Rudy Giuliani, who was already having a very bad year, lost what may have been his only job on Friday when he was fired by WABC Radio in New York.

The reason: he wouldn’t stop talking about his claims that the 2020 election of Joe Biden over Donald Trump was illegitimate. All of his points have long been discredited, but that didn’t stop him from repeating them despite the owner of the station, Republican billionaire John Catsimatidis, warning him not to, repeatedly.

Giuliani, of course, says Catsimatidis never said any such thing to him. And, to prove he doesn’t know anything about the first amendment, the man with the runny hair dye says WABC’s decision is “a clear violation of free speech.” Since it’s not the government taking this action, it is no such thing. Rather, it is the owner of a business dumping an employee who wouldn’t follow company policy. I know any number of radio personalities who have been fired for doing what they wanted despite mandates from management. Whoever owns the microphone and transmitter is the ultimate arbiter of what will be broadcast, not the people hosting the show.

What Giuliani should have been ranting about for the last couple of years was that — despite him sticking his neck out so far and putting his reputation on the line on Trump’s behalf, Agent Orange still hasn’t paid him the hundreds of thousands he owes for his legal services, such as they were.

But there’s another important aspect of this I want to discuss — that Catsimatidis allowed Giuliani to have a radio show on his station in the first place. I don’t know of many other public figures who have squandered a positive image as much as Giuliani has since September 11, 2001. Don’t get me wrong. He was a scumbag long before the attack on the World Trade Center. But in the days and weeks afterwards, he was viewed as America’s Mayor by revealing some good leadership qualities.

Since then, he has reverted to full weasel status, and in his embrace of all things Trump, including the election fraud claims, dug himself into a hole he’ll never climb out of. That includes the $148 million he owes to two election workers in Georgia for defaming them, as well as other lawsuits, plus criminal charges in Arizona and Georgia for his invalid attempts to overturn the 2020 election results, none of which he has won in court.

So, with a resume like that, why did Giuliani still have a daily radio show on WABC? Partly because that station’s schedule, like other extremist right-wing talk outlets, is packed with hosts who spew conspiracy theories and fear mongering. Catsimatidis not only employees several, but often co-hosts with them.

He’s not the first radio station owner or manager to give a regular platform to someone who’s had major legal problems.

WLS/Chicago (where I did freelance work for several years) used to have a show hosted by Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois was found guilty in 2008 of public corruption for trying to sell the US Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama upon his election to the presidency. The state’s general assembly then impeached, convicted, and removed him from office and the state senate barred him from holding public office in Illinois ever again.

Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, but got out early when Donald Trump (what a surprise!) commuted his sentence in 2020. And that’s when WLS — where he had been a regular guest for years before he was locked up — hired him to do a daily show. I guess the station forgot to conduct a background check.

Want another example? How about G. Gordon Liddy, the convicted Watergate burglar who spent more than four years in federal prison for his role in trying to undermine the 1972 presidential election? This felon was given his own radio show in 1992 and stayed on the air for two decades. His listeners viewed him as a patriot, not as someone who tried to subvert democracy. Naturally, he appeared many times as a guest on Fox News Channel, where he was similarly treated like a hero.

I don’t bring all of this up as an argument for prohibiting ex-convicts from finding employment after they get out of prison. My problem is that these men were given access to the airwaves to spew garbage about their own crimes, spread conspiracy theories, and launch personal attacks against anyone who disagreed with them. That’s been an essential quality of nearly every extremist right-wing talk radio host since Rush Limbaugh reinvented the form, and shame on everyone who has employed them.

Nowadays, such rabid personalities don’t need a transmitter to spew their vile beliefs. They can live-stream and podcast their shows everywhere without anyone looking over their shoulders or worrying about FCC standards. But they do have to worry about crossing the line and being sued by those they’ve verbally wronged, as happened to Fox and One America News when Smartmatic threatened to take them to court. Those outlets ended up paying huge financial settlements.

Avoiding such legal exposure may have been one of the reasons Catsimatidis let Giuliani go on Friday. But by giving the dishonest dirtbag a seat in front of a microphone on WABC in the first place, Catsimatidis was playing with fire, and shouldn’t be shocked that he got burned.

The only surprise is that it didn’t happen sooner.