by Warner Todd Huston | January 12, 2010 1:40 pm
For several days now the Old Media has been indulging in a steady attack on former Mayor Rudy Giuliani that tends to misdirect readers away from his criticism of President Obama. First by making what Giuliani said of Obama seem more adulatory than it was and second by focusing on a rather unexceptional remark that is spun as a presumed mistake in the Mayor’s statements about the recent history of terror attacks in the U.S. This misdirected focus tends to detract from Giuliani’s fair criticism of Obama turning it instead into a slam on Giuliani.
The latest slew of Rudy hits has been over his presumed misstatement that no terror attacks occurred during Bush’s years in office. The critics are guffawing over what they claim is Rudy’s “neglect” to mention the attacks on 9/11. In an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Giuliani said, “We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.” This, the Old Media claims, is an example of Rudy “somehow” forgetting that 9/11 occurred.
Of this the Associated Press published a wire story that breathlessly proclaimed “Giuliani: No domestic terror attacks under Bush.” The story went on to scold Giuliani because he “somehow neglected to mention” 9/11.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani set off a tempest about terrorism Friday with his claim that this nation “had no domestic attacks” under President George W. Bush.
Giuliani somehow neglected to mention the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as he was contrasting President Barack Obama’s handling of terrorism with that of Bush in light of the failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound flight. The Sept. 11 attacks toppled New York’s World Trade Center, killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and earned Giuliani accolades as “America’s mayor.”
If this isn’t a manufactured controversy, what is? Does anyone really think that Rudy somehow forgot 9/11 happened? He was Mayor of the nation’s largest city when it came under attack by terrorists in the most destructive attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. Isn’t it more likely that everyone watching understood that Rudy was marking 9/11 as the beginning of the terror cycle as it exists in the American mind? Isn’t it obvious to anyone that Rudy was talking about the situation from the start of our awareness and that Bush stopped other attacks afterward?
Seriously, does anyone really think Rudy of all people forgot 9/11?
For his part Giuliani quickly issued a clarification that appeared on the ABC News website.
Through his spokesman, Rudy Giuliani has clarified the remarks he made this morning on GMA regarding terrorist attacks on the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama.
The Mayor’s spokesman says that the remark “didn’t come across as it was intended” and that Giuliani was “clearly talking post-9/11 with regards to Islamic terrorist attacks on our soil.”
The AP wasn’t the only one to attack Rudy for this assumed lapse, of course. Most of the major news services latched onto this part of the TV appearance. But earlier there was another spin job employed by the AP meant to detract from Rudy’s criticism of Obama’s handling of terrorism today.
On Jan 5 the Associated Press employed its best pro-Obama spin by attempting to put outright praise for the president into former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s mouth in its report of Giuliani’s TV appearance on ABC’s morning show.
Initially after the TV spot aired the AP reported that Giuliani “believes President Barack Obama ‘turned the corner’ on understanding the nature of terrorism.” The headline of that report also screamed Giuliani: Obama ‘turned the corner’ on terrorism.
But the truth is a bit less adulatory on Giuliani’s part. In truth Giuliani was mostly criticizing Obama as opposed to praising him.
Giuliani criticized Obama for trying dangerous terrorists “in the wrong place” by bringing them to civilian courts. He also scoffed at the Administration’s claim that they got all the info they needed from the Christmas “underwear bomber” in 30 hours. And what was this business Giuliani said about Obama “turning a corner”?
Giuliani: … I’m very hopeful that President Obama turned a corner yesterday. He for the first time used the words, thank goodness, “war on terror.” He hasn’t done that since he was a candidate.
(See the video here)
This is not the same as stating outright that Obama has turned a corner. It is better understood as sarcastic criticism that it has taken him this long just to say the words “war on terror.” Nor can Giuliani’s words be seen as an assumption that the corner has been fully “turned” because Giuliani added the qualifier of “I’m hopeful.” Giuliani did not categorically state that any corner has been permanently turned. This is best seen as criticism of the president, not praise.
Yet, here is the AP trying to massage Giuliani’s obvious criticism of Obama into outright praise. This is just more disingenuous spinning by the AP in order to show support for Obama. Semantics you say? Of course it is. But it is just the sort of subtle shading of the story that the AP constantly employs to support Obama and Democrats.
So, with the APs first trial balloon floated in an attempt to spin Giuliani’s criticism into praise, the Old Media settled for making fun of Giuliani as “forgetting” that 9/11 happened. It all amounts to the Old Media trying anything to detract from Rudy’s actual, fair criticism of the president and to spin a story that ends up being meaningless.
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