It’s not all Spitzer for Vanity Fair: The current issue also contains a towering Rudy profile, "A Tale of Two Giulianis," by Michael Shnayerson (whose sister Maggie is now the longest-serving editor at Gawker). In a lower-key fashion than last week’s dueling Newsweek and Village Voice features on Rudy’s supposed terror ties, Vanity Fair delivers a series of excellent mini-scoops on the man’s business practices. Case after well-researched case shows Giuliani peddling bits of his 9/11 reputation to just about any taker, from foreign governments to “typical denizens of the penny-stock world — dreamers and the occasional scam artist.” Shnayerson follows Giuliani’s paid-up crusade for the makers of OxyContin, first as a lobbyist, then a lawyer; his shilling for Nextel; etc. More disturbingly, he then catches Rudy putting plugs for his clients into his political speeches, which are then reported as legitimate news. The choicest tidbit, however, is the one where the author quickly settles a personal score.
Giuliani also failed to disclose his consulting contract with a Florida entrepreneur named Hank Asher when in 2004 he talked about him to a magazine writer who was profiling Asher. In fact, the writer was this writer, and the magazine was Vanity Fair.
Not only is the profile more coolly damaging than VF’s summertime hatchet job on Judith Nathan — its cumulative effect is devastating. Newsweek and the Voice focused on Rudy’s sinister-sounding but ultimately murky connection to a world of which few voters have a clear picture (and we are all tainted: Got a Citicard? A Saudi prince is the biggest shareholder in Citigroup). Shnayerson, by contrast, methodically builds a portrait of a fundamentally flawed and avaricious character, a man happy to sell his perceived integrity not just to the highest bidder, but to every bidder. The newest Giuliani TV ad (above) promising to “stand up” to “dictators” and “tyrants” might not have the same ring coming from someone who’s been paid by Qatar, China, Venezuela, and countless machers in need of a cred boost. —Michael Idov
Related: Rudy Has Seen the Enemy and He Is … Us [NYM]