Why your news sucks
I'm a Republican bitch
Hugh Hewitt interviewed Mark Halperin, the Political Director of ABC News. By any measure, Halperin's disclosures are interesting: a) "having [political] views and expressing them is a dangerous thing" and "talking about them is only bad for America"; b) Criticisms of news organizations from the left "don’t diminish the liberal bias, but they do make weak organizations, already under siege, more under siege, taking fire from a different direction"; c) The media "hates the military" and has biases on "gays, guns [and] abortion"; d) "[T]he Mary Mapes’ of the world are ruining it for the rest of us, and they are the dominant majority"; e) David Gregory is not a "buffoon"; and f) he has interns from Bob Jones University.
1) Halperin admits to not ever voting for a President and that reporters "can’t have political views." In fact, "it’s a sacrifice that any sane and rational reporter should make."
HH: Before we press on to the specifics, we’ve got to get our plumb lines down, Mark Halperin. We’ve got to locate you on the political map somewhere, so the people will know how to adjust for the lie of the green. Did you vote for Kerry or Bush last time around?
MH: I believe that if you are a reporter covering politics, in America today, certainly, and probably I’d have the same view in the past, I think it’s important to try to restore credibility to the media, what we call the old media. And that requires doing what…the metaphor I used to use was we’ve got to be like Catholic priests and give up sex. But that metaphor’s lost some of its currency. We have to step away from politics. We can’t have political views. So I don’t discuss my political views. I don’t discuss…I will say, somewhat controversial in the minds of some, I don’t vote, because I think that just opens up the question of how can I say I’m being objective, and fighting for truth, if I’m making a decision about who to vote for in a presidential race.
HH: So you’ve never voted in a presidential race?
MH: No. I just don’t think...I think it’s a sacrifice. I urge everybody else to. I think it’s incredibly important. I think it’s a sacrifice that any sane and rational reporter should make.
HH: I think it’s silly. I mean, because after all, you still like one better than the other.
MH: No, I really don’t. I like everybody I cover, and I dislike everybody I cover, and I try to do it in equal proportion. Here’s…think of this logically. If I were voting in a presidential election, if I were doing it conscientiously, I would have to reach some hard conclusions about who I thought would be a better president. That…if I were running for president, and I was being interviewed by a reporter who was making a judgment about whether to vote for me or not, I would find it disconcerting. I would know…and if I were a Republican, I would suspect they would be voting Democratic. I just don’t think it’s appropriate, if you’re covering presidential politics, to put yourself in the position, in both actuality in your head, and in appearance, that you’re going to weigh in. Plenty of other people in America vote, everyone should vote. I think the country can survive if the 180 of us who cover presidential campaigns understand the objectivity we must get to, if we’re going to restore faith and trust in these news organizations.
2) He was a "slacker" in college and didn't vote then, either.
HH: We’ll come back to that vanity in a little bit. But first, let’s go back then before you were a reporter. 1984 is your first vote, if I’ve got this right. You were at Harvard at that time, so you were eligible to vote. Were you a Mondale guy or a Reagan guy?
MH: I didn’t vote.
HH: In 1984? This is before you were a reporter.
MH: I was unconscientious. A college student.
HH: You were a slacker?
MH: I was a slacker.
3) Halperin says that "many" of his colleagues at ABC are "liberal on a range of issues" and "the reality of how that affects media coverage, is outrageous." Furthermore, "I think having views and expressing them is a dangerous thing. I have opinions and thoughts, but I think talking about them is only bad for America."
HH: All right. Now let’s…then let’s put the plumb lines down on issues. Are you pro-choice?
MH: Hugh, it’s the same thing on issues as it is on candidates. I don’t think it’s appropriate, if you’re going to cover these things, to talk about views. I will say this, Hugh. I will say that many people I work with in ABC, and other old media organizations, are liberal on a range of issues. And I think the ability of that, the reality of how that affects media coverage, is outrageous, and that conservatives in this country for forty years have felt that, and that it’s something that must change. But what my views are, are not important, and just like I said on not voting, I think having views and expressing them is a dangerous thing. I have opinions and thoughts, but I think talking about them is only bad for America.
4) In response to a question about the "fever swamp" left -- Daily Kos, specifically -- Halperin says, "So the left criticisms, I think, don’t diminish the liberal bias, but they do make weak organizations, already under siege, more under siege, taking fire from a different direction."
