It's long past time that our sorry excuses for "news" channels quit propping up former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as an expert on terrorism. And sadly, I'm not just talking about Fox "news," but MSNBC and CNN as well. Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels earlier this week, every time you turned around, here was his mug on the television, criticizing President Obama for not rushing home in a mad panic -- just as we saw from every Republican politician and right wing talking head -- and of course pushing for more war and bombings in the Middle East (because we all know that dropping a few more bombs people's heads will assure that we never again have any terrorists strapping bombs on their backs and blowing themselves up.)
As Media Matters documented, Giuliani made appearances on CNN's The Situation Room, Fox's Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox & Friends, and MSNBC's Morning Joe this week, second guessing and lobbing insults at President Obama at every turn, even though he's the last person anyone should be taking advice from on how to handle the aftermath of a terrorist attack:
But As NYC Mayor, Giuliani Failed On 9/11 Communications, Cleanup And Treatment of Firefighters
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]
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]
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.
There's much more there on his ineffective surveillance program which he now takes credit for, his history of making anti-Muslim comments and his praise of the likes of Peter King, yet another favorite the media loves to trot out for commentary every time there's another terrorist attack, so go read the rest.
I'd say these outlets should be ashamed of themselves, but we all know that ship has sailed. There's no shaming any of them on their horrid coverage. They don't care and consider it a feature and not a bug.