How It’s Done

GFR flags Michael Cooper’s stunningly informative New York Times article on how Rudy Giuliani’s trying to fool people:

Discussing his crime-fighting success as mayor, Mr. Giuliani told a television interviewer that New York was “the only city in America that has reduced crime every single year since 1994.” In New Hampshire this week, he told a public forum that when he became mayor in 1994, New York “had been averaging like 1,800, 1,900 murders for almost 30 years.” When a recent Republican debate turned to the question of fiscal responsibility, he boasted that “under me, spending went down by 7 percent.”All of these statements are incomplete, exaggerated or just plain wrong. And while, to be sure, all candidates use misleading statistics from time to time, Mr. Giuliani has made statistics a central part of his candidacy as he campaigns on his record.

Even the headline-writer delivered, giving us: “Citing Statistics, Giuliani Misses Time and Again”.

How here’s the bad news. It’s striking to read a story like this, and Cooper and the Times deserve credit for doing it. But the world really needs more. As Cooper himself notes, Giuliani says this stuff over and over again and so what’s needed is for campaign coverage to regularly reflect the regular misstatements that candidates use, until it ceased to be worth their while to keep making them.