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Monday, November 06, 2006

Mark Halperin Responds. Really.

WELCOME TALKINGPOINTSMEMO.COM READERS! WE HOPE YOU'LL HAVE A LOOK AROUND http://cardcarryingmember.blogspot.com. AND IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT spacegirl AND I ENDORSE YOUR STATE'S /DISTRICT'S DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE! (And: Thanks to Josh Marshall for the link!)

Atrios and Josh Marshall both have posts describing the apparent unwillingness of the national political media to cover the deliberately deceptive and harassing phone calls being made by GOP-funded groups. Probably the most ire-attracting target is Mark Halperin, ABC's political news director, who recently went on Hugh Hewitt's radio show and, to be polite about it, treated HH and the right the way a male prostitute treats Ted Haggard.

Curious to see if Josh and Duncan were right, I went to http://abcnews.com and did a quick search of their politics coverage to see what if anything I could find about the harassing and deceptive calls. Couldn't find anything.

So, I thought I'd call Mark Halperin's office to ask him about all this. I went to Google Maps, clicked "Find Businesses", and entered "20009" for the zip and "ABC News" for the business. Here's a shortcut to the resulting page.

So, I called (202) 222-7777 and asked for the office of Mark Halperin. I was transferred to his voicemail.

About 2 minutes later, he returned my call (perhaps because I have a DC-area cell number). It's kind of amusing in this day and age to answer your phone and hear "This is Mark Halperin".

So, I said something like this:
Hi Mr. Halperin, I'm an ABC viewer, and I'm concerned that you're not covering the Republicans' harassing phone-call strategy.
Halperin replied, very pleasantly if rushed, something like this:
No, we're covering it. It's all over ABC radio and TV---the largest political radio network. It's going to be all over the place.
Thinking that perhaps he was talking about they-all-do-it coverage of robocalls in general, rather than the GOP deceive-and-harass variety, I said something like
I'm talking about the ones where they call and deceive the person who picks up into...
He cut me off---though in a polite tone---and said
I know what you're talking about. That's what we're covering.
Puzzled, I said
Well, that's strange, because I didn't see anything about it on abcnews.com.
And he replied something to the effect of
It's not on the website yet, but it will be.
And I said something like
Well, thanks very much. I'm glad to hear you're covering it. I'll be looking for that coverage.
And he said
You're welcome sir, have a nice night.
So how about that.

If it turns out he was telling the truth, I'll be pleased to hear it and to credit him and ABC (if only for doing the job they *should* be doiong).

If not, I'll be posting communications information about how you can really screw up Mark Halperin's election eve and day.

Update: As of 5:16pm, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ is running a no-link banner that reads
BREAKING NEWS DEMOCRATS SEND CEASE-AND-DESIST LETTER TO REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE OVER AUTOMATED PHONE CALLS TO VOTERS.
Let's hope they really cover this issue.

Second Update: abcnews.com now has a story on the Dems' letter.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for the Dems for forcing the issue with the cease-and-desist letter!

11/06/2006 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check the spelling of your link for "Josh Marshall".

11/06/2006 6:33 PM  
Blogger Jonah B. Gelbach said...

thanks for the typo find, second commenter.

11/06/2006 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...
Watching this with great interest. I guess ut shows the importance of the election. You guys are doing great work.

11/07/2006 12:45 AM  

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