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NY Times Hits Rudy

The Times has a piece in the Sunday paper on Rudy and race relations during his time as NYC’s mayor. But I wonder if NY Times writers have access to Times Select and the archives when they write their articles now-a-days?

From Sunday’s article:

On Jan. 9, 1994, another match landed in this tinderbox: a caller reported a burglary at a Harlem mosque. The police ran in, and Nation of Islam guards threw punches and broke an officer’s nose.

From the NY Times, Jan. 11. 1994:

New York City’s new Police Commissioner ordered an inquiry yesterday into the Police Department’s handling of a confrontation between the police and members of a Harlem mosque in which eight officers were injured and one officer’s gun was taken away.

A broken nose is quite different from taking an officer’s gun away, let alone one officer hurt vs. eight. And how did this tinderbox get resolved? From the same article above:

According to the police, the next few hours were spent trying to coax the Muslims out of the building. Mr. Mason, however, said that the group had been held hostage by the police.

The standoff was brought to a negotiated close, in which congregation members filed past officers for possible identification as suspects in the confrontation, the Commissioner said.
While at least one officer identified one of the Muslim men as a suspect in the disturbance, he was not arrested, under the terms of the agreement reached with the leaders of the mosque, Mr. Bratton said. Under the agreement, the mosque’s leaders were supposed to help police identify and find any possible suspects, but yesterday they would not help find the man who was singled out at the scene, he said.

Not exactly police officers running amok. And Rudy’s response in the wake of these early problems? Bob Herbert from 1994:

Mr. Giuliani’s reaction to the two incidents has been unwavering support of the police. In fact, he reportedly was upset that there had not been any immediate arrests of Muslims involved in the melee at the mosque.

The second incident Mr. Herbert refers to is the shooting of a black Muslim in Brooklyn. The present day Times article doesn’t refer to this incident at all, but, by leaving it out of Sunday’s article, the reader is left with an inaccurate picture of what was going on in 1994. (It wasn’t until 1995 that the officers were cleared.) Back to present day and Sunday’s article:

Black leaders, Mr. Giuliani said in 1994, had to “learn how to discipline themselves in the way in which they speak” if they expected to chat with him. The city’s welfare-state philosophy, he said later, was racist and “enslaved” black New Yorkers.

And now to 1994 and an editorial from the Times:

But mayors have to be restrained as well as forceful. Standing up to Mr. Sharpton is one thing. Even though he says he was provoked by a minister’s description of him as fascist, Mr. Giuliani adopted a tone of condescension in his comments about criticism from black elected officials — “They’re going to have to learn how to discipline themselves in the way in which they speak” — that was chilling. It was also at odds with his sermon at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Sunday and the poise and patience he showed yesterday as a mostly black crowd booed him at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
At the cathedral, he was clearly on the right track. “I have the same love, respect and caring for the African-American community as I do for all the communities of our city,” he said. “Give me a chance. . . .”
The test here is one of balance and whether Mr. Giuliani can overcome skepticism about him among black New Yorkers who voted against him — and for David Dinkins — as a bloc.
Black politicians, including Representative Charles Rangel of Harlem, have not exactly greeted Mr. Giuliani with open arms. Some have been too eager to criticize him. Reducing racial tensions is a two-way process. But it is always the burden of the victorious executive — whether city, state or Federal — to lead the healing process.

Not exactly pro-Rudy, but there’s at least an honest portrayal of both sides. Back to present day:

With New York pitched into deep recession, its descent hastened by crack and racial disturbances, a campaign riven by race seemed inevitable. “There were people in his camp pushing him hard to tie race to crime,” said Fred Siegel, a historian at Cooper Union who once advised Mr. Giuliani. “I don’t know if this was moral or practical, but Giuliani was having none of it,” Mr. Siegal recalled. “He was insistent that crime was about behavior, not race.”
Still, Mr. Giuliani took a fateful step that would for years prompt questions about his racial sensitivities. In September 1992, he spoke to a rally of police officers protesting Mr. Dinkins’s proposal for a civilian board to review police misconduct.
It was a rowdy, often threatening, crowd. Hundreds of white off-duty officers drank heavily, and a few waved signs like “Dump the Washroom Attendant,” a reference to Mr. Dinkins. A block away from City Hall, Mr. Giuliani gave a fiery address, twice calling Mr. Dinkins’s proposal “bullshit.” The crowd cheered. Mr. Giuliani was jubilant.
“If you’re acculturated to like cops, you don’t necessarily see 10,000 white guys who don’t vote in the city, don’t write political checks and love you for the wrong reason,” an aide said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is working with the Giuliani presidential campaign.
Mr. Dinkins has not forgotten that sea of angry cops. “Rudy was out there inciting white cops to riot,” Mr. Dinkins said in a recent interview.

“Dump the washroom attendant” was such big news that it generated two articles in the NY Times. Oh, and why did Rudy use the word, bull****? Because Dinkins had used it earlier in the month when referring to a NYPD officer:

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association called the demonstration to protest Dinkins’s lack of support on a host of issues. Perhaps the most prominent grievances were the Mayor’s backing of an all-civilian board to review complaints of police misconduct and his reflexive burst of sympathy for the family of a Dominican man (who turned out to be a drug dealer) who was killed in a struggle with the police. On a platform about a block west of City Hall, Giuliani ticked off several Dinkins policies, dismissing them with the same barnyard expletive that the Mayor had used weeks earlier in response to an officer’s complaint that the Mayor had failed to support the police. Meantime, a block to the east of City Hall, hundreds of cops swarmed over the Brooklyn Bridge and blocked traffic — an inexcusable breach of conduct of which Giuliani was unaware.

But Rudy’s language is old news. The Times covered it in 1993 extensively, and editorialized on it when they endorsed Dinkins for another term:

Political leaders need an internal guidance system that allows them to dial down their own emotional temperature when people around them are dialing up theirs. Mr. Dinkins can be maddeningly phlegmatic. But Mr. Giuliani is prone to lurching behavior — his barnyard language at the 1992 police demonstration, his strong-arm tactics during the insider-trading scandals of the 1980′s — that has to be explained away if we are to preserve faith in his leadership temperament.

But Maybe Rudy’s 2008 team should be sending out that 1993 endorsement of Dinkins…

After the 1989 election, it was possible to see Mr. Giuliani as a leader for the future. This campaign provided an opportunity for him to show that he had developed a balanced tough-love approach to civic problems. Instead, the vision that emerges is that of a civic Reaganism.

Having the NY Times complain that you’re too much like Reagan has got to be worth a few votes around the country.


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