"If I were a conservative, I understand why I would feel suspicious that I was not going to get a fair break at the end of an election."Check out Halperin's predictions for MSM "fair and balanced" coverage in the weeks before the election:
"The mindset at ABC, where you and I used to be colleagues at, at the other big news organizations, it's just too focused on being more favorable to Nancy Pelosi, say, than Newt Gingrich, being more down on the Republicans' chances than perhaps is warranted..."
- ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin speaking to Bill O'Reilly
The Note: Pending: Six Days of November Surprises
Here is the full exchange between Halperin and O'Reilly:
Bill O'Reilly: "'Factor Followup' segment: Tonight a somewhat surprising ABC News Internet posting. It's entitled 'How the Liberal Old Media Plans to Cover the Last Two Weeks of the Election.' Article was written by Mark Halperin, the political director of ABC News, and also the co-author of a brand new book called The Way to win: Taking the White House in 2008. Mr. Halperin joins us now from New York. This is a very tough piece of analysis that you wrote. I'm surprised; I'm not stunned because you are a gutsy guy. You have done this before. But let's walk through it. Who is the liberal old media?"
Mark Halperin: "Well, Bill, as you know, in this country, we've got these old news organizations, the major networks, ABC, where you used to work, the New York Times, the Washington Post. These organizations have been around a long time, and for 40 years conservatives have looked with suspicion at them. I think we've got a chance in these last two weeks to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances, we're going to try to do better, but these organizations still have incredible sway, and conservatives are certain that we're going to be out to get them. We've got to fix that."
O'Reilly: "All right, so you're actually admitting, you, the political director of ABC News, that CBS News, maybe your own network, tilts left?"
Halperin: "We write in The Way to Win, John Harris and I, that over the years there are a lot of examples, what CBS News did in the 2004 election with the President's National Guard record, lot's of examples. If I were a conservative, I understand why I would feel suspicious that I was not going to get a fair break at the end of an election. We've got to make sure we do better so conservatives don't have to be concerned about that. It's just, it's not fair."
O'Reilly: "So you're the fairness police at ABC News? You're the fair police now?"
Halperin: "No, we should be impartial. We should use this last two weeks as an opportunity to help rebuild our reputation with half the country so conservatives can-"
O'Reilly: "Okay, I'm liking it. Now, what is the strategy of the old liberal networks, and you've defined them as CBS, maybe ABC, NBC, CNN, the major urban newspapers. What's the strategy?"
Halperin: "You know how this works, one of the things we wrote in 'The Note' is there are no strategy calls. We're not on the phone with Howard Dean and George Soros in the morning getting our marching orders, but the mindset at ABC, where you and I used to be colleagues at, at the other big news organizations, it's just too focused on being more favorable to Nancy Pelosi, say, than Newt Gingrich, being more down on the Republicans' chances than perhaps is warranted, singling out, you're seeing here a 60 Minutes piece about Nancy Pelosi. I don't remember Newt Gingrich getting a piece that favorable in 1994."
O'Reilly: "Do you think CBS is in the tank for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats?"
Halperin: "I think everybody in the old media better be watching pieces like that, reading profiles of Nancy Pelosi, and saying, 'Are we being fair to everybody involved in the American political process?' Even if you don't believe the argument, Bill, that we make, in The Way to Win, that there are some examples over the years that are pretty significant, of showing why conservatives are aggrieved, even if you're a liberal and you don't believe that, believe that half the country feels that way. And as an economic model, if you want to thrive like Fox News Channel, you want to have a future, you better make sure conservatives find your product appealing if you're going to do the right thing. You got to do it."
O'Reilly: "I think you're absolutely correct. I mean, all I want is fairness in the media. Now, your book is fascinating because it basically lays out a road map for success to whoever wants to be President. Give me the headline of the book."
Halperin: "The headline of the book is we interviewed Bill Clinton and Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. But Clinton and Rove, the chief strategists in American politics, what do they know about the way to win? They have a lot of theories in common. They admire each other and their skills, but they look at things differently in terms of policy. We also say, 'What does Hillary Clinton know? Why is she such a strong candidate?' Dick Cheney said today people better believe she can win. We explain what Hillary Clinton's political operation is like. It's more like Bush and Rove than it is like her husband's."
O'Reilly: "Yeah, I mean, she's more fluid and she's got tons of money."
Halperin: "It's more than that, Bill."
O'Reilly: "Yeah, what else?"
Halperin: "She just knows that Karl Rove and George Bush had five years of success by being organized, by coming to the new media, by giving the stiff arm to the old media, to some extent, and also by having a disciplined staff that works to try to improve her chances rather than fighting with each other. She's more Bush and Rove in many ways than she is Clinton. That's what makes her formidable."
Go to the Media Research Center for this and more analysis of bias in the TV media.