AP Hits Giuliani on 9/11, Fails to Note Sources' Motives

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is in for a world of hurt from his former constituents should he center his 2008 campaign on his handling of 9/11 and its aftermath, the Associated Press is reporting. But in his March 30 article, reporter Larry McShane left out some crucial facts about two people he cited in his story to bolster that point: Sally Regenhard and Hank Sheinkopf.

Let's begin with Regenhard. She's portrayed merely as the angry, distraught mother of a NYC firefighter who perished on 9/11.:

"If Rudolph Giuliani was running on anything but 9/11, I would not speak out," said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was among the 343 FDNY members killed in the terrorist attack. "If he ran on cleaning up Times Square, getting rid of squeegee men, lowering crime _ that's indisputable.

"But when he runs on 9/11, I want the American people to know he was part of the problem."

[...]

His administration's failure to provide the World Trade Center's first responders with adequate radios, a long-standing complaint from relatives of the firefighters killed when the twin towers collapsed. The Sept. 11 Commission noted the firefighters at the World Trade Center were using the same ineffective radios employed by the first responders to the 1993 terrorist attack on the trade center.

Regenhard, at a 2004 commission hearing in Manhattan, screamed at Giuliani, "My son was murdered because of your incompetence!" The hearing was a perfect example of the 9/11 duality: Commission members universally praised Giuliani at the same event.

But that's not the whole story. Regenhard is chairperson of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, which is pushing for tighter building code regulation for skyscrapers.

Of course, building codes may have had a role to play in hampering 9/11 evacuations at the WTC, but the WTC was built decades before Giuliani became mayor and municipal building codes generally are more concerned with earthquakes and severe weather rather than passenger jets slamming at high speeds into them.

For a distraught woman to blame Giuliani for deaths caused by the sinister and soulless imagination of terrorists is one thing. For a news service to parrot those talking points as an indictment of Giuliani's credentials for president is another.

And what of Hank Sheinkopf, "a veteran political consultant" who "predicted the 9/11 criticisms could resonate beyond New York during the presidential campaign"?

For what side of the aisle does he consult?

Is he the kind of consultant that say helped re-elect Bill Clinton and regularly works for Democratic-heavy interest groups such as trial lawyers groups and labor unions? How'd you guess?:

Hank Sheinkopf has managed over 600 political campaigns in 46 states and nine foreign nations including Aruba, Bermuda, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, and Venezuela. Sheinkopf served on the media team for the successful reelection of President Bill Clinton in 1996.

In 2004, Sheinkopf consulted for the second time the successful election of President Leonel Fernandez in the Dominican Republic. In the same year Sheinkopf developed TV commercials for SEIU that contributed to a 10 point swing in the final two weeks and a tremendous come from behind victory for Governor Anibal Acevedo of Puerto Rico. In 2005 Sheinkopf managed the successful reelection of New York Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, the only woman elected to a Citywide position in New York City.

Further, Sheinkopf has worked either on independent expenditure or in-kind expenditure campaigns coordinated by the United Auto Workers Michigan CAP, trial lawyer-related organizations in Alabama, Texas and Louisiana, the Alabama Education Association, the Mississippi Democratic Party, and the Combined Law-Enforcement Associations of Texas [CLEAT].

(h/t a NewsBusters reader for bringing this to my attention)

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters