MSNBC contributor suspended over crass quip
June 30th, 2011
11:11 AM ET
11 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. Roscoe

    How do these guys develop the opinion that what they think matters? I don't think anyone, other his family, would care if Halperin was eaten alive at a Tea Party rally. Don't suspend him, can him. There are 10000 people for every one of these do nothing jobs. Get someone with a little class to replace him.

    June 30, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. David

    I actually don't see the big deal. Besides how many people are watching MSNBC? 12 maybe 13 tops. If it had been said on Fox then a lot more folks would have heard it.

    June 30, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. The Elephant in The Room

    Beyond the emotion, I ask that all thinking people (independent voters & moderate republicans) examine this.

    ALL THE president did was call on Congress to do was

    1) pass pending legislation in Congress to create jobs -and-

    2) stop playing a game of "chicken" with the nation`s credit rating.

    For this, opponents believe they are justified in calling him names. Names that are ment to suggest he is being unreasonable or too tough on them.

    Do you see the psycosis in these people? Do you see what Barack Obama faces with dignity everyday of his life?

    Congress has been out of session 8 WEEKS in 2011 alone. I`m sure some Obama hater will say the President "plays golf". The only problem with this attempt to sully him is that Obama has taken HALF as much personal time in his 1st 2.5 years as President 43 took in his 1st 2.5 years.

    America, you need to reject the rightwing`s never ending attempts to impune and obstruct a good man doing a good job under impossible conditions.

    June 30, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. S.D. Humphries

    There are good democrats and good republicans serving. There are also bad from each group serving. However, you would never know of this equality while watching MSNBC. Watching Chris Matthew's program, for instance, is much like visiting the psychiatric ward at the local hospital. He and his guests get so caught up in democrat bashing I expect to see drool. Seriously, as a person looking for facts from both sides of any issue in order to make an informed decision, MSNBC is not the network to watch. CNN is as close to real news as we can get and still, there is room for improvement.

    June 30, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. janice pinkard

    I was watching the show this morning and when I heard those words come out of Halperins' mouth, I was shocked. He's always been cirtical of the President but this remark just went too far.

    June 30, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. John K

    Was the decision made to suspend done with or without first consulting the White House?

    June 30, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. allamr18

    this is just another blip on the radar of ridiculous things said by pundits and legislators. joe wilsons you lie, sentor grassley's pull the plug on grandma, sarah palins palling around with terrorists, michelle bachmanns anti american views, the list goes on and on and on. until republicans are called out and media personnel who constantly allow false talking points to go unchallenged and no longer allow people like ralph reed on their programs all of this is a two day story. paul ryan will still be allowed to go on tv and say democrats are just being mean, chris christie will still be a jerk, and people will still come on and say that muslims want to inact sharia and hispanics are taking all the jobs. they are liars and the media does nothing to stop it but suspend someone for a few days. that is why our govt sucks. they are only held accountable when they are cheating on spouses.

    June 30, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. obama victim

    suspended for speaking the truth?? oh myyyy

    June 30, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. C. Howe Yulikit

    I'm certain Obama cares not one whit for what this tool has to say. Halperin is just like the rest of the thin skinned conservatives (and yes he is a conservative, so is Scarborough). Obama told Congress to stop acting like babies and do their work, and they whine and cry. Halperin will be working at Fox in 3 months. Just watch.

    June 30, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    Yup, you can always tell when the 2012 presidential election is starting up in earnest, the verbal attacks get personal. Not surprised to see the Palin foot in the mouth disease spreading from candidates like Bachmann to media political analysts. Expect more political analysts and talk show hosts to catch it. Looking forward to the verbal battle royal match between Palin and Bachmann. It should liven up the dull GOP/Tea Party presidential debates.

    June 30, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. gt

    msmbc has problems with there foul mouth s..oberman , ed and now this clown...cnn has more class..

    June 30, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    People need to understand that this remark came about as a result of them going off script. As much as the show appears to be an open impromptu atmosphere of political discussion, it is in fact not. I regard at as an attempt by MSNBC to project a "fair and balanced" image of its' own as Joe blasts Obama on most everything while regulars such as Mark agree or offer mild protests.

    I also find many of Joe's remarks tend to be misleading on occasion if not outright spinning to the right. Remember, they follow a script and it is Joe's show. Soon to be Willie's, though.

    June 30, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. joe j

    He didn't mean "dork" he meant socialist fool

    June 30, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Davis

    What happen to free speech

    June 30, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. jimmy

    What happened to Freedom of Speech. I am sure there are a LOT of worse things to call the WORST leader of our country we have ever had! Go Figure! Stick to the issues and leave the press to report it!

    June 30, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. NotAFanofHalperin

    MSNBC should have never hired Mark Halperin in the first place just as Michael Steele should have NOT been hired, .but that is another subject. What was he thinking?
    Am a big fan of MSNBC, and am very pleased they took this stance on letting him go. Halperin should have really been fired, though!

    June 30, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Ra

    Can we disagree on issues without name calling please.

    June 30, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    You have to admit, the "Presidential Press Conference" was in actuality a campaign stop. There was more politicking than Presidenting going on.

    June 30, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Charlie in Maine

    Bring back Oberman at least when he uses in appropriate language he is usually right.

    June 30, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    I guess we'll ALL know in November 2012 which of these people we the people want to listen to. If they can't stand the heat .................

    I'm sick of spin, lies, hate, disrespect, etc. And my vote will reflect just that.

    June 30, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. deandake

    I like it. MSNBC is moving toward and sticking to the higher ground when it comes to reporting and opinion/talk shows. We need more of this on TV news.

    June 30, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    "It's transparently evident that Republicans don't respect the office of the President, nor our country, not her people. All they care about is money and power – and show time and time again that they have no class, no integrity and no shame in their pursuit of regaining control of our country."
    Oh, they respect the office, allright. Look at the pedestals they put former Republican presidents upon. They just do not have any respect for the man currently holding the office.

    Republicans have so much dislike that they do not realize just how much scorn and disdain comes across through their remarks. Sadly, that hate is resonates with roughly 20% of the people in this country. Hate.

    June 30, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    I've never voted straight party ticket in my 68 years, but this time I may just pull that [D] lever - the [r] politicians and pundits have made me physically ill with their innuendos, lies, hate, and spin. It's disgusting.

    June 30, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. Whats the Big Problem

    Its amazing to me the number of people responding to this that don't have a clue about how slanted the media is. And the people who feel it is slanted for the republicans aren't living in reality. We have a president now that only knows how to belittle others and then ask for civility. I don't want to work to succeed if this president is going to continue trying to share my paycheck with those who don't work I don't like msnbc or cnn much anymore because the objectivity of the news has died. All of the major news organizations today are nothing more than mouthpieces for this administration So a reporter called the president a name, many other reporters have called republicans much worse with no repurcussions. The American citizens deserve much better news reporting. We need objectivity back and get rid of the bias. Please report the facts not the gossip. Be fair and respectful and report ONLY the facts not what your told in a release from the White house

    June 30, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. DavidP

    @Davis Free speech is alive and well, and he's allowed to do that any time he feels like on his own time.. I'm sure you can't walk up to your boss (yes, I know Obama isn't his boss) and call him a dick (unless of course that's his name) and not expect something to happen just because of "free speech."

    June 30, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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