When Rudy Giuliani contended that President Barack Obama was contributing to propaganda encouraging people to "hate the police," it drew a four-Pinocchio (mostly false) rating from The Washington Post. Rather than backing down, the former New York City mayor defended his statement, taking on the Post's Fact Checker.
Responding to a question on CBS News' "Face the Nation" about the Post's fact-checking of his statement, Giuliani said: "So, I think the Washington Post fact-checking was substantially inaccurate. And they missed the one big point, Al Sharpton" and the number of times he has visited the White House since 2009.
That response was noted by Glenn Kessler, the Post's Fact Checker
, who has issued a revised rating, bringing the four-Pinocchio rating down to one.
"Is it correct Obama invited Sharpton to the White House upwards of 85 times? And does that make Sharpton a “close adviser” of the president?" asked Kessler in laying out the basis for his re-examination of the former mayor's assertion.
He confirms that Sharpton has visited the White House on 72 occasions, including 5 one-on-one meetings, 20 meetings with staff members or senior advisers. The majority of visits, however, were part of group or public events.
Giuliani explained an “anti-police” message is sent "when Sharpton, an outspoken agitator who has protested homicides of minorities by police since the 1990s, is in public with leaders such as Obama or New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio," according to Kessler.
Giuliani also said Sharpton "stands for something. He is involved in every racial or quasi-racial issues that has involved any police officer … always on the side of whoever is against the police. Some of them have been legitimate, many of them have been illegitimate.”
While backing off his initial analysis of Giuliani's assertion, Kessler concluded that it still earned a "one Pinocchio" rating because his characterization of Sharpton as a "close adviser" was an exaggeration.
Giuliani is not alone in asserting that Sharpton's relationship with Obama contributes to an anti-police environment.
The National Review
has also contended that the visits illustrate "the extraordinary access Sharpton has had to the president and his top advisers."
Despite Kessler's conclusion that no special relationship exists between Obama and Sharpton, some White House officials say otherwise.
Noting that after the riots exploded in Ferguson, Missouri and Sharpton emerged as the informal spokesman for an administration wishing to remain engaged and distant at the same time because, a White House official told Politico
that "there’s a trust factor with The Rev from the Oval Office on down.”
The official added: “He gets it, and he’s got credibility in the community that nobody else has got. There’s really no one else out there who does what he does.”
“It’s not just Bill de Blasio. Bill de Blasio could turn around and say Al Sharpton is welcome at the White House, why are you blaming me for using him as an adviser? This starts with the president of the United States legitimizing the Al Sharptons of the world who, again, have made a name for themselves bashing cops and blaming whites in general for all that ails the black community,” said Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley on Fox News' "Special Report."
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