.

The second part is that de Blasio's decision “eliminated the efforts of law enforcement to work with” Muslim communities. But this program actually fractured the police department's relationship with many in the American Muslim community in New York, and a group of Muslims sued the department over it. On both fronts, this characterization is false, and earns Four Pinocchios. [The Washington Post, 3/23/16]

PolitiFact: NYPD Surveillance Of Muslims Failed To “Generate Any Terror Cases.” On November 20, PolitiFact investigated the history of the NYPD’s surveillance program against Muslims after presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump cited the program and suggested he would do something similar, and found that it led to “a failure to generate any terror cases”:

In 2003, the CIA helped the New York Police Department create a squad dedicated to surveilling Muslim communities, called the Demographics Unit, as part of broad policy changes following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Demographics Unit typically consisted of a dozen members, and it focused on identifying places where potential terrorists might be able to blend in with the rest of society.

The police essentially mapped out Muslim communities inside and outside the city, detailing where people in traditional Islamic clothes ate, worshipped, shopped and more. According to the New York Times, “plainclothes detectives looked for ‘hot spots’ of radicalization that might give the police an early warning about terrorist plots.”

The result of the surveillance operations: a rift between the Muslim community and law enforcement, two ongoing federal lawsuits and a failure to generate any terror cases. [PolitiFact, 11/20/15]

As Mayor, Giuliani Failed On 9/11 Communications, Cleanup, And Treatment Of Firefighters

International Association Of Fire Fighters Castigated Giuliani's “Egregious Treatment Of Our 343 Fallen On 9/11.” In a March 9, 2007, open letter from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), IAFF president Harold Schaitberger excoriated “Giuliani's egregious treatment of our 343 fallen on 9/11, their families and our members following that horrific day.” The letter also took issue with Giuliani's “scoop-and-dump” policy, saying: “Mayor Giuliani's actions meant that fire fighters and citizens who perished would either remain buried at Ground Zero forever, with no closure for families, or be removed like garbage and deposited at the Fresh Kills Landfill.” The letter later added: “What Giuliani showed is a disgraceful lack of respect for the fallen and those brothers still searching for them. He exposed our members and leaders to arrest” (emphasis original):

On March 14, 2007, the IAFF will host the first bi-partisan Presidential Forum of the 2008 election cycle. No other union - and very few organizations - has the credibility and respect to attract top-tier candidates from both political parties. The lineup of speakers who have agreed to participate in our Forum is truly a testament to our great union and the reputation we have built as a powerful political force and a coveted endorsement.


The IAFF made a decision early on to invite all major candidates from both political parties, even those with whom we have substantial disagreement on policy issues.

However, beginning last November, I had discussions with our New York City affiliate presidents of Locals 94 and 854 about whether to invite former Mayor Rudy Giuliani based on his egregious treatment of our 343 fallen on 9/11, their families and our members following that horrific day.


In conjunction with the cut in fire fighters allowed to search, Giuliani also made a conscious decision to institute a “scoop-and-dump” operation to expedite the clean-up of Ground Zero in lieu of the more time-consuming, but respectful, process of carefully removing debris in hope of uncovering more remains.

Mayor Giuliani's actions meant that fire fighters and citizens who perished would either remain buried at Ground Zero forever, with no closure for families, or be removed like so much garbage and deposited at the Fresh Kills Landfill.


What Giuliani showed is a disgraceful lack of respect for the fallen and those brothers still searching for them. He exposed our members and leaders to arrest. He valued the money and gold and wanted the site cleared before he left office at the end of 2001 more than he valued the lives and memories of those lost.

Our members deserved the right to continue with a full search for their lost brothers and other innocent victims. [International Association of Fire Fighters, 3/9/07; Media Matters, 4/4/07]

Giuliani's Administration Showed A Pattern Of Security-Related Cronyism. According to an August 22, 2006, article in The Village Voice, authors Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins documented how Giuliani's cronyism and “managerial dysfunction” harmed the response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Barrett and Collins explain that NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, was “a prime example of this managerial dysfunction all morning” during the 9/11 attacks because in the 102 minutes between the first impact of a plane into the World Trade Center and the collapse of the North Tower, “Kerik became Giuliani's bodyguard, just as he had been in the 1993 mayoral campaign,” rather than leading the police's efforts. [The Village Voice, 8/22/06; Media Matters, 2/2/07]

