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Halperin's Crushing on Hewitt

When the Political Director of a major media outlet such as ABC News goes out of their way trying to prove they're not a liberal, even going so far as to vow to Sean Hannity that the programming on their stations will not reflect any anti-conservative views for at least 2 weeks, we've got a problem.

Glenn Greenwald has a piece up about Halperin and how he basically kept pleading with radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt to change his opinion that Halperin is "very liberal." It's kinda pathetic. It's also kinda mean of Hewitt to keep toying with the guy. I suppose he figures if he keeps Halperin dangling, it will mean Halperin will do more and more to "prove" his conservative-ness, which means more positive exposure in the media for the neo-cons (or absolutely no exposure on their illegal activities). It's a good strategy. They couldn't strategize their way out of a cardboard box, much less Iraq, but they sure know how to get good PR.

Today, Halperin is very upset -- very emotionally distraught -- because Hewitt remarked both during and after the interview that he thinks Halperin is "very liberal." Halperin spent three hours in the interview desperately trying to convince Hewitt that he is on Hewitt's side, but that wasn't enough to win Hewitt's approval. Nonetheless, Halperin is willing -- actually, quite eager -- to go to still greater and more horrifying lengths to obtain Hewitt's blessing.

First, Halperin e-mailed Hewitt today to again try to persuade Hewitt that he is not a liberal.


Unconvinced by Halperin's pleas both in the interview and again today that he is not a liberal, Hewitt rubbed the comment in Halperin's face again: "Not only do I think that Mark Halperin is very liberal, I don't think it is possible to conclude anything else."

In response, Halperin returned to Hewitt yet again, this time to request that Hewitt allow him to post a statement on Hewitt's blog, in which Halperin expressed how hurt he was that even after he agreed with almost everything Hewitt said during the interview, Hewitt is still calling him a liberal...

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.

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?


The need of journalists to please right-wing extremists and convince them that they are good and fair is very pervasive among the national media, and Halperin's highly emotional interaction with Hewitt is placing a high-powered microscope on how that dynamic works. As ugly as it is, it is highly instructive.

By min | November 2, 2006, 11:16 AM | Liberal Outrage