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. Bobby

    Obviously he knows the President very well. There is no law that say a d$#k can't be President. The office doesn't turn you into one, you have to be one when you arrive, so what's all the fuss? Can't be over an office that no one has respected for quite a while now. I don't know if it is any worse calling a President a bad name or being disrepectful when you interview him.

    June 30, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Lmj

    I agree with TY in PA this was a set up. I watched too and they all had a blast thinking it was bleeped. Then Chris had to admit he hit the wrong button and the damage was done. Mark was left holding the bag. Those were his words but he was coaxed on a bit. Typical boy's will be boy's behavior. Some things never change.....

    June 30, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Cyd

    You don't have to like the President or agree with him on anything, but he is certainly due the respect of his office. Like him or not, He is THE 44th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. To say such a thing about anyone unthinkable! It just shows that having a "voice", doesn't mean you have anything to say! This is just another example of the blatant disrespect for authority. It is an indication be it parents, teachers, police, etc., why there is no reverence. You can say anything, do anything and then apologize for it and all is well! It is really a sad commentary of what we are becoming as a people and a nation. I only hope those who are raising children will be very mindful of the things they express in front of their children. Don't fill them with opinions you laced with toxic waste, because you can't throw mud on someone without leaving some dirt on your own hands.

    June 30, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. dan

    I dont care if the president is a republican or a democrat a JOURNALIST should NEVER EVER say something like that. It is unprofessional. and frankly I think FIRED would be appropriate not suspended If I called my boss at work a d**k I would be Fired not suspended. I am a LIBERAL democrat and would be equally offended by his remark if it were for george bush, WHo I think personally is a MORON but I AM NOT A JOURNALIST who are supposed to be respectful and Proffessional

    June 30, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Dave B

    I watched the show this morning as I do every morning and I don't think he should have been suspended. First of all he specifically asked if the seven second delay was on, then Joe egged him on to say it. It's the fault of the engineer that didn't hit the right button to edit it out. I was stunned when it went out but it was just a mistake. Second, to all those crying about Mark Halprin being too right wing, he's a nice balanced to Mike Barnacle (sp?) who's equally left wing. That's why I love the show, they have both sides and I think are far more fair than the CNN of Faux News morning shows.

    June 30, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. patricia May

    Fire him. Morning Joe is simply a right wing show. Scarbough is so boring with his arrogance, shouting, and talking over everyone. Mika is a push over trying to bare as much skin as possible. All she does is pose.

    June 30, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Christopher

    LMAO! Where in the blue hell do they find these people? And people still watch Joe Scarborough's show?

    June 30, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Brian

    People are overreacting. Should he have said "jerk" instead? Absolutely. But he was told there was a 7 second delay. Mark Halperin has a long history of providing astute insight into our nation's politics. I happen to disagree with his assessment on this issue, but his perspective is too valuable to cast aside so quickly. He deserves a second chance.

    June 30, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. Kathy

    After it happened, the guy had a "deer in the head light" look...he looked scared! Or maybe he was thinking......"I wonder if FOX has any opening?"......they take all the rejects anyway....

    June 30, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. Dick

    He forgot to prefix it with arrogant.

    June 30, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. lindairish

    Gosh, most of us have called him a lot worse than that.

    June 30, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Thinker

    Its one thing to insultAnCoulter. She herself is a walkng insult. But this the president of the UNited States. The lack of resect shown to him by republicans just shows that the republican party is made up of illmannered people that have no business holding any position of power. For a pundit on a serious news channel, thisis intolerable. If MSNBC wants to maintain credebility, they need to fire this guy now.

    June 30, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. cheryl garrett

    What happened to freedom of speech? The man was just stating his opinion and by the way he was told that there was a 7 second delay, which was not the case. I've got news for you, a lot of Americans think Obama is a dick! I'm 64 years old and I never thought that I would see the United States in such a decline! The world does not respect our country and only wants what's left of our money. I don't have any grandchildren and I am glad because I dont' have to worry about them being burdened with all the debt and other baggage that Washington is piling up.

