MSNBC contributor suspended over crass quip
June 30th, 2011
11:11 AM ET
3 years ago

MSNBC contributor suspended over crass quip

(CNN) - MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin was suspended indefinitely Thursday from the cable network after calling President Obama a "d**k."

"Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable," read a statement from MSNBC. "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."

Halperin, an editor at TIME magazine, said "I thought he [Obama] was a d**k yesterday," on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," referring to the president's Wednesday press conference. The comment came after he asked host Joe Scarborough if there was a delay on the program to allow words to be bleeped.

Halperin later apologized in the broadcast and in a 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," Halperin said in the statement. "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."

White House spokesman Jay Carney called the remark "inappropriate" and said he had "expressed that sentiment to executives at the network."

TIME magazine is owned by Time Warner, which is also the parent company of CNN.


Filed under: MSNBC
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. jean wilson

    The problem with these people, so called analyst, is that they feel free to call the President anything they wish and get away with it . They have no respect for the office of the President ,as he is half black. What happened to the respect due to the office. When the former President Bush was running the country into a recession no one called him any names. They could not use the word recession without being called Un-American.. How hypocritical! One thing they must remember, we will not forget what you are doing and saying about OUR President.

    June 30, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  2. OFF AIR

    Freedom of speech is DEAD!!! ...Speak your MIND lose your JOB!!!

    June 30, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  3. Ez2Say

    The real news here is all these break-out news outlets are owned by the same parent company. Our so-called news is packaged, wrapped, delivered and we buy it.

    June 30, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  4. Leslie

    Someone on MSNBC said something negative about President Obama? How did this happen? Obviously they aren't screening their people well enough.

    June 30, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  5. sophiejane

    Saw this live - and it was apparent that Halperin's comment was a preplanned "joke" with Scarborough in on it, the whole discussion about whether there would be a 7 second delay or not. The "d" word was tasteless and juvenile, regardless of who it was used against. I think Scarborough should join Halperin in being suspended because it was obviously planned by the two of them in an immature effort to shock. I like "Morning Joe" but this little episode was childish, not professional commentary. Joe, Mark, and a few other of his standing "panel" need to grow up and cut out the high school boy hijinks.

    July 1, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  6. dude123

    Innapropriate comment, rightfully punished, but the comments on here about him being a republican are woefully misinformed. This was the same guy that got caught conspiring while with ABC to bring down GWB during the 2000 campaign by finding "any dirt they could". He's a liberal to the bone that just called it like he saw it, unfortunately for him, he did it in true liberal tasteless fashion, and that is a no-no unless referring to rebublicans.

    July 1, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  7. dude123

    Innapropriate comment, rightfully punished, but the comments on here about him being a republican are woefully misinformed. This was the same guy that got caught conspiring while with ABC to bring down GWB during the 2000 campaign by finding "any dirt they could". Typical liberal class, just shocking to see it directed at one of their own.

    July 1, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  8. Lewy

    Mark Halperin: The name says it all.

    July 1, 2011 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  9. John Schwendler

    So, what's the problem? We the people have been asking the media for decades for honesty and fair balance in reporting the news. When we get it, the deliverer gets punished. I don't see a problem here at all.

    July 1, 2011 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  10. suzique

    Oh my goodness, by all means suspend the guy. For anyone to speak against the holy one, the almighty, the savior, the one show sends shivers down the spine... it is blasphemous.

    July 1, 2011 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  11. figure it out

    I am amazed at how many people don't know what freedom of speech means. It does not mean you can go on TV and say anything you want without any repercussions. MSNBC is a corporation and their employees are expected to abide by their corporate code of conduct. Freedom of speech means that the government cannot restrict your right to speak your mind, which is not what is happening here.
    Cheryl Garrett, I'll bet you thought things were just great in this country until Obama took office didn't you? Maybe you should try looking in the mirror.

    July 1, 2011 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  12. alex in wisconsim

    I guess the right wingers don't realize that MSNBC isn't being partisan, they also suspended Ed Shultz for what he said on the radio so chill.

    July 1, 2011 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  13. Sanandra

    What the devil is wrong with people anymore? Can we not disagree but still remain civil to others? Do people not have any class anymore? I don't care that we "hear it all the time on TV & the movies".... inappropriate language just reflects back on the quality of the person speaking. You can argue it's "free speech" all you want, but classless vulgar comments really have no appropriate place in public.

    July 1, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  14. JHaas

    Now he's going to be excommunicated from the church of Liberalism.

    July 1, 2011 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  15. Furunculus

    He should have called him a Wiener instead. hur hur hur

    July 1, 2011 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  16. studdmuffins

    Had this been a comment about President Bush it would have been; 1) played repeatedly for weeks, 2) lauded as some sort of journalistic intuition, and 3) used as the basis for this guy's new morning talk show.

    July 1, 2011 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  17. dallas007

    LOL, so the president is thinking for himself and not doing what the left wingers and right winger want him to do, mmmmmm, this must mean he is doing some good things in office, ha! Lets re-elect this guy so these left wing nuts and right wing nuts can go nuts, lol

    July 1, 2011 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  18. Walter Huntley Brinkley

    Jon Stewart calls political figures bad names all the time. There's not much difference between Morning Joe and The Daily Show, except that the latter is funnier. It's just infotainment designed to titillate and provoke. Serious TV journalism is dead.

    July 1, 2011 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  19. Chewy

    Thank you Mark Halperin for expressing what so many of us would love to shout from the airwaves. You have just become my favorite member of the media, by calling out the biggest member to ever take office. You should keep your job and you have my support. I only hope Obama loses his in 2012.

    July 1, 2011 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  20. JRF

    This guy should be fired. No way would something like this be allowed in the Bush years, Halperin would be charged with being anti american. This is a total disrespect for the President and America. Further, this reporter has no sense, uses poor judgement and seems like he's in tight with the Republicans – it defintely seems like a campaign smear. Wonder if he is accepting any money, personal favors or perhaps promised a position if the Republicans come into power. No matter who's side he's on, the statement is unacceptable and the guy needs to be fired. No other country would allow this; not Canada, Britain, Australia, any country in Europe, certainly no country in the Middle East.

    July 1, 2011 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  21. Tom

    The larger issue is the loss of civility. I am a white male, and it is rather obvious to me that some of this loss is attributed to racism! Let's face it, when Gore lost, you didn't see this kind a vile behaviour, like we have seen since Obama was elected. It was the Tea Party, with their racist signs. It was the GOP, swearing openly during the State of the Union address. Truthfully, I am putting the blame squarely on the GOP/Tea Party as the initiators of this disrepsect for the Oval Office, this disgusting behavior and for continuing to act like spoiled brats who've had their toy taken away! Very disgusting!!! Beyond any policy, our founding father's would be sickened by this childish behaviour!

    July 1, 2011 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  22. Cole

    Why hasn't he been fired??? He represents the bias and hypocrisy that is running unchecked.

    July 1, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  23. Eli

    Why dismiss the guy over stating his opinion, is the first amendment gone..........oh wait, it's MSNBC, they don't believe in the constitution. Besides, it's the first time in years that the truth has been spoken on that station. Kudos to you sir for having the guts to state the obvious.

    July 1, 2011 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  24. Quart

    I understand the decision to fire him but I don't agree with it. As a pundit he's allowed to have an opinion. as an American he's allowed to voice it.

    July 1, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
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