Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Mark Halperin says John McCain’s Housegate hurts Barack Obama to win this week’s Media Putz

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Originally published on MediaPutz.com on August 28, 2008

Mark Halperin

When Cokie Roberts starts questioning your logic, you know you have a problem.

The corporate media has really been giving Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) a pass when it comes to him not knowing how many houses he has. But on ABC’s This Week this past Sunday, Mark Halperin of Time Magazine took it to a whole new level.

In a section melodramatically titled “House-Gate,” Halperin tried to get away with a bait-and-switch. Instead of admitting that what McCain said was (at the very least) a problematic mistake, he somehow turned it into Obama’s blunder.

“My hunch is that this is going to end up being one of the worst moments in the entire campaign for one of the candidates,” Halperin said, pausing here for dramatic effect. “But, it’s Barack Obama! I believe this has opened the door to not just Tony Rezko in that ad, but to bring up Reverend Wright, to bring up his relationship with Bill Ayers.”

We at BuzzFlash want to do a little disambiguating here, mostly because his logic is hard to follow. Even his fellow panelists on This Week erupted into cries of confusion and disbelief at Halperin’s point. Basically he’s saying that because Obama pointed out McCain’s gaffe, McCain’s campaign can go negative with impunity.

First, Mark, have you been paying any attention to the McCain campaign recently? They’ve been in rabid attack mode for weeks!

No, no. Halperin insists that Obama has changed the tone of the campaign, which was apparently all sunshine and lollipops up until now:

“It started with the Obama campaign, filled with and machismo and aggressiveness saying, ‘We’re going to make this week not about the economy, [but about McCain’s houses].'”

Halperin shows his Rovian schooling here by using a favorite technique: Say it loud and repetitively enough and it magically becomes true. He makes his argument even stronger by relying on the schoolyard rule of, “He started it,” when the old platitude of “he who smelt it, dealt it” is likely more applicable here.

But enough of the schoolhouse talk; let’s move on.

Second on the list of Halperin’s putziness: houses and the economy have absolutely nothing to do with Obama’s former pastor Rev. Wright or former Weatherman Bill Ayers. Even the Media Putz award winner from two weeks ago, Cokie Roberts, got that the story isn’t about actual houses, calling it a “metaphor for the economy.”

…Not a metaphor for black liberation theology or radical political activism from the late 1960s.

And finally, as host George Stephanopoulos pointed out: “Don’t you think that was going to come up anyway?”

Pundits and strategists have been talking about the inevitability of Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, and Tony Rezko coming back to haunt Obama in the general election campaign since well before he became the nominee. The act of Obama drawing attention to McCain’s elitist slip-up hasn’t changed that one bit.

Although Halperin has already won an award for this recent show of loyalty to the McCain campaign, we at BuzzFlash simply couldn’t pass him up this week. For sticking faithfully to his role as a shill for McCain and the Republican Party, we give Mark Halperin the Media Putz of the week award.

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Written by democracysoup

August 28, 2008 at 6:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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