HH: And so, given that we know that proportion is there, I don’t know the relevance that the fever swamp generates some antagonism towards you, that Daily Kos yells at you, doesn’t in any way, I think, not you personally, but media, doesn’t in any way change the basic underlying problem, which is that you’ve set up sort of castles full of liberal and hard left reporters, and that they’re criticized from the left doesn’t in any way diminish their left wing bias, does it?
MH: Not at all. It only adds to the current problems, or the previous problems of the left wing bias on a lot of issues. What it adds is, people feeling cowed from the other direction, and it adds to the general lack of respect, which we have brought on ourselves, because look, we are too weak, and we are too superficial, and we have failed to stand up to power, as we should, if we’re going to play a proper role in a democracy. So the left criticisms, I think, don’t diminish the liberal bias, but they do make weak organizations, already under siege, more under siege, taking fire from a different direction.
5) Halperin agrees that the media "hates the military," and has biases on "gays, guns [and] abortion."
HH: And these liberals…you know, Terry Moran on this program said…Terry Moran on this program from ABC, your colleague…said that the media hates the military, has a deep suspicion of it. Do you agree with that?
MH: I totally agree. It’s one of the huge biases, along with gays, guns, abortion, and many other things.
6) Halperin asks Hewitt an interesting question.
MH: Do you want to live in an America where there’s media that’s just all based on being pro-Bush or anti-Bush?
HH: No, I want to live in an America where there’s a media that I can understand, and understand where they’re coming from, so that I can correct for their deep-seated bias, which distorts the news, so that it drives the country in bad directions.
MH: So you reject the model which says that there can be a news organization staffed by people who aren’t biased?
HH: Yes, absolutely. I reject that model.
MH: All right. Well…
HH: I’ve rejected that model forever. I think most of America rejects that model. I think you guys in Manhattan and D.C. have persuaded yourselves that eventually, America will accept you back after shattering your credibility, and it’s just never going to happen, because we don’t believe you.
7) " I agree with you that the Mary Mapes’ of the world are ruining it for the rest of us, and they are the dominant majority," says Halperin.
HH: But Mark, was Mary Mapes fair?
HH: Okay. There are more Mary Mapes. Even if we believe for a second…
MH: Hugh, Hugh, Hugh. Stop going back…
HH: …and there’s no reason to believe you…
MH: Stop going back to the stuff we agree on, because we can talk less about the book if you do that. I agree with you that the Mary Mapes’ of the world are ruining it for the rest of us, and they are the dominant majority. We’ve got to fix it.
8) He doesn't watch Hardball.
HH: Is Chris Matthews liberally biased?
MH: I don’t watch enough of him to know.
HH: He’s Jimmy Carter’s speechwriter.
MH: I know what his resume is, but I also know that people should be evaluated as I said throughout the program, by the quality of the work. I will say this. The people in old media should stop hiring people from Democratic politics. It’s just…it is not conducive to moving us in the right direction.
9) ABC News was right to fire William Kristol.
HH: Why’d you fire Kristol?
MH: I’m not in senior enough management to give you the answer, but I don’t want people like Bill Kristol here, either. I want non-partisan, fair journalists.
10) David Gregory is not a "buffoon."
HH: Mark Halperin, is David Gregory a buffoon?
MH: Define buffoon for me.
HH: Oh, just use your own operational definition.
MH: I wouldn’t use that word, no.
HH: Is he a journalist?
MH: He’s definitely a journalist.
11) Halperin is funny!
HH: Does Fox News put out a good product?
MH: Define good.
12) He has interns from Bob Jones University.
HH: And so, I want you to finish off by telling me about your project…Nick Lemann’s got a project where he’s going to add another extra year of power skills, and it’s not going to work, because everyone who enters the place is a hard lefty. You’ve got an ambition, but you’re not transparent. The media keeps hiring from the Harvard Crimson. It keeps self-perpetuating from self-elected elites.
MH: Can I introduce you to my interns from Bob Jones University?
HH: I’m glad that you have one. They must feel like a stranger in a strange world.
MH: No, because within my unit, we’re all about being fair and non-partisan.
What an asshat.
If you think not voting is some kind of sacrifice, you're a gelding. Ever wonder why Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann are growing in audience and respect? Because many people think the media is on the take. They don't trust it. Now I know Halperin thinks what he's saying indicates fairness.
But it isn't. It is turning a blind eye to people who don't respect journalism or free speech.
If he's hiring interns from Bob Jones University, how many members of the Nation of Islam also got internships?
Halperin is a shining example of what is wrong with journalism, although his GOP asslicking is especially craven.
I was in J school in 1984 and went out of my way to vote. I thought journalism was about being an active citizen, not a patsy for the powerful.
posted by Steve @ 12:30:00 AM