Marcus Recycles the Halperin Memo

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. -- memo from Mark Halperin, then the ABC News Political Director, to his staff, October 8, 2004.

All campaigns fall short, but some fall far shorter than others. And it is a phony evenhandedness, comfortable for journalists but ultimately misleading, that equates these failures without measuring the grossness of their deviation from the standard of decency. In the 2008 race, and especially in the past few weeks, the imbalance has become unnervingly stark. Ideological differences aside, John McCain's campaign has been more dishonest, more unfair, more -- to use a word that resonates with McCain -- dishonorable than Barack Obama's.  -- Ruth Marcus, WaPo, 9-17-08.
Looks like it's becoming a presidential campaign tradition for the MSM.  Just as the race is heating up, a prominent MSMer steps up and warns fellow media members not to be so darn even-handed!  The Republicans are being meaner than the Democrats, and we need to come out swinging against them!

Compare and contrast the excerpt above from Mark Halperin's famous memo to his troops back during the 2004 presidential campaign with the lines from WaPo columnist Ruth Marcus' piece of this morning.  

Halperin: "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."

Marcus: "It is a phony evenhandedness, comfortable for journalists but ultimately misleading, that equates these failures without measuring the grossness of their deviation from the standard of decency."

Eerie similarity, no?  Was Marcus consciously channeling Halperin when she wrote those words? Let's save the MSM some effort and pre-write a news flash from the 2012 presidential race.
Yes, both Vice-President Palin and Senator Clinton have been taking some tough shots at each other in this contest.   But there's a key difference: the Senator has truth on her side, whereas the VP's claims are nothing but smears and distortions. Let's make sure our viewers learn this from us! -- Memo from NBC President Keith Olbermann to his staff, October 2, 2012.
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.