Giuliani Mishandled The Cleanup Effort At Ground Zero, Exacerbated The Risk To Workers' Lives And Health. Criticism of Giuliani's handling of the cleanup effort at Ground Zero began shortly after the 9/11 attacks. In a February 2002 preliminary assessment of the response to the attacks, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) claimed, “It appears at this point as if the bulk of these [environmental health] problems resulted from shortcomings by the Giuliani administration.” The NRDC also affirmed that Giuliani's Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Joel Miele “did not fully exercise [his] authority” to respond to “emergencies caused by releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances,” and that “when it came to communicating about environmental health matters, city, state and federal efforts fell short of the mark.” [Natural Resources Defense Council, The Environmental Impacts Of The World Trade Center Attack, February 2002; Media Matters, 3/6/07]

Giuliani Failed To Set Up A Unified Command Post For New York Fire And Police Departments, Which Hampered Communication Between Them. On September 11, 2002, The New York Times reported that “The Police and Fire Departments barely spoke on 9/11. They set up separate command posts.” Moreover, the Times reported that early on during the crisis, “the Office of Emergency Management had to be evacuated. It had been placed in the trade center complex by Mr. Giuliani, against advice that it was unwise to put an emergency center in a terrorist target”:

Of course the country had to understand what went wrong. One of the largest structures ever built had failed, at a terrible cost in lives. When warned of danger, those in charge had shrugged. Many died because the rescue effort was plagued by communication breakdowns, a lack of coordination, failure to prepare.


As the towers were burning, Randy Mastro, a lawyer who served as deputy mayor under Mr. Giuliani, was asked on CNN if the city had changed its approach since 1993. Indeed it had, he said.

In 1993, Mr. Mastro said, “There was no coordinated city response. There was no Mayor's Office of Emergency Management. Rudy Giuliani established that. It's been one of the hallmarks of his tenure. And unfortunately, there are circumstances like this one where that coordinated effort has to come into play and is coming into play now.”

The belief in the coordinated public safety efforts of the Giuliani administration turned out to be much like the belief in the unsinkability of the Titanic. Early in the crisis, the Office of Emergency Management had to be evacuated. It had been placed in the trade center complex by Mr. Giuliani, against advice that it was unwise to put an emergency center in a terrorist target. The Police and Fire Departments barely spoke on 9/11. They set up separate command posts. The firefighters stayed on the ground, 900 feet below fires that the police in helicopters were seeing up close. The two departments had not practiced helicopter operations for at least a year before the attack. [The New York Times, 9/11/02; Media Matters, 3/2/07]

Despite These Failures, Fox News Has Repeatedly Hosted Giuliani To Push Divisive Rhetoric After Terror Attacks

After Brussels Attacks, Giuliani Agreed With Ted Cruz That It Is “Right” To Suggest Patrolling “Some” Muslim Neighborhoods. Giuliani was asked to respond to then-Republican presidential candidate Cruz's call to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in an effort to fight terrorism after the terror attack in Brussels, Belgium. Giuliani responded that he “started that policy in 1994” and that Cruz is “right” to suggest patrolling “some” Muslim neighborhoods to, allegedly, combat radicalization. From the March 24 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

STEVE DOOCY (HOST): In the wake of the Brussels attack, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump both agree that maybe there should be some patrolling of Muslim areas in the United States. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani used to survey and surveil the mosques here. So does it work?

RUDY GIULIANI: Well sure, I started that policy in 1994, because the bombing in 1993 of the World Trade Center was planned in a mosque in New Jersey.


GIULIANI: The sheik was preaching and if you worked your way in and you got into a couple of the private meetings, you pick up plenty of information. That's for example how the blind sheik was prosecuted and put in jail for 100 years. That's how they thwarted a plan in the 1990s to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. The Holland tunnel.

BRIAN KILMEADE (HOST): What do you say to Bill Bratton?

GIULIANI: Why do you think my police commissioner at the time, first thing he did on September 11 was close down the bridges and tunnels to New Jersey? You know why he did that?


GIULIANI: Because of the information we were getting from the mosques in New Jersey. He was afraid that that was going to unleash a group of cells in New Jersey, come into New York and do a bunch of small bombings.


