It was just supposed to be a joke! Kind of! This morning, the Time politics scribe was, as he often is, a guest on the set of MSNBC's Morning Joe, where he discussed President Obama's feisty and combative press conference yesterday. Halperin, perhaps feeling a little feisty himself after being plied with free Starbucks, asked for and received assurances that the Morning Joe crew was on a seven-second delay, at which point he opined that Obama behaved like "kind of a dick yesterday." Unfortunately, the show's producer somehow didn't know how to work the bleep button um ... you press it, with your finger, right? and the expletive aired in all its vulgar glory.
Halperin quickly apologized on air, but that wasn't enough for MSNBC, which naturally has no interest in getting on the president's bad side. As the Times reports:
Immediately after the show concluded at 9 a.m., a meeting was convened about the incident, and by 10:30 a.m., Mr. Halperin had been suspended indefinitely from his analyst job at MSNBC.
“Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable,” the channel said in a statement. “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 took it in stride, calling the punishment "totally appropriate." Meanwhile, MSNBC is starting to rack up a pretty lengthy history of slur-related suspensions. David Shuster was suspended in 2008 for claiming that Hillary Clinton had "pimped out" Chelsea Clinton, and last month Ed Schultz was given a week off after calling conservative radio host Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut." It's like a high-school men's locker room over there.