Mark Halpern: Dog-Hating “Hack” Journalist Accused of Sexual Harassment

Ever since the revelations of sexual harassment and assault by Harvey Weinstein came to light, multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault against noticeable figures in the media & entertainment industry have arisen, including in the realm of politics. The latest report of harassment in politics is NBC and MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin, former Bob Dole speechwriter and ranked #1 and #2 in Salon.com’s Hack Lists for 2011 and 2010, respectively.

According to a report from CNN.com, five women have come forward and said that Halperin, while working at ABC News, sexually harassed women, for which Halperin, who had been suspended by MSNBC “until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood,” but now been let go, said in a statement:

“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me…I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation."

When I first read these revelations about Halperin, the first thought that ran across my mind was, “well, why wasn’t he fired in the first place?” Granted, terminating someone for sexual harassment (especially in the workplace) is 100% warranted and that the claims should be taken seriously, but, as was mentioned previously, Halperin is (and always was) a notorious establishment hack.

Case in point: Just this election cycle, where he gave a softball interview with President Donald Trump.

Or even this cringe-worthy interview with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (who, let’s make no mistake, is a pretty swampy politician), where the questions bordered on full-racism (bear in mind, pointing out the racism in the questioning is NOT a defense of Cruz’s policies or votes):

“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?”

In 2013, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (aka FAIR) awarded Halperin the “Magical Politicians Award” as part of their P-U-litzers, quoting him regarding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: “Chris Christie is someone who is magical in the way politicians can be magical, like our last three presidents.” In September of that very year, Christie also sat as governor the Fort Lee lane closure (aka “Bridgegate”).

So why bother to remind readers of Halperins’ sketchy interviewing and commentary? Simple: because the mainstream political establishment likes to elevate people like Halperin who provide empty platitudes and who have no problem not challenging people who hold political power…that is, until dirty secrets surrounding these pundits are revealed as they should. Halperin’s whole resume essentially reveals him to be a (racist and creepy) lapdog for those making decisions for ordinary Americans, but because he coauthored a book regarding the 2008 election which was adapted into a film, MSNBC/NBC News framed him as a figure to be taken seriously for political analysis (which was, as Alex Pareene put it in his Salon pieces, always wrong).

Mark Halperin already has apologized for his behavior and rightfully punished. However, MSNBC should have to apologize for introducing us to the useless commentary of Mark Halperin.