Look, I apologize. I’m packing for a trip but I was momentarily distracted and came across this article, on my Twitter, and wanted to give you all a pre-Thanksgiving present.
It’s on BuzzFeed, which I loathe, but it’s by Eve Fairbanks and is a hit job on the vile Mark Halperin, so my hands were tied.
(If you want to read about and watch Halperin simulate masturbation on the Morning Joe show, click here.)
In mid-2005 I packed two duffel bags and took a train to Washington, where I hoped, as a young reporter, to better understand the city, and our politics and our country. As much as it was anyone’s, Washington was my city. I grew up there.
But when I arrived, I became aware there was a new don of Washington, one whose rules I would have to master. His name was Mark Halperin. He ran a chummy daily political newsletter, The Note, from his perch as political director of ABC News.
Three weeks ago, numerous women stepped forward to accuse him of extraordinary acts of assault: One said he masturbated in front of them at work; another said he slammed her against a restaurant window before attempting to kiss her (“I bear responsibility for my outrageous conduct,” Halperin said in an apology posted soon after). He lost his job, a book deal, and a movie contract. Case closed, it would seem: another predator, thankfully, out of a workplace.
But I’m not here to talk about that. I want to talk about the deeper, subtler, more insidious effect Mark Halperin had on our politics — one which we’ll be paying for for years to come.
The Note purported to reveal Washington’s secrets. In fact, its purpose was the exact opposite: to make the city, and US politics, appear impossible to understand. It replaced normal words with jargon. It coined the phrase “Gang of 500,” the clubby network of lobbyists, aides, pols, and hangers-on who supposedly, like the Vatican’s cardinals, secretly ran DC. That wasn’t true — power is so diffuse. But Halperin claimed he knew so much more than we did, and we began to believe it.
Once you believe that, it’s not hard to be convinced that politics is only comprehensible, like nuclear science, to a select few.
To read the whole story, click here.