Mark Halperin's Book Deal Meets Withering Media Barrage

  • by August 20, 2019
Regan Arts triggered an angry backlash after a news report said the publisher signed a book deal with disgraced political journalist Mark Halperin.

Two years ago, NBC News and MSNBC fired the co-author of the best-seller “Game Change” among multiple accusations of sexual misconduct.

Regan was set to announce that Halperin’s next book, “How to Beat Trump: America’s Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take,” will be published in November, Politico reported.

Angry reactions were swift, including denunciations from women journalists who had accused Halperin of sexual harassment.

“This is so appalling and upsetting,” Emily Miller, a journalist and author who said Halperin harassed her when he was her supervisor at ABC News, told the New York Post. “Men like him don’t change. He spent decades using his position of power in the media to sexually assault women.”



Press Forward, an organization founded by women who said they were sexually harassed or mistreated by powerful men in TV, condemned the book.

"Press Forward is disappointed in Regan Arts' decision to publish and promote a book by Mark Halperin, who has been credibly accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, harassment and assault," the organization said in a statement on Twitter.

It also said the media loses credibility by giving a free pass to journalists who commit the same crimes they report on.

Halperin’s sources for the book include Democratic luminaries like Donna Brazile, James Carville, David Axelrod, Kathleen Sebelius, Bob Shrum and Mark Mellman.

Axelrod expressed regret for participating in the book, saying he had responded to an email from Halperin that asked three questions about the 2020 race.

“ I replied in a few sentences, without giving enough thought to how my participation would be used or interpreted," Axelrod said in a tweet. "By answering Halperin's questions, I did not in any way mean to excuse his past, egregious behavior and, in retrospect, I regret responding at all.”

Regan Arts, which was founded by publishing impresario Judith Regan, didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment.

“I do not in any way, shape, or form condone any harm done by one human being to another,” she said in a statement to Politico. “I have also lived long enough to believe in the power of forgiveness, second chances, and offering a human being a path to redemption. ‘How to Beat Trump’ is an important, thoughtful book, and I hope everyone has a chance to read it.”

It’s disappointing that the publisher would sacrifice principles of lawfulness and human decency for the sake of making a quick buck.

Make no mistake. Regan Arts isn’t putting its imprint on the book because it aspires to some moral high ground. Working with Halperin undermines any claim to ethical superiority, and represents a woeful regression to journalism’s sordid past of mistreating women.

If Regan Arts is so hell-bent on defeating Trump, the publisher needs to find an author whose authority isn’t so easily dismissible.

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