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. Juan Carlos de Burbon

    So much for expressing your opinion.

    June 30, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  2. A weary Independent

    Why don't you just fire him? That would send a message that such disrespect for the President will not be tolerated by your organization.

    June 30, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. Kyle H. Davis

    I support the guy... not his comment. – "Morning Joe", after all, is a political talk show. This is almost as bad as CNN having Jack Cafferty apologize to the Chinese for calling their government a bunch of "goons and thugs" on a political talk show. – If you cannot give your opinion (negative or not), what is the point of a political talk show held by the supposed "free press"? – They do have the ability to censor prohibited words, but I honestly don't think he was fired for the word, as much as he was fired for how he used it. – Would he have been fired if he had said it about Gaddafi or Hitler? (Not that I am comparing them to Obama).

    This is going to be the downfall of the US... oversensitivity and extreme political correctness – It is weakening the resolve of the people and turning them into mush.

    June 30, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. Speaker 07

    Since President Obama took office it has become very apparent that some people are inclined to refer to him in very disrepectful ways. Political cartoonists, politicians at all levels of government, journalists and ordinary people think nothing of showing disrespect for him personally and the office his occupies. No doubt, Americans have become a nation of less than gracious and respectful people. Just go in a restaurant or visit an office and you will see men continuing to wear their caps or hats and/or fail to open a door for a female or elderly person. Women may sometime wear clothing that is not appropriate for the location they visit. None of us dare speak a word to them about their behavior or appearance lest we become the object of their scorn and obscenities, etc. When will we become civil again????

    June 30, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Mariee

    How unprofessional is that, but I hear a lot worse at Fox news, and on the radio calling our president racist, when it is them that are racist. Never the less it is wrong to call him that on the air and hope to never see that guy again.

    June 30, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  6. Alonzo Rice

    You know this would have never happened if Bush was president. Seems to me that the office has lost it's position being that it is occupied by Obama. I never liked Bush or his policies, but I gave him the respect that the office of President of the United States demands. The republican party is responsible for this show of disrespect. I wonder when people are going to wake up and see that there is a agenda here and the American People are the collateral damage! If calling out the congress and telling them to do their job is being a dick, what part of the anatomy should we call the republican party for selling out the American People for the super rich??????

    June 30, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Jack

    Responsibility means accepting the consequences for our action.

    More important just because we can use inappropriate language on the airwaves does not mean we should!

    And some of you commenting should remember that!

    It my generation that complained "It's my right" forgetting to accept that there are a lot more responsibilities to each of the "rights" were given by our founding fathers!

    June 30, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  8. Jim Loomis

    Listen ... all of you ... left, right or center: There is no possible excuse for calling the president of the United States something like that on the air. OUR president - whether Bush or Clinton or Obama or Reagan - is entitled to respect because he is the elected head of OUR nation. Anyone who condones that kind of language directed at this country's president doesn't give a damn about this country.

    June 30, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  9. GaryB

    MSNBC suspended Ed Schultz for making a similar comment about Republican Laura Ingraham (on his radio show), so it's good to see that at least one news network is actually trying to be fair and balanced in the discipline department (you know, as opposed to having that just be a meaningless tagline).

    June 30, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    His only crime being stating the blatantly obvious.

    June 30, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. Pepe in Virginia

    Don't fire the guy for being honest. Obama ran up the debt anyway with bailouts for corporations, Obamacare, and starting a new war. He had hold of the country's checkbook and when it's ready to bounce, he blames Congress. He also said to get use to high gas prices. Mark was right, he shouldn't have said he was sorry.

    June 30, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  12. NoMore

    Why is it the news outlets what free speech for themselves but they censor everyone with a different opinion? I know as an employee of MSNBC and he needs to toe the company line.

    June 30, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  13. Jason B.

    Yes, it was inappropriate and I agree with the suspension. But I do like that he admits to it and doesn't try the ol' "out of context" or "you misunderstood" type of excuses. Nor does he try to weasel out of his punishment or call it "too harsh". He owns up to it and for that, he gains my respect.

    June 30, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. Jimmy B

    It's amazing that so many people have such hate. Who bankrupted this country a few months ago! Don't so ignorant and foolish. When are you going to realize that we cannot go back to Ragan's Vodoo economics, it simply will not work. Secondly, stop calling our president so many names. The harder you try to hold him back the further we get behind.

    June 30, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  15. Henrita

    I totally agee with the comments about Joe. He speaks with "forked tongue". He likes to say that he is fair and is critical of both sides when necessary, but at every opportunity he bashes the president. This was so evident after Labor Day to November 2010. It was ridiculous. He doesn't fool anyone who sees through the facade. His bias needs to be challenged. I was surprised at Halperin. He seemed pretty balanced. Now I see where he really stands.

    June 30, 2011 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  16. Jimmy B

    Who bankrupted this country! It was not our president!!!!!! I ask you!!!!! Who did it!!! Come on, don't be such a coward. Who did it???????

    June 30, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  17. David

    This discourse has turned into an ugly, "Nationalistic" debate, rather than analyzing why he was suspended. Nothing is more american than questioning authority and the ability to speak freely on an op-ed tv program about Power. Silencing objective thought rings too closely to 1940 rhetoric and only perpetuates an already fractured network.

    June 30, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. Oldie in TampaBay

    FIRE HIM! Is there NO respect at all any more? We might not agree with what people say and/or do but to call the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES such a name is UNexcusable. FIRE HIM! NOW!

    June 30, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  19. Liberal

    He clearly was led to believe that what he would say would be edited out. They pushed over and over to just say it and when he finally did they couldn't believe it. If anything the host should be disciplined for egging him on.

    June 30, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. ronin48

    so much for "I may disagree with your views, but I will fight to the death to protect your right to express them." Liberals believe in diversity - except for those who disagree with them. The most interesting part of the article is the comment that the White House felt the comments were "inappropriate" - "and expressed that sentiment to executives at the network." Sounds like the executives at the network got the message loud and clear; looks like the White House attacks on Fox News have had the intended chilling effect on the rest of the press not to step out of line and criticize Barry.

    June 30, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. Abstract

    the more and more I look at our political system in America the more I see a system that doesn't work. I see a good, thinking man in President Obama and he is surrounded by snakes who would rather cut his throat then help the American people (the very people they claim to serve).

    We need a new rule in our political system and that rule is if you plan on running for president then you must first resign your seat as Senator or House member. Too much politicking and not enough work getting done. We also need a third party...most people my age that I know 25 – 40 are either independents or don't affiliate with either party. Besides how do you know how you will vote on an issue even before you weigh all the evidence?

    June 30, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  22. trex

    Most gop types have forgotten what it is, and what it is used for.

    June 30, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  23. Arnold stang

    Halpern is an interesting guy but he has poor judgement. Keep him in print where he has time to think and where he can be screened by an editor.

    June 30, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  24. Indiana Voter

    For those who asked: of course I realize it was on a "conservative" show. I was expressing shock that the liberal station had the guts to suspend someone who bad mouthed Obama, and that if it were against a Republican and not Obama, they would most likely have said it was no big deal.

    June 30, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  25. Patty - Illinois

    This jerk should be FIRED. All too frequently, I receive slurring emails and outlandish lies regarding the POTUS. I recognize that not everyone likes our President because of all of the problems our country faces and some unrealistic people want instant solutions. They conveniently forget the mess that our country was in when President Obama took office; and they blame him for everything. The Republicans' main goal is to create any problem for the President that will make him look weak and to try to make him fail. The Republicans lack any good intentions regarding the citizens of the US. ... only their own selfish goals. The lack of civility towards President Obama is truly disgusting. Shame on all of these slur mongers and I just hope that soon they will get what they deserve for their nastiness – which is basically just racial bias and jeasousy of someone who makes them look like dummies. No, I'm not black.

    June 30, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
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