Len, I think I avoided making a specific point, at least in that regard. I was just sharing what I've found.
So a Hardball producer is married to the granddaughter of an AF general what's your point?
My main point is the people who "get it" are considered "savvy" and they are not reduced to appearing shrill, as Doug Horne appears, at leas to the people writing the checks that finance the trapppings of success of the savvy, the trusted.
That granddaughter of an AF general "gets it," so does Obama. Bear in mind that another coincidence is that she
".....Reiss was previously the senior broadcast producer of "Nightly News" from 2002-2005 and producer and senior producer at "Dateline NBC" from 1994-2002....." And before that, Elizabeth Wilner, granddaughter of an AF genera, worked for another man trusted to manage another network's evening news broadcasts. For more than six years, she and or her husband John Reiss have been managing political policy, (and her husband also produces) at Chris Matthew's cable network, MSNBC.
There is always some new tidbit,” Mark Halperin said. “You just have to ferret it out.” It was the first day of the Republican Convention, in New York, and although the sun had not yet risen, he had already laid out all he needed for his peculiar trade—three television monitors, a laptop, a BlackBerry, a cell phone, a pager—in a makeshift space on the fifth floor of Madison Square Garden. Outside the Washington establishment, Halperin is known, if at all, as a journalist (his official title is political director of ABC News), but within it he is considered the leading purveyor of inside dope. As the founder of The Note, a political news digest that appears on the ABC News Web site each weekday morning by eleven o’clock, he collects information the way bookies keep tabs on the latest odds, or photographers chase the fading light. He collects polling data, no matter what the time of year or the size of the sample. He collects any rise or fall—even the smallest blip—in the projected electoral count. He also collects dirt, such as the unsealed divorce records of Jack Ryan, a Senate candidate from Illinois, which detailed visits to an alleged “sex club,” and which forced Ryan out of the race. He collects other things, too: arcane statistics from documents that government agencies churn out but few read; embargoed political books (The Note footnoted Kitty Kelley’s gossipy portrait of the Bush family twenty-four hours before it was released, beneath the teaser “Here Kitty, Kitty”); wire reports; radio transcripts; pieces of legislation; the guest lists of Georgetown dinner parties; and other minutiae that are of little interest to the ordinary citizen but are essential to his calling (“2:00 p.m.: Sen. John Kerry and his family hold a barbeque at the Heinz Farm, Fox Chapel, Pa”). Mostly, though, Halperin collects leaks and scuttlebutt from the campaign consultants, strategists, pollsters, pundits, and journalists who make up the modern-day political establishment, or what Halperin calls “the Gang of 500.”......
......As Halperin was flourishing inside the new establishment, his father’s career was foundering. After the election, Clinton nominated Morton Halperin to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense. Halperin later told National Public Radio that he hoped to use the position to “try to do things which really do affect people’s lives, to try to reduce some of the amount of suffering.” Many stalwarts of the old establishment backed him, including two former Secretaries of State, four former Secretaries of Defense, and two former C.I.A. chiefs.
Nevertheless, Halperin was quickly set upon by conservative partisans and their operatives, who tried to use his nomination to subvert Clinton and, in the process, destroy Halperin’s character. They used leaks and innuendo to hint that the C.I.A. had “a secret dossier,” which disclosed his “subversive activities.” Though the C.I.A. insisted that no such dossier existed, unnamed sources claimed they had “heard” accusations that included the words “killer” and “traitor.” “It’s very hard for the truth to catch up with a lie,” Halperin complained at the time.
Yet, for many reporters in Washington, it was simply another scandalous story. Al Kamen, who now writes the Washington Post’s “In the Loop” column—which, as a chronicle of the doings of lobbyists and political consultants, is, in many ways, a prototype of The Note—wrote, with another reporter, a story about the smearing. Its lead encapsulates the inside dopester’s world view: “It’s high Washington drama.” Morton Halperin eventually withdrew his name from consideration.
