As befits a true-blue “system politician,” Rudy Giuliani is also a big, stinking heap of excremental lies.
Marty Kaplan || Crosspost with Huffington Post Dateline: October 31, 2007
The best and worst of quality journalism is on display in the New York Times’ coverage of Rudy Giuliani’s repeated claim that his chance of surviving prostate cancer in the U.S. was 82 percent, compared to the 44 percent it would have been “under socialized medicine” in England — you know, the kind of commie docs that Hillary wants to force on us 9/11 manly-men.
Here are some words that, in a reality-based world, where reason rules, where science isn’t merely a politicized pomo plaything, would apply to Rudy’s 82 vs. 44 claim: falsehood, untruth, lie, deception, whopper, fiction, bamboozlement. (The same could be said of his “socialized medicine” fearmongering, but let’s set that aside for now.)
The reason Giuliani’s statement is a lie is that the five-year survival rate from prostate cancer in Britain is actually 74.4 percent.
Now here’s how close the editors of the New York Times dare to come to saying that Rudy’s wrong: “Giuliani’s Oft-Cited Prostate Cancer Statistic Is in Dispute.” You know, like Existence of Holocaust [Evolution, Elvis] Is in Dispute.
The reporter on the story, Julie Bosman, valiantly does everything she can within the he-said/she-said straitjacket of prestige journalism — covering “both sides” of the story, but (I’m guessing) silently hoping that readers with an IQ higher than lichen will figure out what side of this “dispute” they should come down on.
She cites an authoritative source for the 74.4 percent: Britain’s Office for National Statistics.
Then she notes that Giuliani’s 44 percent comes from “a publication of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative research organization.” Presumably our dog-whistle ears are supposed to hear “conservative” as “partisan” rather than “cautious,” and “research organization” not as “think tank,” but as “Republican front.”
But then a Giuliani spokesperson says the article appears “in 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.” (Yeah, and I’m Marie of Rumania.)
But then the reporter notes that the Manhattan Institute journal article’s author is an advisor to the Giuliani campaign. She quotes him admitting that his statistic was seven years old, “crude,” and came from a report of the Commonwealth Fund, which she identifies as “a nonprofit group.” And she quotes a Commonwealth Fund statement saying that its research had been misused: “Five-year survival rates cannot be calculated from incidence and mortality rates, as any good epidemiologist knows.”
But then — demonstrating the bizarre notion of “balance” that the Times has been mau-maued by Fox into exhibiting — she quotes the Giuliani spokesperson’s dismissal of the Commonwealth Fund’s statement, “saying that the group had ‘an ideological bias.'”
Which leaves us to decide for ourselves whether it’s the “conservative research organization” or the “nonprofit group” that is a “highly respected think tank” or has “an ideological bias.” Presumably, brainy Times readers, schooled in critical thinking, remembering to “consider the source,” will be able to read between the lines and draw the correct conclusion.
This is the very best that the prestige mainstream media can do. “Cancer Statistic Is in Dispute” is the inevitable, pathetic ribbon that the Times wraps this package in. But it’s sure not the way a New York tabloid might cover it, if it were inclined to give Hizzoner the razzing he deserves: “RUDY TO TRUTH: DROP DEAD.” Or perhaps, more concisely: “RUDY FULL OF CRAP!”
Marty Kaplan runs a column on The Huffington Post.