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. inofritzn

    So what's the issue here?

    June 30, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. JD

    Fox News would have given him a raise and his own show.

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

    Soon to be Willie's, though
    I agree. Willie Geist is a lot more professional than Joe.

    June 30, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Annie, Atlanta

    @Indiana Voter – you know he said this on Morning Joe, right. The right wing Joe Scarborough, right? He was among friends, who got a giggle out of his comment. This is totally inappropriate.

    @Four and the Door- you don't think the American people have a right to know the games the Republicans are playing with our debt ceiling right now? Seriously? Politicking? These guys are doing this so that they can take back congress and the White House. What the president was doing wasn't politicking, it was pointing out how the GOP is going to take us down if they don't stop playing games. Do you know how many times many of those same Republicans raised it during Bush's terms? 14 times! Without question! You may be a conservative, but your side doesn't have the right to destroy this country in order to win elections. Obama should have called this treason, because that's what it is.

    June 30, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. jb1963

    If it was Fox news they would have been given a raise.

    June 30, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Cynic

    Teddy Roosevelt: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

    Yes, to call the president a "d**k" might be immature, but that is exactly what millions call him every day.

    Nothing disrespectful about it. The man is a public servant, not a demi-god.

    There is much more to get huffy about than something so trivial.

    June 30, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Bill in VA

    Well....a couple of thoughts here. One he is right. Second ... that is no way for a professional to conduct himself. But given all the liberals did to lower the standards with all the disrespect of President Bush, Petraeus and others it is no wonder. Not a justification, just an observation. Probably right to suspend him even if he did ask about the delay. Anything beyond thatis stupid.

    June 30, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Joan

    Maybe it takes one to know one. Actually what the President said yesterday was nowhere near as sarcastic as the media (Mr. Gergen, etc.) made it out to be. He was telling the truth. The Congress and Senate make the laws. He signs them. He has talked to them all, created forums for them to meet and discuss this, has been there and is clear in his strategy. The Democrats will give up some spending even though it hurts but the Republicans need to give in some too. Cantor, Kyl, Coburn, etc. won't give an inch. That's not compromise. That's blackmail and the American people will hopefully realize this. This one issue is really showing the Republican's true colours and frankly it is not a very pretty picture. They need to forget about the 2012 election, stop pandering to the base and do what is right.

    June 30, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. FM

    Halperin should have understood that he was at work. He doesn't go there sit on the chair, nice suit with a tie on, enjoying a cup of coffee and start to lip out without thinking first what to say. If it was me or anyone else do mess at work, we will be kicked off without any notice. If he does not have any judgement of what to say and what not, he might be at a wrong place and does not deserve to continue being in the air!

    June 30, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Greg

    I can't believe how pathetic these comments are....the Left Wing Masses sitting there in shock...SHOCK I TELL YOU...that someone would have the audacity to disparage The President Of The United States while Left Wing Pundits made a career out of doing the same to Bush for 8 years....the Left Wing Talking Heads are just as guilty as the Right Wing Talking Heads when it comes to hate-speech directed at a please, do NOT insult my intelligence with your faux Righteous Indignation.

    June 30, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Derp

    Haha, so now we're suspending people for being right?

    June 30, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Chan

    Going by the comments here, there are alot of fools around here... One person comments: what happened to freedom of speech? – Go ask your family to use worse words( you know what I mean) on the kitchen table in the name of freedom of speech. One person comments : Halperin was right.. If this country's president is what Halperin calls him, how about an average person?

    June 30, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. a2rjr

    Someone from CNN finally tells the truth about Obama and they bend over backwards to apologize for telling the truth and then suspend the reporter. What a bunch of spineless weasels CNN has on the payroll. You all know Obama makes even Jimmy Carter look as though he knew what he was doing. Face it, Halperin was correct in his assessment.

    June 30, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. DavidP

    @Whats the Big Problem Unfortunately people seem to love the gossip, not the actual news (just look at all the traffic a Lindsey Lohan story gets, and that's definitely NOT news). If you find an non-biased, news-only website, it probably doesn't get very many hits, and that's all the news organizations care about anymore..

    June 30, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Peggy - TX

    Any marginally competent journalist could have gotten his message across with out having to make explicit reference to the male parts. The use of the term was totally in appropriate to the discussion. It did not add to the conversation. Rather, his choice of words became the issue being discussed not what President Obama said.

    What he communicated by his choice of words was that he was in shock that President Obama dared to be critical the Republicans… how dare the sitting president refuse to back down from his reasonable position in the current negotiations … how dare the President to make the Republicans sound like silly school children…. WHA-WHA-A-A-A

    June 30, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Joseph

    I support Obama but this is ridiculous...I watched it live. It was no big deal, Grow up people, grow up MSNBC. This is part of the everyday language......also Joe Scarborough kept egging him on to say it...and he was saying " don't worry we have a 7 second go ahead say it"........and HE DID.......then Joe says..." I was only kidding, I didn't think you were going to do it!"......Joe was telling him it was OK to say it........but all in all.......WHO CARES, NO BIG DEAL, GROW UP MSNBC.

    June 30, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Fran

    I didn't see the show and when I saw d**k, I thought he must have said "dork", which would be totally correct. If instead it was "dick", I agree that it was inappropriate. @ Think Again...You must have been on another planet during the Bush years and since Obama has been in the White House. The press, the left, Obama, and his administration have always had negative things to say about Bush. And, Obama has and continues to blame Bush and his administration for everything. Also, Republicans show more respect for the White House and the office of President than the current President and his administration do! We haven't bowed to Muslim leaders, inappropriately handled a meeting with the Queen of England, apologized for the US, and said that America is a Muslim nation!

    June 30, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. notajerseygirl

    The truth hurts.

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

    I didn't realize the word dork was so bad that it had to be spelled d**k. It is a word that can be used among friends. I always thought it meant the same as "jerk" of "idiot". Like you were really a dork for doing that. However, if d**k refers to "dark", as in Obama is a "dark" then that would be racist. But to suspend someone for using the work "dork" – well, that is just dorky.

    June 30, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Whats the Big Problem

    The Republicans should not give in on this debt limit issue We cannot keep spending and spending and taxing and taxing our way out of the mess that this country is in. We have to stop the spending. Yes, some people may be hurt but there are many other places to cut the government spending besides the places Obama is trying to tug at the heart strings of America to believe. Maybe when he was going through the budget ...line by line as he said he was going to do repeatedly, he could have found other places and programs to cut. He is too busy fundraising and running for re-election than really being involved in the country's problems. Republicans need to hold their ground...dont let this administrations scare tactics work. Theyve used this same old trick for yearts. Don't give in

    June 30, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Republicans had promised the American people that the cuts were temporary.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________ in your world, taxes are good and people want to hand over their paycheck to the government ? My guess is your world is being turned upside down by the Democratic Spin Machine. These guys are masters of their art.
    They did make that promise the cuts were inarguably nonsustainable. Bush himself sat in the Oval office stated exactly that, "temporary". I am pleased that you didn't dispute that fact. Or, was it in fact another lie that Bush told the American people?

    So in your world, it is okay to renege on promises and mislead the American people just as long as you serve your masters. What a wonderful vision of freedom. Serving your master.

    June 30, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Meki60

    A completely true statement.

    June 30, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. CP in FL

    I love how people are posting about Halperin's freedom of speech. Do you people actually know what freedom of speech means? Freedom of speech does not mean that you can say whatever you want and your boss cannot do anything about it. Freedom of speech means that the GOVERNMENT cannot stop an individual from speaking (within reason).

    June 30, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Greg

    The President's arrogance and contempt are palpable. I don't believe in name-calling. However, I do believe in labeling. The President is a failure, and his demeanor tells us he knows he's against the ropes.

    June 30, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. fixamerica

    Fire him! An assault to the president is an assault to all americans. He should go!

    June 30, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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