Monday, March 12, 2007

Is Rudiani's Home Life Fair Game?

One of the more interesting one-sided media parlor games being played among The Chattering Classes is the question: Is Rudy Giuliani's home life fair game.

The Former Mayor's son, Andrew, who famously injected himself into the urban political scrum during Rudy's first Mayoral swearing-in as a child, is now, sort of, a grown up. Barely.

But Andrew Cuomo is, as they say, Legal, unlike, say Amy Carter and Chelsea Clinton who, during their respective fathers' Presidencies, receved a free pass with journos. So, should Andrew Giuliani's wince-inducing charges of "Father Dearest" in the run-up to the Republican Party primaries be covered by the press? Hillary Profita of CBS's Public Eye Blog first raised this disquieting question.

The Corsair argued on CBS's Public Eye Blog (Disclaimer: The Corsair is presently informally auditioning for a position at CBS) that the charges should be covered -- but lightly. We argued that the Republican Party is the Party of "Values," and even Rudolph Giuliani's campaign, which focuses on "Leadership," is a not entirely Values-neutral entity. Leadership is values is the message that Giuliani has sent out from the time he began collecting political IOU's from Republicans across the country after September 11th.

Values matter to Republican primary voters, and it would be a disservice for journos to willfully ignore the issue of Giuliani's fatherhood on the grounds that it is a distasteful business. But the charges should not be rehashed salaciously by the major media institutions (The blogs will, no doubt, handle that: present company possibly excluded).

That having been said, we are not arguing that "values" should be discounted in the Democratic Party primaries because they -- unlike the Republicans -- focus, in the main, on issues of "Effectiveness," moreso than issues of "Character," and "Virtue." Former Senator Gary Hart and then-Governor Bill Clinton both went through that media ringer, and, to be sure, if one argues that those salacious gauntlets were justified, then it is logically inconsistent -- or at least fuzzy -- to then argue that Giuliani deserves a Pass.

On the other hand, isn't it equally inconsistent for Democrats who defended Clinton's private life to now revel in the bonfire of the Giuliani?

Dylan at FishbowlNY notes that the topic was covered on Howie Kurtz' Reliable Sources. Maybe Howie has some Wisdom:

"HOWARD KURTZ: Michael Goodwin, you wrote, 'Voters will never give the White House to a man who has caused such pain to his children.' Did you feel uncomfortable writing about this and getting into [Rudy] Giuliani's private life?
GOODWIN: No. I mean, I think that's the theory about why this could matter to some people. I don't personally share that feeling. I do think though that it is fair game for voters to know pretty much everything about a presidential candidate, and particularly in this case. As you cited, Andrew Giuliani is 21. So although I had some qualms about writing about the story, because it is kind of an icky story, I think ultimately the voters do have a right to know this. And I think it's got to be something that voters everywhere will kind of put in the hopper and weigh it with other things and decide, you know, how to vote.

"KURTZ: Adam Nagourney, this was not your story in 'The New York Times,' but, you know, kids have problems with parents and stepparents all the time. So, why is this worthy of media scrutiny?

"NAGOURNEY: I have to echo Michael on this. I think that when it comes to someone who is running for president, pretty much everything is fair game. I don't mean invasion of privacy, but I think that for newspapers to do their jobs correctly, you want to tell voters, prospective voters, everything you can about these men or women who want to be president, and that includes details of their family life ..."

Agreed. More at FishbowlNY


(S)wine said...

You know, CNN covered this early last week. I recall seeing b-roll of "little" (read: fat ass) Giuli swinging a golf club on the Duke greens, talking shit about Papa Dearest. I think we're beyond all levels of restraint when it comes to covering pols and their private lives, though. I expect a full onslaught soon.

Shaw Israel Izikson said...

I'm just amazed that there wasn't a big onslaught of coverage of Newt "The Suit" Gingrich's admission that HE had an affair during that whole Clinton impeachment fiasco.

This is not England, and these candidates are not the royal family. Waitasec, didn't Giullani trademark his own name to prevent us "peons" from writing about him?

Btw, Ron, I FINALLY found that R&R Hall of Fame link (it was on Here's what I thought about the ceremonies:

Other than that, you didn't miss much. No Van Halen fistfights *darn*.

The Corsair said...

Totally agree. The coverage of personal lives of candidates is bordering on the British (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). The earliness of the race should call for all kinds of uncalled for behavior in the press. Shaw: I was truly looking forward to a Roth-Hagar-EddieVan three man dance. Roth's weave would have been pulled out for sure.

Shaw Israel Izikson said...

I know! That was one of the only reasons why I watched it! It was either that or Phil Spector was gonna get his drunken butt kicked by Ronnie Spector. Nope. Neither happened. Bo-rin'.