Mark Halperin, meanwhile, continued to rise at ABC. In 1997, he was named the news division’s political director. One evening three years later, in a testament to his status, Vice-President Al Gore, who was then running for President, stopped by the Upper West Side apartment that Halperin shares with Avrich, near Central Park, trailed by the Secret Service and his campaign staff. “I led him upstairs and offered him a Heineken,” Halperin recalled. “He asked me who I thought he was going to pick as a running mate, and I said, ‘Gephardt.’ He said, ‘Why?’ And then I showed him some of my political memorabilia and we drank our beers and chatted for a while.”....
Yet perhaps the ultimate consequence of The Note’s style of political coverage is not the trivialization of important stories but, rather, the inflation of trivial ones. With the media’s ever-growing appetite for new information, there has been a gradual slackening of the definition of political inside dope. A little story—Killer Joe Lockhart’s hiring, say, or Karl Rove’s breakfast strategy sessions—is presented as a big story on The Note, an “absolute must read.” (Halperin’s own memo was hailed in the blogosphere as a “Rathergate-style bombshell.”) But, as Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, says of The Note, “It couldn’t be more transient, like all gossip; but in politics, as in finance, gossip acquires the authority of superstition.”
Later in the morning of that first day of the Republican Convention, after Halperin filed The Note, he roamed the floor along with other reporters. Because conventions no longer choose the parties’ nominees, they have mainly become a vehicle for stagecraft, for branding. “So far, there isn’t a whole lot of real news,” Halperin said.
Still, there were hundreds of reporters looking for something. They had taken over entire wings and floors and corridors of Madison Square Garden. An estimated fifteen thousand media people were present—more than six times the number of delegates. Some reporters were from imitators of The Note. CNN had started The Morning Grind; CBS had The Washington Wrap; NBC had lured away one of Halperin’s original co-authors, Elizabeth Wilner, to start First Read. The Note, in turn, had recently launched Noted Now, which posts instant bulletins day and night—“a twenty-four-hour Note,” as Halperin called it.
There were so many insiders that, it seemed, there were no outsiders anymore. By noon, many reporters at the Convention had already read that morning’s Note and come up to Halperin to talk about it. A reporter from the Washington Post, whose story had been cited, said, “Thanks for the mention.”
“Always a pleasure,” Halperin said.
The night before, Halperin and the Post reporter had both attended a birthday party for John McCain, at which various fixtures of the media establishment had turned up: Tim Russert, Barbara Walters, Judy Woodruff, Chris Matthews. “I’ve never seen anything like it!” Halperin said. He recalled that he had been seated next to McCain’s aunt. “I was sitting on one side, and Charlie Rose was sitting on the other. It was pretty wild......
Morton H. Halperin (born June 13, 1938) is an American expert on foreign policy and civil liberties. He served in the Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton administrations and in a number of roles with think tanks and universities such as the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard University. .....
......Kissinger soon lost faith in Halperin. A front page story in The New York Times on May 9, 1969, stated the United States had been bombing Cambodia, a neutral country. Kissinger immediately called Hoover to find out who might have leaked this information to the press. Hoover suggested Halperin and Kissinger agreed that was likely. That very day, the FBI began taping Halperin's phones at Kissinger's direction. (Kissinger says nothing of this in his memoirs and mentions Halperin in passing about four times.) Halperin left the NSC in September 1969 after only nine months, but the taping continued until February 1971. Halperin was also placed on Nixon's Enemies List.
The taping of Halperin's phone was not revealed until 1973, when it came out in Ellsberg's trial. He sued Nixon and won a symbolic $1 judgment in 1977 for the offense......
On July 8, 2008 — the day before the U.S. Senate voted for the new FISA bill — Morton Halperin wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times announcing that the bill “has my personal support” and that “it represents our best chance to protect both our national security and our civil liberties.” His Op-Ed was a great surprise to many people — not only because Halperin was formerly the head of the D.C. office of the ACLU, which vigorously opposed the bill; not only because virtually every other civil liberties group and every other civil libertarian in America also vehemently opposed the bill as a profound assault on the Fourth Amendment; and not only because the organization of which Halperin was (at the time) President — the Open Society Policy Institute (“OSPI”) — was so opposed to the FISA bill that (as Halperin reveals for the first time in my interview with him) they asked him to step down as President as a result.
