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Where Have I Heard This Before?

Last night, Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin, one of Washington’s key political reporters and a man whose even and likable demeanor suggests fairness and gravitas, had this to say on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show: “Those liberal commentators who say McCain has sold his soul to win this election have some truth to them…Lies are more central to the McCain campaign than to the Obama campaign.”

In 2004, Halperin was the political director of ABC News. Here is what he said in a memo to his staff in October 2004: “The current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done. Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win. We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn’t mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides ‘equally’ accountable when the facts don’t warrant that.”

Let me make a prediction. In 2012, Halperin — the newly installed political director of  The New York Bloomberg-Times — will, at some point after the conventions, claim that Sarah Palin is distorting the truth more than Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton. In 2020, as the newly minted political director of DrudgeGoogleKindle, he will claim that Bobby Jindal is distorting the truth more than Chelsea Clinton. And sometime after 2020, he will enter one of those newfangled time machines, travel back to 1896, get a job on The New York World as the first political director ever hired in American journalism, and write a memo to Joseph Pulitzer claiming that William McKinley is distorting the truth more than William Jennings Bryan.


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