Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Something Embarrassing

Have you followed the discussion about whether Mark Halperin is a liberal or not? Glenn Greenwald wrote about it:

Apparently, the most traumatizing and horrifying thing that could ever happen to Mark Halperin is for Bush followers like Hugh Hewitt to think he's a liberal. It is self-evidently very important to Halperin -- on an emotional and deeply personal level -- to demonstrate that he is one of them, or at least not one of those liberals. To achieve this, he made an extraordinary vow to Sean Hannity when trying to win Hannity's approval, in which he pledged that the media would spend the next two weeks compensating for all of their anti-conservative sins over the past decades, and now he is engaged in a truly debased and highly emotional crusade to obtain Hugh Hewitt's affection.

Halperin is a warrior in the media forces against the Dreaded Liberal Bias. He's not liberal. Repeat, he is not liberal. He is willing to lie on the floor and bang his head against it if you don't believe him.

Well, no. He is not doing temper tantrums. It's something else, and it's equally embarrassing. Here is an e-mail Greenwald states is from Halperin to Hewitt:

Dear Hugh,

I really enjoyed our radio talk and I appreciated the opportunity to appear with someone I respect so much.

I have gotten a lot of positive feedback, mostly from conservatives, including this reaction on

But, as I have said to you privately, I am beginning to think you are intellectually dishonest on a few points. It seems strange that someone who seems to be trying to bring truth to people would do such a thing, but I can't really explain your behavior any other way. As I said on the show, you and I agree on almost everything we discussed. On most of the points of disagreement, I respect your position and accept our disagreement. . . .

As for your repeated insistence that you could reach no other conclusion but one that says that I am "very liberal," I'm sure if you think it over, you will reconsider. You went to a liberal school and you appear to not be liberal. And I am sure you have heard of people having different political views than their parents.

Again, I respect much about you, but I am mystified by your determination to lump me in with others. Acknowledging the liberal bias that exists in the Old Media -- as John Harris and I do in The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008 doesn't necessarily prove that I am not liberal, but I would think you would be open to giving me the benefit of the doubt, when you have no actual evidence to the contrary.

Oh so embarrassing. Why do I feel all red-hot shame here? It's not me writing that e-mail of abject crawling and pleas for love and approval.

But it strikes a bell. I've done things not so removed from that in the past, to try to make some misogynist think better of me. Yes, indeed I have. And shame is what sticks to one from such acts. Of course I was very young and very naive then.

Ezra Klein notes why Halperin's begging and pleading is not only unseemly but unprofessional:

I really question whether someone who has obviously made it such a high priority to obtain a very personal form of right-wing absolution can possibly exercise appropriate news judgment. If Halperin is willing to expend this much time and energy and shower Hewitt with such gushing praise -- and if he's willing to make such a public spectacle of himself when doing so -- all in order to convince Hewitt that he isn't liberal, won't that goal rather obviously affect Halperin's news coverage? Isn't there something extremely unseemly about the political director of ABC News engaging in such an intense campaign to win the approval of one of the most blindly partisan, extremist Bush followers in the country?

Mark, they are not going to love you, those wingnuts. Just saying.