DOOCY: What about Ted Cruz saying that we be should be patrolling certain Muslim neighborhoods in the United States? That's what he's gotten a lot of push back on.

GIULIANI: Put the word “some” in and you're right. They shouldn't patrol every Muslim neighborhood. Most of them, like in New York City, most of the Muslim neighborhoods are extremely safe, decent neighborhoods. We do not have a radicalized Muslim population particularly in New York City. Certain parts of New Jersey there's a radicalized Muslim population and every once in a while in New York. So you've got to keep the option open of surveilling mosques. What Catholic priest, what Jewish rabbi, what Protestant minister would care if I had a police officer -- they'd like it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/24/16]

Giuliani Blamed Obama For November 2015 Paris Attacks, Claiming “ISIS Is An Obama Creation.” After the November terror attacks in Paris, France, Giuliani told Fox News host Sean Hannity that “ISIS never would have emerged” if it weren’t for Obama’s “vacuous foreign policy.” From the November 16 edition of Fox’s Hannity:

RUDY GIULIANI: This has been a very difficult weekend for me because it brings back September 11 and all the terrible memories I have of it. And the thought then, when President Bush, you know, acted so decisively and so quickly, that maybe something like this wouldn't happen again. And the reality is, this did not have to happen, if our policies were different. If President Obama had listened to Senator McCain and Senator Graham and a whole group of other people and had set up a no-fly zone in Syria five years ago, if we had gone in and we had worked with the Syrian legitimate rebels, if we had not taken our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, ISIS never would have emerged. ISIS is filling a vacuum created by a vacuous foreign policy. President Obama -- this is an Obama -- ISIS is an Obama creation. This would not have happened. Just follow me for a second. If we had 50 or 60,000 troops in Iraq, we would have been getting the intelligence that would have told us about the development of ISIS. And that would have been given to the CIA. Once you take your troops out, we have no resources, we have no real access. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/16/15]

Giuliani Called Taking Police Out Of Mosques “Irrational” In The Wake Of Charlie Hebdo Shooting. On the January 8, 2015, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Giuliani called for renewed surveillance of Muslims after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, and he suggested that opposition to mosque surveillance is evidence of wrongdoing. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/8/15]

In Response To San Bernardino, CA, Shooting, Giuliani Claimed That Muslims Actually “Like To Have Police” In Mosques. After the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA, Giuliani claimed that “no legitimate imam really cares if there are police. In fact, they invite it.” From the December 7 edition of Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto:

NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): How do authorities seek it out?

RUDY GIULIANI: It's going to require infiltration of these groups. Finding them, infiltrating them --

CAVUTO: Social media?

GIULIANI: It's going to require tracking social media very very carefully and also it's going to require inserting undercover people. The idea, for example, of Mayor de Blasio taking the police out of the mosques. Terrible idea. I mean, no priests, no minister, no legitimate imam really cares if there are police. In fact, they invite it. They like have to police there, it makes everything a little more secure.

CAVUTO: Well there is that.

GIULIANI: Once the police are in there, they're not in there as police. They get to know the people there maybe the imam is perfectly normal and perfectly fine and perfectly legitimate, but some of the people there may be the ones that are plotting. And if you have infiltration, if you have human intelligence, that's a lot more valuable than electronic intelligence, particularly when you're buried in it. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 12/7/15]

Other Networks Have Also Been Guilty Of Giving Giuliani A Platform Following Terror Attacks

On CNN, Giuliani Uses Anti-LGBT Orlando Massacre To Fearmonger About Muslims. Giuliani appeared on CNN’s New Day, where he emphasized that the Orlando mass shooting was what he called an “Islamic extremist inspired murder.” From the June 14 edition of the show:

CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): What is your message to people about recognizing that gay people were targeted here, and that that’s something that needs to be said?

RUDY GIULIANI: Well, it needs to be said, and it’s outrageous that gay people were targeted. I signed, I think, the first or second partnership bill in the history of this country. I'm -- I guess one of the few Americans in favor of -- one of the few American Republicans in favor of gay marriage. I'm about to conduct one in a week or so. The reality is that that is part of the story. But it's also part of the story that this was an Islamic extremist inspired murder. It would be like saying, Chris, that there was a mafia murder and then another murder two blocks away. And we wouldn't say the word “mafia murder,” because Italian Americans would get upset. The reality is that this is of a kind, this is of a kind with the attack in San Bernardino, this is similar to the attack in Brussels, this is similar to the attack in Paris. It is inspired by a specific strategy of ISIS to do killings during Ramadan. You would have to be a fool not to see that. And the idea that the man didn't know his religion is incorrect. He attended the mosque apparently three days a week. So he was an informed Muslim. He was not an uninformed secular Muslim.

