Giuliani threw down the gauntlet to the N.Y. Times today. Back in 1988 Gary Hart also challenged the Times, and the media accepted his dare and got the truth. Whether the Times, as well as other corporate media, answer Rudi's challenge will tell us a lot about the relevance of big media in the months, and years, ahead.
Times reporter Julie Bosman's article today pointed out the discrepancy between a recent ad by Rudy and the truth. Rudy said:
"My chance of surviving prostate cancer — and, thank God, I was cured of it — in the United States? Eighty-two percent. My chance of surviving prostate cancer in England? Only 44 percent under socialized medicine.”
As the Times pointed out, the numbers are not true. He is off on what happened in England seven years ago by about 30 percent. (that's how recent his figures are)
When the Times reporter asked Rudy's campaign if it would continue to cite the statistic and run the ad, they said that they would. The gauntlet was thrown.
When questioned by the Times the campaign arrogantly bragged that Giuliani had gotten his numbers from a "highly respected intellectual journal written by an expert at a highly respected think tank which the mayor read because he is an intellectually engaged human being." This is the first time they have tried to suggest a distinction between Rudy and W. - "he an intellectually engaged human being."
That "respected" journal is the City Journal - one that touts Victor Davis Hanson's new treatise on immigration. It has articles from Townhall, op-eds from Investors Business Daily, and the always reliable National Review Online.The Journal is the mouthpiece of the wingnut think tank, the Manhattan Institute, on whose board of trustees sit Peggy Noonan and William Kristol. It supports the work of Charles Murray and Heather McDonald.
Today the website of the City Journal has another article by the author of the piece on which Rudy based his ad. David Gratzberg defends his earlier argument, and links to a new study by "the prestigious journal Lancet Oncology" as additional support for his position.
It looks like a link to the Lancet article, but it really is two links to two pieces about the Lancet article. One of them takes you to the Daily Telegraph, also "known affectionately as Daily Torygraph because of its staunch support to the Conservative Party." The second was to an article by Betsey McCaughey. She of course is the woman who was "coerced" into marrying billionaire Wilbur Ross, and then, after she served as Lieutenant Governor to George Pataki and was kicked off the ticket in his successful run for a second term, tried to be the Democratic candidate. In the end she won all of 1.6% of the vote. Her article was published by the N.C.P.A., a think tank devoted to "providing free market solutions to today's public policy problems."
Giuliani's ad is based on entirely specious sources. Will the Times, and it's cohorts, follow up?