MSNBC has suspended Mark Halperin indefinitely from his job as a senior political analyst for the network for using a vulgar term on “Morning Joe” to describe President Barack Obama’s demeanor during his news conference Wednesday.
The network’s suspension of Halperin, who also is an editor at large and senior political analyst at Time magazine, came within hours of his comment during today’s show. The gaffe occurred during the opening discussion on “Morning Joe” today, after host Joe Scarborough asked Halperin whether Obama’s statements regarding budget talks and the nation’s debt amounted to showmanship, in light of the fact that reaching the debt ceiling is on the horizon.
“Are we on the seven-second delay today?” Halperin said. “I wanted to characterize how I thought the president behaved.”
Halperin was assured that the delay was working, and Scarborough told him to go for it.
Halperin said: “I think he was kind of a d-ck yesterday.”
The delay didn’t work, and the profanity was broadcast.
Scarborough responded: “Delay that! What are you doing! I was joking!”
Halperin apologized a short while later, saying, “Joking aside, this is an absolute apology. I shouldn’t have said it. I apologize to the president and the viewers who heard me say that."
Later in the show, Halperin apologized again, saying, “I can’t explain why I did it. It’s inappropriate, disrespectful. I’ve already apologized, and I will again to the president. I’m sorry, I’m sorry to the viewers . . . It is disrespectful. What I said was disrespectful to the president and the office, but it also lowers our discourse.”
Within hours, MSNBC issued this statement: “Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. 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. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.”
Halperin issued a statement concurring with his suspension, saying, “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. 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."
Scarborough and his “Morning Joe” anchors, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist, also apologized profusely and repeatedly during the show, citing a technical glitch that probably prompted folks across the nation to choke on their morning cup of joe.
Scarborough explained that a new executive producer apparently didn’t know how the seven-second delay button works. “You are supposed to know how to do the job,” Scarborough said. “I would tell you what I think of him, but he doesn’t know what button to push.”
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