- The Washington Times - Monday, May 11, 2015

This is a cautionary tale for the media — one that unfolded quickly, with an abrupt but satisfactory conclusion, apparently. Bloomberg News managing editor Mark Halperin  experienced significant pushback from a variety of sources following a controversial interview he conducted with Sen. Ted Cruz. The journalist asked the Texas Republican what appeared to be flippant but invasive details about his “Cuban” heritage and use of Spanish — oddly unrelated to political discourse. Outrage ensued among Republicans and neutral parties alike; multiple columns were written and tweets flew. One syndicated columnist called the exchange “nauseating.” The damning consensus: Critics felt that Mr. Halperin had conducted a “gotcha” interview and possibly implied Mr. Cruz is not an “authentic” Hispanic because he is not a Democrat.

Ah, but things change. On Monday, Mr. Halperin issued an explanation and an apology.

“We wanted to talk with Senator Cruz about his outreach to Latino voters the day after he spoke at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. My intent was to give the Senator a chance to speak further about his heritage and personal connections to the community through some casual questions. I rushed through the questions and that was a mistake — it led to poor tone and timing. I also understand why some felt the questions were inappropriate,” Mr. Halperin stated.

“As for asking Senator Cruz to welcome Senator Bernie Sanders to the race in Spanish, that was meant to be the type of light-hearted banter that he’s done with us before on the show. In no way was I asking Senator Cruz to ‘prove’ he was an ‘authentic’ Latino. I apologize to those that were offended, and to Senator Cruz. I promise that I will work to make the tone and questions better next time.”

AND MR. CRUZ‘S REPLY



It only took Sen. Ted Cruz a few minutes to reply to the aforementioned rationale. Here’s what he said, posted on his Facebook page about a half-hour after the statement surfaced:

Mark Halperin is a serious and fair-minded journalist. Today he kindly issued an apology for some silly questions he asked me in an interview. The apology was unnecessary — no offense was taken, nor, I believe, intended — but is certainly appreciated. I’m proud of my Cuban heritage, my father’s journey from oppression and prison in Cuba to freedom in America, and also my Irish-Italian heritage on my mother’s side. Both are integral parts of who I am today,” Mr. Cruz said.

“The 2016 Republican field is shaping up to be the most diverse in history, and I look forward to a robust and substantive conversation about how we work together to turn around our current stagnation and expand opportunity for everyone to achieve the American Dream.”

THE CARLY TOUCH

One Republican presidential hopeful continues to best her critics and rivals. That would be Carly Fiorina, who is in the habit of buying up the domain names of those who might block her political trajectory. In an age when social media and online presence have unprecedented impact, Ms. Fiorina is proving herself to be deft indeed.

“Heh. Carly Fiorina buys HillaryClinton.net. She’s also bought SethMeyers.org and ChuckTodd.org, after both men lambasted Fiorina for failing to register CarlyFiorina.org. They all redirect to CarlyforPresident.com. I like her. She fights,” summarizes Glenn Reynolds, the “InstaPundit” for PJ Media.

CONGRESS: WHO’S THE UBERCONSERVATIVE?

On Tuesday, we’ll know.

The American Conservative Union will reveal the most conservative members of Congress in a cordial awards ceremony in the U.S. Capitol itself. This is an annual event; the august organization has been rating lawmakers based on their voting records for the past 44 years.

Yes, there are awards, with all to be revealed late in the afternoon.

NSA HEADLINE OF INTEREST

“Illegal or not, voters are more supportive than ever of the NSA,” says a new Rasmussen Reports poll, which found that 44 percent of likely U.S. voters favor the federal agency’s practice of tracking phone calls and emails. Support for such data collection is up by 35 percent in the last six months, despite the fact that three fourths of the respondents acknowledge there’s a chance the surveillance programs have “inappropriately violated the privacy of innocent Americans.” Another 43 percent still oppose the practice, while 13 percent are unsure.

It’s complicated.

“Perhaps this rise in support for the NSA’s program is due in part to the fact that even more voters (62 percent) believe protecting the country from a possible terrorist attack is more important than protecting the privacy of most Americans. That’s up from 57 percent last November. Just 29 percent take the opposite view and believe protecting privacy is more important,” the survey states, also noting that six out of 10 respondents now think it’s possible to satisfy public concern about NSA surveillance and still keep track of the nation’s terrorist threats.

IVY-COVERED DISPARITY

Conservatives are essentially unwelcome on the annual college commencement speaker circuit, when politicians, the famous and infamous don a graduation robe, an interesting hat and make a speech. According to the Young America’s Foundation’s annual survey of speakers at the nation’s top 100 universities, liberal speakers more than dominated the field.

At the top 100 campuses, liberal speakers outnumber conservatives 6-to-1. Among the top 50, the ratio increases to nine liberals for every 1 conservative. And among the elite top 10 universities, there were no conservatives invited to speak whatsoever. Overall, 59 percent of all speakers on campuses this year are liberals, 10 percent conservatives, and the remaining 39 percent have unknown or neutral political affiliations.

On the program at the Ivy League schools: Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will address Harvard University; Vice President Joseph R. Biden will speak at Yale; and former EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson will be at Princeton.

A bias toward liberal speakers is an established trend, however: In 2014, the ratio was 5-to-1; in 2013, 4-to-1; and in 2012, 7-to-1, the survey reports.

There are a few rare exceptions, however. Former President George W. Bush will address Southern Methodist University, Fox News correspondent Brit Hume will be at Pepperdine University, Condoleezza Rice will address the College of William and Mary, and Mitt Romney will speak at Saint Anselm College.

“Higher education preaches inclusion and diversity, while largely excluding conservative leaders from campuses,” says Ron Robinson, president of Young America’s Foundation, an interest group for conservative college students.

POLL DU JOUR

57 percent of U.S. voters would vote for the presidential candidate “most effective at getting things done in Washington.”

35 percent would prefer to vote for a candidate whose views most matched their own.

50 percent say the Republican Party is best able to deal with foreign affairs; 4O percent cite the Democratic Party.

49 percent say the Republican Party is best able to deal with the economy; 44 percent cite the Democratic Party.

47 percent say Republicans are best able to deal with taxes; 44 percent cite Democrats.

42 percent say Republicans are best able to deal with job creation; 49 percent cite Democrats.

39 percent say Republicans are best able to deal with health care; 52 percent cite Democrats.

Source: A George Washington University Battleground Poll of 1,000 registered U.S. voters conducted May 3-6.

Cautionary tales, chitchat to [email protected]; follow her @HarperBulletin.

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