Cheers to The New York Times's Michael Cooper:
Rudolph W. Giuliani has been broadcasting radio advertisements in Iowa and other states far from the city he once led stating that as mayor of New York, he “turned a $2.3 billion deficit into a multibillion dollar surplus.”
The assertion, which Mr. Giuliani has repeated on the trail as he has promoted his fiscal conservatism, is somewhat misleading, independent fiscal monitors said. In fact, Mr. Giuliani left his successor, Michael R. Bloomberg, with a bigger deficit than the one Mr. Giuliani had to deal with when he arrived in 1994. And that deficit would have been large even if the city had not been attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
Now here's the next test. It's very nice to see an article that reports the facts, right up there in the lede, about a misleading portion of Giuliani's stump speech. The question becomes, however, will the Times find a way to report on this misleading claim with anything approaching the frequency with which Giuliani makes it? Will it be incorporated into the Times's broader narrative about Giuliani as a man whose campaign strategy integrally involves misleading people about aspects of his record as mayor -- not just fiscal policy, but also his record on immigration and other topics?