Bloomberg News managing editor Mark Halperin hits a major foul ball in an interview with Sen. Ted Cruz. What was he thinking? The Washington Times’ Jennifer Harper writes:
Analysts and journalists are still puzzling over the recent interview between Bloomberg News managing editor Mark Halperin and Sen. Ted Cruz. The Texas Republican and Cuban-American was subjected to a string of inquiries about his taste in Cuban food and music, his ability to speak Spanish and other matters that had no real place in the political discourse.
There was a price to pay however. Mr. Halperin has since issued an explanatory statement and an apology to the lawmaker, which is included verbatim at the end of this story. And Mr. Cruz? He too has offered a statement, also at story’s end.
Here is the background, and it is a cautionary tale about modern media.
During the interview, Mr. Cruz remained gracious and in good humor. Mr. Halperin, however, was taken to serious task by syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, who wrote, “Halperin made it personal, and the interview careened into a ditch … 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.”
Mr. Naverrette advised Mr. Halperin that he had been personally nauseated by the exchange, and stated, “You crossed the line. This was bad journalism, bad form, and bad manners.” Mr. Navarette also wondered this: “What if, instead of watching a Washington insider who is also an MSNBC contributor, I was watching Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly demand that one of the Castros say a few words in Spanish so O’Reilly could determine if he is legitimately Hispanic?”
Tim Graham, executive editor of the press watchdog Newsbusters.com, has the answer: “The left would go apoplectic,” he says.
Republicans and conservatives quickly took to Twitter to express their dismay over the interview, and fling back a few retorts via the hashtag #halperinquestions. Dozens of parody questions for other presidential hopefuls accumulated Sunday, including one for Democrat Jim Webb.
“Sen Webb, when with your W. Va Scots Irish clan you often fiddle, drink moonshine and punch outsiders, right?” tweeted Peggy Noonan in the aftermath.
“This piece of snark is about something much more serious: the notion that Hispanics, blacks or women who are conservatives, aren’t authentic members of those groups. We can expect to see a lot of it in the coming months as the liberal media copes with a breathtakingly diverse Republican presidential field and seeks to brand them as inauthentic,” writes Commentary Magazine columnist Jonathan S. Tobin.