MSNBC's senior political analyst Mark Halperin was suspended early on Thursday morning after he called U.S. President Barack Obama kind of a d*** on the network's Morning Joe show but did MSNBC do the right thing in suspending Haplerin indefinitely?
Halperin called Obama kind of a d*** only after being assured by co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that his comments would not be aired and there would be seven second delay.
When Halperin was asked to comment on Obama's behavior as the president addressed a press conference on Wednesday, he said he wanted to characterize how I thought the president behaved. and asked whether they are on the seven second delay?
Cohost Mika Brzezinski spoke to Alex, the producer off camera, whether they can use the seven second delay and both he and cohost Joe Scarborough egged Halperin on:
Scarborough: Yeah, sure, come on, take a chance. Have faith
Brzezinski: Go for it, yeah, let's see what happens
Scarborough: I’m behind you, you fall down, I catch you. Trust me
Brzezinski: And the precedent has been set on this show, so we’re good
Encouraged and assured that his comments will be on a seven second delay, Halperin burst out: I thought he was kind of a [expletive] yesterday.
Then all hell broke loose.
Scarborough: Oh my God! Delay that. Delay that. What are you doing? I can’t believe you - I was joking! Don’t do that. Did we delay that?
A producer off camera (Alex?): I hit it, I hope it worked
Scarborough sounds nervous and a shocked Brzezinski doubles over laughing.
Later Halperin goes on air to apologize for his remark and Scarborough and Brzezinki explain their action:
Scarborough: We didn’t think it was going to go on the air, it was said by you (Halperin) in jest
Brzezinski: We goaded you (Halperin) into saying it, and then we didn’t think you were going to say it, and we were kind of shocked, and then we laughed because we did not think it was on the air
Halperin: This is not a pro forma apology. This is an absolute apology, heartfelt, to the president and to the viewers. I became part of the joke, but that's no excuse. I made a mistake, and I'm sorry and I shouldn't have said it
Later MSNBC issued a statement, apologizing to Obama, the White House and the U.S. government for the inappropriate and unacceptable comment.
We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst, MSNBC said.
Halperin said he will abide by MSNBC's decision and has offered a written apology to the US President.
My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it, Halperin said. The analyst, who is also the editor at large for Time magazine, also tweeted: I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President and the viewers of Morning Joe. My remark was not funny.
The comment that was made was inappropriate, White House spokesman Jay Carney later said. It would be inappropriate to say about a president of either party.
Did MSNBC do right in indefinitely suspending Halperin?
Though Halperin's remark was crude, it did warrant an indefinite suspension?
True, Halperin sort of overstepped the line in calling Obama kind of a d*** but it wasn't for any personal reason. Halperin wanted to make a statement. He wanted to express how Obama had gone over the top by aggressively calling out the GOP for refusing to allow any revenues in a debt ceiling deal.
A punishment of some kind is definitely warranted, maybe a three-day suspension, maybe a week-long suspension. But an indeifnite suspension? isn't that stretching things too far especially when we've all heard worse cuss words and expletives on the media on a regular basis?
Do you think MSNBC did the right thing? Leave your comments below.
Watch the video below and see how it all exploded: