Will Facts Affect Media Coverage? Some Say the Truth Could Kill You and Your Family

Time magazine has a lengthy report (mysteriously styled as an “investigation”) into Rudy Giuliani’s record on terrorism. (Via). It turns out he’s not particularly well-informed or experienced, and he wasn’t really too concerned about it until after 9/11.

It’s quite reassuring to see that Time’s investigations are capable of uncovering facts that are universally known to all politically aware Americans.

It’s not a bad article. This part is news to me, and quite relevant:

On the eve of the millennium New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, he appeared on cnn to warn against melodrama: “When people overdo it about terrorism, terrorists actually win. You’re sort of like becoming agents and instruments of the terrorists.”

But now Giuliani is running for President, and he has apparently made a tactical decision to thunder loudly about terrorism, perhaps to deflect from his personal life and his liberal record on social issues—which an internal campaign memo termed potentially “insurmountable” last year. (The memo was leaked to the New York Daily News.) The more he can remind people of his performance on 9/11, the better off he is, says GOP pollster Luntz. “You cannot underestimate the impact of having seen him on television hour after hour dealing with the tragedy,” he says. “That gives him a level of credibility that nobody else has.”

In this part, though, the writer seems to have succumbed to the idea that balanced journalism prohibits contradicting GOP spin on on fundamental issues:

Much has been made of the fact that Giuliani’s state-of-the-art emergency command center was rendered useless on the day of the attacks. The $13 million center was in the World Trade Center complex, on the 23rd floor of Building 7, which collapsed that day. When I asked Giuliani three years after 9/11 if it had been a mistake to place the command center in a known terrorist target, he said no. “You had to put it somewhere,” he said. And he noted that the Secret Service and the CIA also had offices in that building. The center was above ground level, leaving it less prone to flood damage (a serious concern in lower Manhattan), and it was within walking distance of City Hall—one of Giuliani’s priorities. “In hindsight, it’s pretty bad,” says John Farmer Jr., senior counsel to the 9/11 commission and the person in charge of reconstructing the response to the attacks for the investigation. “But that’s a tough call.”

Nothing about Giuliani overruling his own advisors, or, God forbid, the apparent fact that he used it as a love shack with then-mistress Judith Nathan. And nothing about whether it makes any sense for it to be within walking distance of City Hall.

So, the article is not completely reality-based, but it’s more than nothing.

UPDATEThis Time article is quite good.   Joe Klein on reality on the ground in Iraq.  AQI is a gnat compared to the problem of the huge divides between and among Sunnis and Shi’ites.


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