Monday, January 02, 2023

He Always Had It In Him

What happened to Rudy Giuliani is that (nearly) nothing happened to Rudy Giuliani.

In a 2006 review in The Los Angeles Times of "Grand Illusion: the untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11" by Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins, Kit R. Roane writes of a New York mayor whose "political statute was in a tailspin and whose private life was being rocked by illness and scandal."  Then on a beautiful Tuesday morning in early (meteorological) autumn, two planes were flown into the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan by Islamic fundamentalists of Al Qaeda and, as understood by Barrett/Collins,  the myth of "America's Mayor" was born. 

Roane explains

Police officers and firefighters hardly communicated. With radios that didn’t operate between departments or work at all in steel high-rises, many firefighters didn’t get the final mayday call to evacuate the North Tower before it fell. Cut off from relevant information, emergency operators continued to tell victims in the tower to stay put even though top fire chiefs had called for a complete evacuation almost immediately after arriving on the scene.

Although terrorists eight years earlier had exploded a bomb beneath one of the towers

Barrett and Collins’ detailed research shows a mayor who utterly failed to grasp the importance of readying the city for another terrorist attack. Lou Anemone, the police department’s chief operating officer during much of Giuliani’s tenure, recalls trying to brief the mayor on a citywide terrorism security plan in 1998. “Rudy glazed over,” he said, adding: “We never had any discussion about security at the World Trade Center. We never even had a drill or exercise there.... There was just a lack of recognition of the problem at City Hall.”

The city's Director of Emergency Management promoted placing the city's command center in the World Trade Center complex, a recommendation implemented by Mayor Giuliani.

That decision ill-served the people of the City of New York, but was a political boon for Giuliani.  The command center collapsed in the attack and viewers nationwide (probably, worldwide) were treated to repeated video of the Mayor walking around the city and- owing to the impressive visuals- seemingly calm, confident, and  in charge.

Giuliani's lack of concern for security in his city contributed to the disastrous impact of the attack. However, the impression television, whose coverage of news understandably was consumed by  "9/11" for months, was of a mayor responding decisively, forcefully, and effectively to an unprecedented crisis which hit an American city and terrified the nation at-large.

The myth gradually gathered strength, as of a snowball rolling slowly down a mountain, for many years as the legend of "America's Mayor" was born, reinforced by the media, and rarely challenged.  If "Giuliani: What Happened to America's Mayor" is true to the title, Rudy Giuliani again will be portrayed as what he never was. A better show would be "CNN: What Happened to 'The Most Trusted Name in News'?"


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