CUOMO: All right, mayor, you make a lot of points, so let’s unpack them. First of all, I just want to be clear to the audience. We're not doing tit for tat here. Calling this “gay” and using that word and not running away from it because of some sense of identity politics is wrong and you agree with that.


CUOMO: In terms of saying “radical Islamic terror,” I want to make that point, because it’s a separate one. I just didn’t want to confuse the two. This guy is an open question in terms of what he knew about terror. He talked about competing groups. But you use an analogy. Let me reverse it on you. If every time the mafia made a killing or a murder, they said, “Well, those Italians, you know, there is something about them in the mob, there’s something about the Giuliani, the Cuomo,” how would you have felt? You would have been disgusted. It’s one of the things that motivated you to be a prosecutor to distinguish the mafia from the rest of Italians. That is the same point, is it not? That you don’t talk about all of Islam, you talk about these perversions.

GIULIANI: No, no, no, it’s not, no. Notice I say“radical Islamic Muslims.” I know many Muslims who are very, very good Muslims, as I knew many Italians who were very good Italians. When I used the word “mafia,” I didn't mean all Italians. When I used the word “radical Islamic extremists,” I mean people like this man who are radicalized. And by the way, there’s a connection.

CUOMO: But if you said “radical Italian murders.”

GIULIANI: Well, listen, they call themselves the Islamic State, Chris. What am I going to call them? [CNN, New Day, 6/14/16]

On MSNBC, Giuliani Slammed Obama’s Plan To Combat ISIS In The Wake Of Brussels Attacks. Giuliani attacked Obama's reaction to the Brussels attack on MSNBC, saying the president was “communicating from a communist country” and asking, “How absurd is that?” Moreover, Giuliani said the president's strategy to combat ISIS “isn't working” and that “if he can't figure out that a strategy is not working, we need somebody else to do that job.” From the March 23 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): OK, Rudy Giuliani, I saw you reacting to the president's -

RUDY GIULIANI: Yeah, I feel very bad about that. I mean, he's my president too and, the reality is, to analogize himself to David Ortiz? David Ortiz is a designated hitter. He's the president of the United States. And he's comparing himself to a designated hitter and the wonderful speech that he gave? This man's job is to be the leader of the free world, which means the leader of NATO. And here we have an attack, which the prime minister of France is willing to call a war -- an Islamic terrorist war against us. Quote. He's willing to describe it that way. Words that will never come out of the president's mouth. War against a NATO ally is war against us. And this man is communicating -- if he had to communicate at all, he's communicating from a communist country. I mean, how absurd is that?

MIKE BARNICLE: Well, what difference would it have made yesterday had he not gone to that ballgame?

GIULIANI: The difference it would have made is it would have made people feel that he is the leader. That he's in charge. Here's what I would have done, immediately left, gotten the national security staff together and I'd say, “When I wake up tomorrow morning I want a complete plan on how we destroy ISIS, no BS.”

BARNICLE: You don't think he has that?

GIULIANI: If he does, it's failing. He better get a new one. How many attacks have we had in the last year? If he has a plan for defeating ISIS, let's go get another plan to defeat ISIS. Because ISIS so far has conducted more attacks in the last seven or eight months, nine months, including in the United States.

BARNICLE: But they've had over 20,000 sorties, bombing raids over Syria.

GIULIANI: Well maybe they're not working. Maybe they're not working. Maybe the strategy, as the admiral pointed out, isn't working. If he can't -- if he can't figure out that a strategy is not working, we need somebody else to do that job. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 3/23/16]

On MSNBC, Rudy Giuliani Suggested Muslims Need A “Reformation” After Charlie Hebdo Massacre. On the January 7 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Giuliani stated that the Muslim community needs an “intellectual debate” because radical Muslims “have a certain interpretation of the Quran and Hadith, which scholars, their scholars, can justify.” that others don’t accept. Giuliani concluded that a “counter-reformation, or a reformation, wouldn't be bad.” [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 1/7/16]