Mark Halperin suspended from MSNBC for presidential name-calling

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Mark Halperin has been suspended indefinitely from MSNBC for calling president Obama “a dick” on “Morning Joe today.”

“We apologize to the President, the White House and all of our viewers,” the Peacock news cabler said in an unattributed statement on Thursday morning. “We strive for a high level of disclosure and comments like these have no place on our air.”

Although presumably “a high level of disclosure” is at least partly the problem here…

MSNBC has developed a rep for being tough on pundit infractions, famously with Keith Olbermann (whose suspension over political donations appeared to have been one of the factors in his leaving the network) and “Joe” host Joe Scarborough, who got the same treatment for behavior similar to Olbermann’s.

A more analogous example, though, might be David Shuster, who asked if it seemed “like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out” during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in February 2008. For the crack, Shuster was suspended for two weeks (later, he was suspended until the end of his contract after MSNBC learned that he’d shot a pilot for CNN without informing his bosses. He’s now joined Olbermann at Current TV).

Halperin, at least, has been quick to apologize: “I completely agree with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark,” he said in an emailed statement. “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.”

Hopefully for Halperin, the apology will get him some leniency with his bosses, and perhaps president Obama will give him a mulligan.

This must be some kind of land speed record for gaffe-to-suspension. Three-and-a-half hours!

For what it’s worth, Scarborough assures Halperin that the seven-second delay will catch his uncensored opinion… and then it totally doesn’t. (Scarborough: “I was joking! Don’t do that! Did we delay that?” Somebody Named Alex, presumably e.p. Alex Korson: “I hit it, I hope it worked!” Not so much, dude.)

It’s all in the first minute of the segment above. Here’s Halperin eating crow:

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