- Rudy Giuliani warned of “the dire consequences of misinformation on social media.”
- Giuliani has long promoted right-wing misinformation on social media.
- Media figures and disinformation experts soon pointed out the contradiction.
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Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, was pilloried on Wednesday after he warned in a podcast of the dangers of online misinformation.
In a tweet Giuliani shared the latest in his podcast series “Rudy Giuliani’s Common Sense” which he wrote was devoted to “the dire consequences of misinformation on social media.”
—Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) March 3, 2021
“If continued unaddressed, it will eventually lead to Jefferson’s worst nightmare of a poorly informed citizenry, which he saw as the greatest danger to democracy,” wrote Giuliani.
Giuliani was an unusual carrier for that message, which media figures and disinformation experts were quick to point out.
He was for months been the face of Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, and repeatedly pushed the so-called “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from Trump by Democrats, corrupt election officials and GOP traitors.
As recently as two days ago Giuliani was banned from YouTube for continuing to push the claim.
The election-fraud conspiracy theory helped inspire Trump supporters to attack the Capitol on January 6 in a bid to halt Joe Biden’s certification as the victor. Giuliani gave an incendiary speech to the supporters ahead of the riot.
Dominion Voting Systems , in a lawsuit against Giuliani alleging that he spread disinformation about their voting machines, claim Giuliani exploited the election-fraud conspiracy theories to sell cigars, gold coins and supplements on his podcast.
In his longstanding bid to smear Biden and his son, Hunter, ahead of the election last year, Giuliani pushed disinformation which US intelligence says was likely fed to him by Russian intelligence.
Observers pointed out the irony of Giuliani’s unexpected concern about the dangers of online misinformation.
“Noted disinformation expert Rudy Giuliani has an important message about poorly informed citizenry…,” tweeted John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at CitizenLab.
—John Scott-Railton (@jsrailton) March 3, 2021
Replying to the Giuliani tweet, disinformation expert Renee DiResta linked to a study where she debunked and analysed the spread of conspiracy theories promoted by Giuliani, among others.
—Renee DiResta (@noUpside) March 4, 2021
“Hearing Rudy Giuliani dispute- even laugh at- Pizzagate as an example of an absurd online conspiracy theory on his show, which was about misinformation tonight, was…. a moment,” tweeted Justin Hendrix, an expert on technology and democracy.
David Begnaud, a national correspondent for CBS News, tweeted of Giuliani’s podcast edition:“From a man who, in the eyes of many, ruined his reputation by spreading misinformation…”