Monday, March 22, 2010


At times in his career, Mark Halperin has been almost comically embarrassing in his efforts to curry right-wing favor ("Can I introduce you to my interns from Bob Jones University?" he said fawningly to Hugh Hewitt back in 2006), while insisting on his own neutrality. So it's no surprise that, in a Time piece on health care reform, he's feeding Republicans a talking point they're guaranteed to deploy.

Halperin writes:

Democrats will be joined in the fray by much of the press. For Republicans, this will seem like familiar ground, since generations of conservatives have complained that the so-called mainstream media have been biased against them. Well, get ready, Republicans, for deja vu all over again. The coverage through November likely will highlight the most extreme attacks on the President and his law and spotlight stories of real Americans whose lives have been improved by access to health care (pushed, no doubt, by Democrats from every competitive congressional district and state). The louder Republicans yell, the more they will be characterized and caricatured as sore losers infuriated by the first major delivery of candidate Obama's promise of "change." The focus on the weekend's alleged racial and gay-bashing verbal attacks by opponents of the Democrats' plan should be a caution to Republican strategists trying to figure out how to manage the media this year.

So if right-wingers actually shout racist and homophobic slurs at Democratic lawmakers, or spit on them, and it's reported -- that's media bias! If people get benefits and their lives are thereby improved and the press reports that -- that's liberal media bias too! I suppose if a teabagger takes a shot at someone and it makes the news, that'll be bias, too.

Right-wingers are going to run with what Halperin says here. They're going to say that "even the liberal Mark Halperin" "admits" that the press isn't going to play fair. They're going to blame any positive poll response to health care reform and the Democrats on sinister media propagandizing, just as Halperin described it. Halperin helps them argue to their base that the jackbooted fascists are being enabled by a propaganda army of a press.

They'd argue that anyway, but Halperin makes it just that much easier. And, of course he would -- he's the guy who told Hewitt in 2006:

... your listeners ... should read the book and what we say in The Way To Win about how the media's been liberally biased in presidential campaign coverage, what needs to be done to try to fix it, and why the current system may not be any better with new media. But to lump me in with everybody else, I think, is doing people a disservice, because most of my colleagues, as you know, are in denial about it, or blind to it.

After that interview, Hewitt called Halperin "very liberal." The suck-up didn't work. But Halperin's still sucking.

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