In a trip to Washington last week, Bloomberg huddled with employees of the D.C. bureau for a wide-ranging discussion. Asked about “WADR,” Bloomberg suggested that the two hosts would likely go off on a book-writing project after the inauguration. He also riffed that the program provides more entertainment and gossipy content than hard news. Oh, and he referred to Halperin and Heilemann as “Haldeman and Erhlichman,” famous Nixon White House operatives H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and John Ehrlichman who were convicted for Watergate-related offenses.
Bloomberg’s apology brings him into compliance with the official statement about the matter: “With All Due Respect is a valuable part of our lineup. We’re very pleased with the show’s performance and the great work that Mark and John are doing throughout this election,” noted the company last week. The show is rebroadcast daily on MSNBC at 6 p.m.
This afternoon, Bloomberg himself put the matter into an email. “I am sorry that I said something that was perceived as disparaging,” he wrote to colleagues. That was a reference to the “Haldeman-Ehrichman” matter — a crack that the boss referred to as a “jocular comparison to Nixon-era political operatives who had a reputation for being tough and edgy.” Sounding every bit like a chief executive who spreads blame with great efficiency, Bloomberg wrote, “In retrospect I should have expected someone to take it out of the lighthearted spirit in which it was meant.”
Intentions notwithstanding, Haldeman and Ehrlichman were convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice, not exactly ideal traits for journalists.
More: Bloomberg wrote that he’s a “devotee” of “WADR” and watches all the time from his desk. Halperin and Heilemann, he said, are “talented, take-no-prisoners, hard-hitting, honest journalists who call things as they see them.” As for the future of “WADR” and other Bloomberg Politics coverage, those matters will be determined after the 2016 election.