Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mark Halperin: Asshole of the Week

Other than my frequent ramblings on the brutal Cuban dictatorship, and an occasional political cartoon, this blog seldom discusses politics, so please forgive this nauseating excursion into that world.

Last night I watched the Mark Halperin interview of Senator Ted Cruz, an interview that, as a Cuban-American, not only made me immensely uncomfortable, but also revealed the disturbing insides of this "journalist."

Senator Ted Cruz is Cuban-American, and because the Texas Senator is one of those rare politicians that actually says in a very loud voice what he believes, and then sticks to his beliefs, you either like him a lot, or despise him even more, depending if you agree with Cruz (as the majority of Texans who voted him into the Senate apparently do) or disagree with him (as practically every Democratic Senator and even some Republicans does), and that is just one of the beautiful things about living in this great nation: Politicians (and the rest of us) can (and often should) have widely differing views on things, and disagree, and argue, etc.

Watching Halperin's revolting interview of Cruz, I actually wanted to throw up.

Up to last night, I had never heard of the online interview show that Halperin co-hosts on BloombergPolitics.com. It is called "With All Due Respect", but the last thing that Halperin showed Cruz was respect; in fact what Halperin revealed about himself was not only a disturbing and sickening inside look at his mind, but also evidence of his lack of journalistic ethics.

Imagine Halperin interviewing Senator Obama in 2008:
"Senator Obama, as a historical matter, when you applied to Harvard, did you list yourself as a Kenyan-American"?

"Who's your favorite African-American performer?"

"What's your favorite kind of black music?"

"What's your favorite soul food?"
Or imagine Halperin interviewing Senator Elizabeth Warren today:
"Senator Warren, what's your favorite Native-American dance?

"Can you say something in Wampanoag?
Had those interviews happened, Bloomberg would have fired Halperin (who has since then somewhat apologized... cough, cough).

What Halperin was doing when he asked Senator Cruz to speak in Spanish (when everyone knows that Cruz is not fluent in Spanish), or to reveal his favorite Cuban dish, or to list what sort of Cuban music the Senator likes, was to challenge Cruz's Cubanosity and to diminish his Hispanic/Latino "credentials."

Halperin wanted to diminish and embarrass Senator Cruz because Ted Cruz does not fit the stereotype of what the main stream press and the Democratic Party (but I repeat myself) wants us Hispanics/Latinos to be: homogeneously brown, solid Democrats, poor, and victimized. Cruz, on the other hand, is white, right wing, and very vocal and proud about his extreme right-wingness.

Why did this interview bother me so much? I thought about this overnight, and I've come to the conclusion that, for the first time, starting when I was a child in Brooklyn, grew into a man while serving in the US Navy, and the many years since, I've now personally felt, for the first time in all those years, the slimy touch of racism.

It sickens me that Halperin can give a half-assed apology and go on pretending that he's an unbiased, objective journalist, when it is clear to the most casual observer that all along he had a goal and a focus in his sickening interview of Senator Cruz.

It sickens me that it took a Mark Halperin to make me feel insulted, nauseated, violated and angry. And it sickens me that he's tarnished my American dream.

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