The wages of sexual harassment

A fascinating video has come to light that crystallizes the power dynamics underlying sexual harassment in the media, not just Hollywood.  Call it a pundit power exercise, or just call it crime and punishment.

Yesterday, Mark Halperin joined the ranks of those accused of sexual harassment, as five women who worked with him at ABC News, backed up by others who knew of the ongoing situation, spoke to CNN, which elicited this acknowledgment and apology.

"During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me," Halperin said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night. "I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I'm going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation."

The contrast behind Halperin's media persona and the behind-the-scenes behavior is startling, but then again, he's not the first media nice guy to turn out to be a sexual bully.  Bill Cosby was a lot more lovable and is accused of far worse.

After the news about Halperin hit, Emily Miller, who formerly worked with Halperin at ABC News, and now is an in-air personality at One America News Network (OANN), used the #MeToo hashtag:


— Emily Miller (@EmilyMiller) October 26, 2017

...and a few minutes later called attention to her appearance with Halperin:

Go back and watch the episode I was on of Morning Joe. This will explain why so many of you asked why he attacked me on live TV

— Emily Miller (@EmilyMiller) October 26, 2017

The segment is embedded below and bears watching.

Caleb Ecarma of Mediaite calls Halperin's performance "hyper-mansplaining," but I'd call it punishment.

In the video, Halperin trolls Miller by aggressively playing devil's advocate. Basically, he tries to corner Miller into defending the civilian use of machine guns and missile launchers – a policy that almost no pro-Second Amendment advocates support. Halperin does so by cutting Miller off and raising his voice over her's [sic] every time she attempts to explain her actual position on the issue.

One might even describe the exchange as hyper-mansplaining.

The segment brings home to me that power as much as sex is the nature of the exercise.

Halperin is certainly not showing logic or a sound argument.  He is harassing via a fatuous argument.

Because he can.

I am always drawn to the eyes.

HALPERIN: "Should people be allowed to own bazookas?"
MILLER: "I don't even know what a bazooka is."
HALPERIN: "Should any weapons be outlawed for private use in the United States?"
MILLER: "Well, we already do under the 1934 Firearms Act."
HALPERIN: "So those should be outlawed?"
MILLER: "We shouldn't change the laws, no." 
HALPERIN: "Why shouldn't I be able to own those weapons that are currently outlawed?"
MILLER: "Why not? Because they've been outlawed since 1934."
HALPERIN: "I know, but why draw the line at those? Why are those outlawed?"
MILLER: "Because those are weapons of war. They are automatic machine guns." 
HALPERIN: "So what? If I think that's the best way to defend myself —"
MILLER: "We as a society decided in 1934 – I don't think anyone – no one anywhere is arguing to readjust that."
HALPERIN: "Why not?" 
MILLER: "Well, you can argue that, but no one else is with you on that."
HALPERIN: "Where do you draw the line between a weapon that you say is a weapon of war —"
MILLER: "Semi-automatic versus automatic."
HALPERIN: "Because? Because why? Why is that meaningful to you? If I think the best way to defend my family with an automatic weapon —"
MILLER: "Nobody is saying that. That's a hypothetical no one is saying. "
HALPERIN: "I'm saying it. I'm saying I think that's the best way to defend my family."
MILLER: "Do you honestly – do you, Mark Halperin, honestly want to own an automatic weapon?"
HALPERIN: "If I think that's the best way to —"
MILLER: "No, not if. Do you honestly want to?"
HALPERIN: "I think it's the best way to defend my family. Maximum fire power."
MILLER: "Well, then you can apply to the ATF and they will do a background check on you —"