Weekend Watchdog:Can You Trust Rudy?

Bill Scher

Here’s how the Sunday news shows did with our Weekend Watchdog questions. In a word, not well.

For former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Fox News Sunday): One of the first things you did after leaving the mayor’s office was become a PR flack for the makers of Oxycontin, which was under fire for downplaying addiction risks.

Your meeting with the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency helped slow the agency’s investigation. You claimed the company, Purdue Pharma, was committed to fighting addiction, but now company officials have pled guilty for misleading the public.

If flacking for an irresponsible drug company was one of your top priorities after serving as a mayor, how can people trust you’ll side with them over the drug lobby on issues such as having Medicare negotiate for lower prices and importing cheaper drugs from Canada?

Fox News Sunday taped its interview with Giuliani on Friday, one day after Purdue executives plead guilty.

Giuliani was hired specifically to help Purdue avoid accountability (Sunday’s Washington Post quotes a Drug Enforcement Agency official saying the company was trying to go around investigators by hiring Giuliani and getting political access).

Yet Fox News didn’t bother asking about his role, and what it says about how he would deal with issues involving the pharmaceutical industry as president.

For Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (NBC’s Meet The Press): In the first debate, you charged Iran with “exporting … suicide bombers into Iraq.” But a week earlier, the Financial Times reported that the Secretary of State “blam[ed] al-Qaeda, not Iran, for the suicide bombings [in Iraq].”

You also said, “The Iranians encouraged Hezbollah to attack Israel from Lebanon recent[ly].” But both American and Israeli intelligence officials found no evidence Iran was behind Hezbollah’s aggressive acts that led Israeli to respond militarily.

With White House credibility shattered after invading Iraq over non-existent WMD, how can voters be confident you will approach Iran credibly and not recklessly?

Meet The Press didn’t ask Sen. John McCain one Iran question, despite the factually inaccurate comments about Iran McCain made in the recent presidential debate (not to mention his cringe-inducing rendition of “Bomb Iran” ).

For Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. (ABC’s This Week): At March 24′s presidential candidate forum on health care, you said you would be “putting out a plan over the next couple of months” detailing how to achieve universal health care. It’s now mid-May. Will you unveil this plan before May 24? And how will it address our Weekend Watchdog questions ?

This Week did not ask Obama when we can expect to see a detailed universal health care plan. In fact, the only question asked about health care didn’t involve the substance of any plan, just whether Obama would raise taxes to pay for it—a growing pattern with how the political reporters deal with health care.

Further, ABC’s website previewed the interview by saying, “What will [Obama] do to … make healthcare universal, and to stop global warming?” Neither question was asked.

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