All those things are true, but those facts aren’t what was most baffling about Halperin’s Op-Ed. What made his Op-Ed particularly confounding was that a mere one month earlier — on June 9, 2008 — Halperin had signed a letter on behalf of OSPI, also signed by numerous other civil liberties and advocacy groups, in which he expressed steadfast opposition to the FISA “compromise” (which was then known as the “Bond compromise,” after GOP Sen. Kit Bond). A copy of that June 9 letter opposing the FISA bill, which Halperin joined on behalf of his group, is here (.pdf). ....
One of the purposes of the lawsuits was to learn more about the warrantless surveillance programs. There was always real doubt that the lawsuits would succeed in that objective given a variety of hurdles in addition to immunity including the State Secrets privilege. This objective will be more effectively accomplished by the requirement of the new Title II providing for the review by IGs of all previous warrantless surveillance and the release of a public report.
Podcast can be heard here.
Glenn Greenwald: My guest today is Morton Halperin, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, who has held various positions in numerous administrations over the years, and for several years was the director of the Washington office of the ACLU. Thanks for joining me this afternoon.
Morton Halperin: My pleasure.......
GG: Let me just stop you for a minute, because actually there was an audit provision, and in fact the letter that you signed on June 9th said that — quote:
The Bond proposal does incorporate a few improvements, including an audit of illegal warrantless surveillance, and a provision reaffirming that FISA is the exclusive means by which foreign intelligence surveillance can be lawfully conducted. But these modest concessions do not offset the vast new unchecked surveillance powers that this bill confers on the government.How is the final bill any different?
MH: I’m not, that letter was signed on to by an organization that I was then working for. I am not prepared to defend the text of that letter – I did not understand that that was the purpose of this interview. The letter speaks for itself, and my op-ed speaks for itself. And I am not prepared to get into the specifics…
GG: One of the things – and I won’t ask you about the specifics of the letter on the Bond proposal, but one of the things that did change – the only thing that I can see that changed, between June 9th — when all civil liberties groups in this coalition opposed the bill in its iteration at the time, and all those organizations and signatories to the letter continued to the end to oppose the bill, except for you. But what changed was that, between June 9th and July 9th, was that Barack Obama on June 20th came out and said he was going to support the ultimate FISA compromise.
Did you have any conversations in the interim with the Obama campaign about whether or not that was a good idea, or whether you would end up helping them by defending the bill and lending your name to the ultimate compromise?
MH: I had conversations with Obama’s Senate staff about the bill before he made his decision, and gave them my view on what the situation was.
GG: Obama’s staff, were you advising them that the bill was a good bill to the Senate’s —
UPDATE: Several people have emailed to complain — correctly — that I was remiss in failing to note that Mort Halperin is the father of the incomparably execrable Mark Halperin, formerly of ABC News and now of Time. My apologies for the oversight. If there is any system more nepotistic and incestuous than our Beltway political and media institutions, I don’t know what it is.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Mark Halperin and Hugh Hewitt -- all you need to know about the national media
One could argue that Mark Halperin, Political Director of ABC News (and author of a new book with John Harris, The Washington Post's National Political Editor) is the living, breathing embodiment of the "mainstream media." In order to promote his book, he went on Hugh Hewitt's radio show for a three hour interview last night, and Hewitt spent the entire time trying to attack Halperin as one of the symbols of overwhelming, systemic left-wing bias in the "mainstream media."
The ironic problem for Hewitt? Halperin -- like so many of the most entrenched establishment journalists -- not only agrees with Hewitt about virtually everything, but was literally desperate to convince Hewitt that this is the case, that he is on Hewitt's side. In front of an approving Sean Hannity, Halperin last week announced his self-debasing quest "to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances." He escalated that crusade by many levels with yesterday's interview.
