He’s apologizing for letting slip his contempt and disrespect for the President? Right.
Steve Benen: …. If you can watch the video, note how Halperin, ostensibly one of the nation’s most influential pundits, was smiling, with a smug satisfaction. It wasn’t a word he just blurted out in the heat of a larger discussion – Halperin thought about it….
….There are a couple of angles to keep in mind here. The first is that Halperin’s credibility as an objective observer of political events has long been dubious, at best, but this morning’s little stunt should remove all doubt. In candor, I don’t much care that Halperin sides with the right over the left, and takes cheap shots at Democrats. I care that Halperin is presented to the public as a neutral, even-handed expert, when that’s plainly not the case. To this extent, the “dick” comment only helps bring an end to a thin pretense.
… If the president stays cool, he’s an emotionless Mr. Spock. If the president shows some fire in the belly, he’s “a dick.”
What passes for mainstream political punditry in 2011 is too often a national embarrassment.
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NYT: MSNBC suspended one of its best-known political analysts, Mark Halperin, on Thursday morning after he directed a slur at President Obama on the channel’s morning show, “Morning Joe.”
….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.”
In a fresh statement from the channel, Mr. Halperin said he agreed completely “with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark” and added, “I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate.” He said he deeply regretted using the slur.
Mr. Halperin, who is also an editor-at-large for Time magazine, is a paid contributor to MSNBC and a regular guest on “Morning Joe.” Time did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Steve Benen: … The key takeaway, at least for me, is what prompted Halperin’s shot in the first place.
….Yesterday, President Obama held a press conference to urge GOP leaders to accept a compromise — he and other Democrats will accept massive cuts, but the president wants Republicans to agree to some concessions as part of a bipartisan agreement.
I couldn’t care less which four-letter word Halperin uses. I do care that Halperin is presented to news consumers as a neutral observer when he clearly is not. But I really care that he and others in the media establishment look at the debt-ceiling fight and think Obama’s the one who’s a big jerk. And why do they think that? Because the president offered some relatively mild criticism of truly insane tactics.
Let me say this as plainly as I know how: Republicans are threatening to deliberately cause a global recession. The president is willing to strike a deal that leans heavily in the GOP’s direction, and Republicans are refusing. Who, in this scenario, is being dickish?
Halperin’s choice of words pales in comparison to the fact that he’s offended by the president’s mild rebuke of political recklessness the likes of which American hasn’t seen in generations….
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