MSNBC’s political analyst Mark Halperin got himself in hot water Thursday morning on the network’s Morning Joe. He called President Obama a—ahem—not very nice word referring to a certain part of the male anatomy. Halperin was apparently relying on producers to use a seven-second delay to bleep the profanity before his blunt assessment of the president’s press conference broadcast. Appropriate? Obviously not. Halperin apologized on the air a few minutes later.
But was the mistake worthy of a suspension from MSNBC? Should the punishment have been harsher? Or lighter?
While MSBNC reportedly got a rush of E-mails calling for Halperin to be fired, others have said the "indefinite" suspension was overreacting on the network’s part. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on Obama.]
But Halperin himself validated MSNBC’s suspension in a statement. “I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate,” he wrote. Time magazine, Halperin’s other employer, gave him a warning and issued a public statement denouncing his remarks, but stopped short of additional punishment.
And, according to the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, the White House has been privately communicating with MSNBC, saying “that they view Halperin’s move as stupid and distasteful, but ultimately a mistake that should not be a defining one,” Sargent writes. [See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]
What do you think? Was MSNBC right to suspend Mark Halperin for what he called Obama? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.