“Like firefighters who run into a fire, journalists run toward a story,” MSNBC’s Katy Tur told us. Well, unless it’s a story that reflects badly on their profession or their politics. Then they keep it quiet. As with Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood, sexual assault and harassment by journalists can be an “open secret,” but that just means it’s a secret from the rest of us, one they know, but don’t tell.
And Hollywood isn’t about telling the truth anyway. It’s about peddling fiction. There’s nobody in Hollywood — most emphatically including the “entertainment press” — who’s there to tell you the truth.
But, just like Hollywood, the Washington press corps has its own “open secrets.” One of them, according to numerous recent reports, was that journalist Mark Halperin was a serial sexual harasser/assaulter. Halperin was political director at ABC News for many years until he left in and later joined Tur’s own network, NBC.
Okay, maybe, despite the “first responder” puffery, the truth is that journalists, like most of us, are ordinary people, not heroes. For ABC people, exposing Halperin while he worked at ABC, where he was important (though nothing like as powerful or intimidating a figure as Harvey Weinstein), might have hurt people’s careers. But what about when he left? Couldn’t they talk then?
And what about other media organizations? As Andrew Kirell and Asawaen Suebsaeng reported in The Daily Beast, it seems that everyone knew: “According to numerous sources at NBC, MSNBC, ABC, and Bloomberg — who previously spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely — the private allegations of Halperin’s sexual misconduct were an open secret, particularly in New York City and D.C. political media, for many years ... ‘Everybody knew [about Mark],’ one prominent cable-news host told The Daily Beast. ‘I’d been warning young women reporters about Mark for a long time.’”
Well, not everyone knew. The public didn’t know. The viewers who saw him opine — often from a position of moral superiority — on Morning Joe and other talking-head shows didn’t know. The “open secret” was open to the insiders, but secret to the public