So many "journalists" like Halperin seemingly have as their principal objective convincing right-wing extremists like Hewitt that they are good boys and girls and do their job in a way that pleases the Right. The effort is always tinged with self-flagellating confessions that they have not been Good enough -- they have been trying to be more fair to the Right, they insist, but they still need to do much better -- but these assurances are accompanied by pleas for the Right to recognize that they are not as bad as most of the other journalists.
Just survey some of these grotesquely obsequious pleas from Halperin for Hewitt to recognize Halperin as a good boy, along with Halperin's willingness to endorse the most inane right-wing myths in order to win that approval. This really is a vivid view into how the core of the national media thinks and behaves:......
Here's how dishonest Beltway journalism has become
October 03, 2006 3:53 pm ET
Books about politics and the press don't come much more dishonest, or depressing, than the new tome hitting stores this week, The Way to Win (Random House). Written by corporate media bigwigs Mark Halperin, political director of ABC News and founder of its political newsletter The Note, and John F. Harris, national political editor of The Washington Post, the new digest -- it's their take on how to win the White House -- is already being toasted by celebrity journalists inside the Beltway, which in today's environment means the book politely re-enforces preferred conventional wisdom and graciously avoids asking tough questions about Republicans. The press corps also skates by in the eyes of Halperin and Harris, who continuously rewrite recent history in order to ensure that journalists shoulder little or no blame for D.C. pressroom disgraces such as Whitewater, the blatantly dishonest coverage heaped upon Al Gore's presidential campaign, and for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth hoax that ensnared Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential run.
I say The Way to Win is dishonest because Halperin and Harris are obviously smart professionals who understand how politics and the press now (unfortunately) work in this country. Indeed, the two are celebrated as among Beltway journalism's best and brightest and are paid handsomely for reaching the pinnacle of their profession. Unfortunately, political journalism isn't what it used to be, and unfortunately, the duo opts to conform to the artificial guidelines that dictate public debate inside the Beltway today.
That's precisely why CBS' Bob Schieffer has already flacked the book on Face the Nation, why Charlie Rose has invited the two for an intimate chat, and why the Way To Win D.C. book party was awash with boldface guests, as elites from the press and politics flocked to toast the latest re-writing of the conventional wisdom. It's because Halperin and Harris tell a reassuring story that Beltway players, particularly in the press, love to hear. And for anybody who still thinks there's an ounce of friction between the true media elites and the Beltway's mostly Republican ruling class, read The Way to Win and think again. The Beltway really has become a tension-free world where journalists and politicos bond effortlessly.
Among the most important of Halperin and Harris's take-away tips -- their so-called "Trade Secret" -- is for candidates seeking the White House in 2008 to basically not act like Democrats. Specifically, Halperin and Harris stress that recent campaigns by Gore and Kerry failed because they lost control of their public image via the press, in sharp contrast to Bush's campaigns, which, thanks to the hard work of Karl Rove, were able to control their public image. What Halperin and Harris absolutely refuse to acknowledge is the willing role the press played in those key Democratic setbacks and the media's shrieking double standard that's been on display for the last decade.
For instance, Halperin and Harris's simplistic analysis of the Swift Boat fiasco, as it is for every Democratic public relations loss detailed in the book, is that the Kerry camp should have just convinced the press to stop writing damaging stories. Halperin and Harris's purposefully naïve construct is that Kerry and his aides had the power to fix negative press coverage -- just like Gore and Clinton did before him -- but for some bewildering reason they failed to do it.......
Unless Doug Horne wants to end up like the bitter, frustrated, penny pinching Harold Weissberg in his old age, he ought to spend more time taking into account how it all works and who gets paid for doing what, and less time complaining about how betrayed he feels by the infotainment of irrelevant clown Chris Matthews of MSNBC infotainment. After all, their corporate media mission is to trivialize and rightisize everything they communicate to J6P.