MSNBC: Mark Halperin 'Suspended Indefinitely' for Calling Obama A '[Short for Richard]'

Via TV Newser, we learn that MSNBC has "suspended indefinitely" its senior political analyst Mark Halperin for stating on Morning Joe that President Obama was "kind of a [male appendage]." This is not exactly what the "No Labels" crowd at Morning Joe were expecting. The official MSNBC statement:

Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. 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.

 

Ed Schultz drew a week for calling Laura Ingraham a "slut" (on his radio show), but this could be the end of Halperin's tenure on MSNBC, much as the 2008 suspension of David Shuster for suggesting Hillary Clinton was "pimping out" daughter Chelsea marked his time there. In an attempt to keep a chance of returning to MSNBC, Halperin was confessional in his statement:

I completely agree with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate. Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it.

TV Newser reported that 17 minutes after he said it, Halperin apologized on MSNBC's air: “Joking aside, this is an absolute apology. I became part of the joke. It’s no excuse. I shouldn’t have said it. I apologize to the president and the viewers who heard me say that.”

Politico reports Joe Scarborough was also apologetic: “Certainly (host) Mika (Brzezinski) and I also apologize to viewers,” Scarborough said. “And we hear this all the time - parents come up and say, ‘Hey, by the way, we don’t just watch the show, our kids watch the show.’”

UPDATE: The Huffington Post added comment from Time officials, and from White House press secretary Jay Carney, who complained to MSNBC brass:

Time magazine, where Halperin is Editor-At-Large, issued a statement of its own, saying it had warned Halperin about the comments:

Mark Halperin’s comments on air this morning were inappropriate and in no way reflective of Time’s views. We have issued a warning to him that such behavior is unacceptable. Mark has appropriately apologized on air, via Twitter and on The Page.

The fracas even got a comment from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (himself a former top editor at Time).

"The comment that was made was inappropriate," he said on Thursday. "It would be inappropriate to say that about any president of any party, and I expressed that to executives at the network. I have no comment on whatever action that network, or any network, or any newspaper might take."

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Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis