Five Reasons Mark Halperin Was Wrong To Say Obama Was “Kind Of A Dick”

By , July 1, 2011 1:56 am

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” yesterday, Time magazine’s senior political analyst and editor-at-large Mark Halperin said President Obama was “kind of a dick” in how he “behaved” at his press conference on Wednesday.

Here’s the clip:

A few minutes later, he made an on-air apology. “Joking aside, this not a pro forma apology, it’s an absolute apology – heartfelt to the president and to the viewers. I became part of the joke, but that’s no excuse. I made a mistake and I’m sorry and I shouldn’t have said it. And as I said, I apologize to the president and the viewers who heard me say that.”

Here’s what’s wrong with Halperin’s “dick” remark:

1. Regardless of who’s being talked about, cable or network morning television isn’t the place to call someone a dick. A nighttime show? Maybe, but even then, not the president (which I’ll get to in a moment).

2. Halperin knew he shouldn’t have said it on television because he asked about the seven-second delay. The “joke” wasn’t spontaneous or something said in the heat of an argument. It appears the remark was planned. Between thinking about saying “kind of a dick” and the banter that ensued when they discussed the delay, Halperin had plenty of time to consider the remark and decide not to say it. He decided wrong.

3. An editor-at-large and senior political analyst of the country’s largest news magazine shouldn’t call anyone – the president or an average Joe – a dick. It’s unprofessional for any journalist to do that on-air. Which brings me to…

4. Halperin is an experienced journalist and editor, but he failed here, too. He didn’t edit himself.

5. Finally, the most obvious: Should anyone call the president a dick on TV? Of course not! It’s the President of the United States! It’s our highest and most esteemed elected office. Obama and other presidents have been called worse in homes, offices, the Internet and other places where people talk about politics. But we look to journalists and others who lead political discussions to maintain a certain level of respect for the political process and the people involved in it.

MSNBC was right to indefinitely suspend Halperin. Not only was he disrespectful, he was a bad guest who showed bad judgment.

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