…while you read Glenn Greenwald describe how Mark Halperin, political director for ABC News, spent three hours groveling at the feet of Hugh Hewitt. Recall earlier statements by Halperin and ABC’s blame-it-all-on-Clinton “documentary.” Add this latest embarrassment and you don’t need a crystal ball to see that Halperin has decided to give up on fairness and chase the FOX demographic wherever it leads. I think that Billmon recently summed up best what is going on here – business is business, and fairness just doesn’t pay the bills.
Sadly I think that Mark Halperin had a real brainfart. The FOX demographic won’t follow ABC’s namby-pamby under-the-radar rightwing bias when they can get the real thing on Cable, and anyway they will never trust an outlet that employs Brian Ross. Would FOX News keep a world-famous enabler of terrorists on staff? Of course not. Plus you have to wonder about Halperin’s timing. Jumping boldly to the right after 9/11 would have had enough internal logic that the ‘wingers might not see it as pandering, and it would have given ABC five or six good years to join or even lead the violent domination of the national discourse by rightwingers. They would have made money hand over fist.
Today, where’s the benefit? The conservative wave has crested. Other than a few dead-enders like Hewitt rightwing pundits across the board (Richard Viguerie, Peggy f-cking Noonan) have decided that the current leadership needs to go down in disgrace. Bungled wars and massive failures in every aspect of government have pushed independent Americans to the left in unprecedented numbers. One sign of the changing times, Rupert Murdoch has chummed up with the Clintons to the point that he recently held a fundraiser for Hillary (Roger Ailes attended but did not give). Looking at ratings trends the national audience is clearly shifting towards stations which do not grovel at the feet of Dick Cheney and Hugh Hewitt. Yet for some inane reason the political director of ABC News has decided to change tack five years late and in the wrong direction.
Maybe there is some calculation involving juicy favors from the FCC, trademark policy favoring Disney or an NSA wiretap of Halperin planning a murder, who knows. On the face of it ABC’s decision looks pretty stupid.
Hewitt doesn’t buy Halperin’s conversion so the ABC political guru gets back on his knees. Repeatedly. The pathos of Mark Halperin’s desperate, shameless self-debasement simply baffles me. Add quixotic, since Hugh doesn’t like anybody to the left of Dick Cheney.
The self-punishing aspect of Halperin’s venue choices is even stranger. If you want to reach mainstream America go on Scarborough, Imus; even O’Reilly occasionally makes a weak stab at political independence. Limbaugh might give you an airing. Michael Savage has that Republicans-left-me independence thing, although his complaint is that they’re too far left. As a mainstream media figure you can’t just sidle up to the hackiest hacks who ever hacked and expect them to like you.