Sunday, December 02, 2007

Facts vs. Hacks

Glenn Greenwald asserts that Howie "the Putz" Kurtz "has turned into nothing more than a right-wing blogger -- using his Post column and CNN show to fuel every 'scandal' they manufacture."

True enough. But the Putz also plays defense.

Take Howie's crapulent spin on Giuliani's potentially illegal use of public funds as an aphrodisiac.

The story started out with Giuliani taking a police detail with him when he went to the Hamptons to meet Judith Nathan. But it's grown into much more. For example:

Six years later, presidential candidate Giuliani is facing questions about that security. A source involved with the mayor's operations at the time tells CBS 2 HD that Nathan took flagrant advantage of that police car and driver.

The source says Nathan forced police to chauffeur her friends and family around the city -- even when she wasn't in the car.

That set off alarms with ethics watchdogs.

"The rules are clear, you can't use city resources for private reasons," said Gene Russianoff of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "And if you're using a city car, a police driven car to chauffeur around relatives, unless they're explicitly protected and their deemed to be the subject of potential security threats, it's just wrong."

Nathan's detail was approved by the NYPD after a stranger made an unspecified threat to her. The commissioner at the time was Bernard Kerik, who was recently indicted on tax fraud charges in an unrelated matter.

"It wasn't about her being the mayor's girlfriend," Kerik said. "The person spoke to her by name and made comments to her."

Oh, really? And every victim of a verbal threat in the Big Apple got a police chauffeur for his or her family? There weren't enough cops in Rudy's police state for that. And what did the ones threatened by members of the NYPD get, private bodyguards?

But here's how the Putz weaves the tale:

Ahead in the second half of RELIABLE SOURCES, Rudy hits the roof over a report about police overtime related to his affair with Judith Nathan. Does he have a case?


KURTZ: When you come right down to it, Rudy Giuliani is running on one thing -- his record as mayor of New York. This week the Web site Politico revealed a small, hidden part of that record that some police security costs for his honor were charged to obscure city agencies like the Loft Board, and that the overtime included visits to the Hamptons to visit Judith Nathan, who was then his mistress and is now his third wife.

CNN's Anderson Cooper asked about the charges at that night's presidential debate, and Giuliani defended his handling of it. New York tabloids jumped on what one called his tryst fund, and in an interview with Katie Couric, Rudy cried foul.


RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This story is five years old. It came out two hours before a debate. It is a typical political hit job with only half the story told. Not that second part told, that every single penny was reimbursed, that all of this was public, all of this was discoverable.

It was not done in a way that nobody could see it. But it was a typical -- this particular case, it was sort of a debate day dirty trick.


KURTZ: Joining us now to talk about Giuliani's latest slam against the media and some other campaign controversies, in New York, Kelli Goff ....

Kelli Goff, is it a political hit job when a newspaper obtains city records showing police over time being charged to places like the Loft Board, and when it happens, when the mayor happens to be carrying on an extra marital affair?

Kurtz spins the matter to minimize the damage to Giuliani. It's Rudy fighting back against the media, a favorite wingnut narrative. And it's all about the need for Giuliani to have a police escort for security reasons, rather than about Rudy using his bag man, Bernie, to give out perks unavailable to the millions of men and women who aren't banging Rudy.

Greenwald is correct, as usual.

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