Thursday, June 21, 2007


Why is this story taking up twenty column inches in the A section of my New York Times today?

Letters Show Deep Value Giuliani Puts on Loyalty

"Loyalty" is a word that has long defined Rudolph W. Giuliani's leadership style. But rarely has there been as documented an outpouring of that support as the 92 letters Mr. Giuliani wrote for Dennis E. Szybala during four months in 1981.

The letters of recommendation fill a folder in the National Archives, where 62 boxes of Mr. Giuliani's files from his days in the Justice Department were released last month.

Mr. Giuliani was associate attorney general in 1981, the third-highest-ranking position in the department, and Mr. Szybala was the husband of his special assistant at the time, Renee L. Szybala.

Mr. Giuliani had hired Ms. Szybala from his former New York law firm and then wrote dozens of letters to help her husband, also a lawyer, find a job in the Washington area.

The letters, all written on Mr. Giuliani’s Justice Department stationery, went to 76 law firms and 15 federal offices, one of which received two letters. Twenty letters went out on a single day of September....

We need twenty-two paragraphs about the fact that Rudy Giuliani wrote a bunch of recommendation letters for a guy? Nearly thirty years ago? This is real news?

Maybe a writer and editor at the Times thought this was just a nifty story that needed to be written up in depth. Or maybe this was spoon-fed to the Times.

If it was the latter, why? Just general image-burnishing of the candidate? Or is something about to happen that gives Rudy a reason to want to show, well in advance, that he's just a loyal guy?

Is Bernard Kerik going to be indicted soon? (The Washington Post told us a few months ago that an indictment was likely.) Or is there legal trouble on the horizon, for Monsignor Alan Placa, the disgraced priest who's Rudy's pal and employee, even though he's been accused of sexual abuse and of aiding other abusive priests? (Earlier this month, the pastor of a Long Island parish was placed on leave after being accused of molestation in the mid-1990s; Placa oversaw the diocese's response to abuse at the time the incident allegedly took place.)

I don't know, but whatever's going on (if anything is), this is a story that belongs in the campaign video they'll play at the convention if Rudy gets the nomination. It doesn't belong in a full column of New York Times A-section newsprint.

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