    June 30, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Janice

    Even though the president was correct in what he was saying, there might be a bit of honesty in that he WAS being kind of a... well you know. Hey at least it wasn't racial!!

    June 30, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  15. RaKa

    This is too funny. You're working with MSNBC and you thought calling the president that would be okay? Of course msnbc suspended you, they are uber liberal. Idiota.

    June 30, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. DJ

    So, Palin and others can be called all kinds of diabolical names on msnbc and nothing happens, yet when one of hillary's people mentions something about obama's true nature, he's fired???!!!? I don't get it. Where is free speech?

    June 30, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Jan

    Why isn't Joe being suspended, or the control room guys ? Joe egged him on to make his comment and then tells Halperin he was just kidding. REALLY. Suspend Joe and the guy in the control room too. Halperin is just the fall guy for Joe's ego which has gotten too big.

    June 30, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Mark L

    Terrible. The Republicans tear down our economy and blame it on Obama and then this fool calls him childish names. By what stretch of silly American imagination would anyone call this president such a name? The Republicans have been fighting him from the beginning. They say they want healthcare reform but after holding both houses of Congress for 12 years and the White House for the last six years, did they introduce any healthcare legislation? No. They say they can improve the economy but they fought Wall Street reform every step of the way. They are all about having power, helping the rich and destruction. Hateful people.

    June 30, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Lawrence Taylor - Not #56

    Regarding @ jja:

    Rachel Maddow HAS NEVER called anyone anything derogatory. NEVER – stop your lies. She simply embarrasses weak minded conservatives by outworking them. Saturday Night Live is a comedy show; Bill Mahr is a commedian, so they're going to say edgy, racy, impolite material.

    @ Greg said that Obama is "arrogant". No, he's not. He's smart. He is confident. He's strategic. He's patient. He's relentless. He's an achiever.

    If I had a dollar for every formally educated, professional black male executive, manager, supervisor or individual high performer that has been called ARROGANT [exclusively by some of the folks at the other end of the melanin scale], I'd be a millionare.

    I didn't think much of Bush 43 at all. But he was my President and when that Iraqi threw the shoes at him, I wanted to kick the guy's azz. Why? Because it was disrespectful to the President of the United States. Same rule applies here.

    June 30, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Jarod

    You low lifes who think it was proper to refer to the President this way should be ashamed of yourselfs. You are one of the reasons our great nation has lost its way. I am no fan of Pres Obama but by NO MEANS would I show my ignorance an soil the name of the Office of President; doesnt matter if I like the man or not, RESPECT THE POSITION and the world will follow. .....morons.

    June 30, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. OARFNY

    First honest thing that MSNBC has aired for months.

    June 30, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Socalgal

    If that thing you calll the president can go to town hall meetings and declare his followers too stupid to understand the issues, and call his opponents the enemy, I see nothing wrong with calling him what he truly is. It just should never dribble from the mouths of journalists.

    June 30, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Beer_Mug

    I support Obama 100% and thought his speech was brilliant. That having been said–Halperin was goaded into saying what he said by Scarborough and the other host and was obviously under the impression that his remarks would be bleeped out. This is much ado about nothing and all the haters should go watch the actual video before they spout off in ignorance.

    June 30, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. TJ

    My hero!

    June 30, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. reality check

    "Are we on the seven-second delay?" Halperin asked.

    "We have it. We can use it. Go for it. Let's see what happens," co-anchor Joe Scarborough replied.

    "I thought he was a d*** yesterday," Halperin replied, sending the hosts into a brief moment of panic

    Although totally an impropriate comment, I think I would fire Joe Scarborough first. He led Halperin right into the fire.... what is that Halperin said... "I was joking".

    I agree with Mark's post Halperin is incredibly insightful in regards to the political arena.

    June 30, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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