“Watching Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics interview Cruz recently, I wasn’t just uncomfortable. I was actually nauseated,” Ruben Navarrette writes in the San Jose Mercury:
As a journalist, I felt embarrassed for Halperin. As a Hispanic, I felt like I was watching a college fraternity have fun with racial stereotypes, like when staging a “border party” where people show up in serapes and fake mustaches. And as someone who doesn’t adhere to a party line to the point where I’ve been accused of being a “coconut” (white on the inside, brown on the outside), I was furious enough to — as Sarah Palin once said approvingly about Cruz — chew barbed wire and spit out rust.
The online interview show that Halperin co-hosts on BloombergPolitics.com is called “With All Due Respect.” But there was nothing respectful about the line of questioning. It started off innocently enough with Halperin asking the 2016 GOP presidential candidate about whether he thinks Hispanics will vote for him. He also mentioned a speech that Cruz had given to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and gave Cruz the chance to explain his argument that Republican economic policies help Hispanics.
Nothing wrong with that. But then Halperin made it personal, and the interview careened into a ditch. He told Cruz that people are curious about his “identity.” Then, the host asked a series of questions intended to establish his guest’s Hispanic bona fides. What kind of Cuban food did Cruz like to eat growing up? And what sort of Cuban music does Cruz listen to even now?
I’ve known Ted for more than a decade and I could tell he was uncomfortable. But he played along, listing various kinds of Cuban food and saying that his musical taste veers more toward country.
I kept waiting for Halperin to ask Cruz to play the conga drums like Desi Arnaz while dancing salsa and sipping cafe con leche — all to prove the Republican is really Cuban.
Truly vile stuff; as PJM alumnus Fausta Wertz writes, “Halperin interviews Ted Cruz, expects Ricky Ricardo.” Note that Halperin, a former Time magazine journalist, tweeted last month, “There’s literally nothing on Earth funnier now than conservatives on Twitter who think @HillaryClinton is enjoying a honeymoon w/ the media.” Here’s one way that Hillary will be allowed to skate through; being asked softball questions while her opponents receive disgusting queries such as this:
As Matt Drudge wrote in October of 2004, Halperin, who then held the title of Political Director with ABC, wrote an internal memo that “admonishes ABC staff: During coverage of Democrat Kerry and Republican Bush not to ‘reflexively and artificially hold both sides ‘equally’ accountable.'” As if there was any chance that the House of Stephanopoulos would ever treat both sides fairly:
The controversial internal memo obtained by DRUDGE, captures Halperin stating how “Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win.”
But Halperin claims that Bush is hoping to “win the election by destroying Senator Kerry at least partly through distortions.”
“The current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done,” Halperin writes.
Halperin’s claim that ABCNEWS will not “reflexively and artificially hold both sides ‘equally’ accountable” set off sparks in St. Louis where media players gathered to cover the second presidential debate.
Halperin states the responsibilities of the ABCNEWS staff have “become quite grave.”
In August, Halperin declared online: “This is now John Kerry’s contest to lose.”
Evidently, Halperin has already concluded the same about Hillary this year and is prepared to do his bit as a Democrat operative with a byline to make it happen. (Alternate theory: “Is Halperin a sleeper Cruz agent?” It really was that bad an interview.)