Is The Response To Mark Halperin's Statement Overblown?

    The initial segment on Howard Kurtz's "Reliable Sources" dealt with Mark Halperin's quip about President Obama being a "dick". Howard Kurtz characterize the situation as involving a mild obscenity and thought that the incident was overblown. Mark Halperin thought that he was making The comment during a 7 second delay. Joe Scarborough, who appeared to be telling Halperin that the comment would be delayed suddenly appeared shocked, and stated that he (Scarborough) was only joking in mentioning the 7 second delay. Mika had her usual; "Who me? Involved in this?" look.

    Michelle Cottle, Washington correspondent for Newsweek and the Daily Beast; Matthew Continetti, opinion editor at the Weekly Standard and author of "the Persecution of Sarah Palin"; and A.B. Stoddard of The Hill , Formed a panel discussing the issue with Howard Kurtz. the panelists seemed to be in agreement with Kurtz that the issue had been overblown.Mark Halperin and also apologized. The consensus seemed to be that Halperin "had" to be suspended, but that Halperin was merely joking. The report is also seem to be in agreement with Halperin that a 7 second delay was in operation.  Howard Kurtz also felt that something had to be done since the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, had criticized Halperin's statement.

    The reporters defended Halperin as a bright, cautious reporter who had simply made an improper statement, albeit premeditated. Kurtz went on to state that part of the reason that Halperin was being criticized is that Halperin is not felt to be liberal enough.

    Kurtz ridiculed an article from Black America Web that stated that Halperin had shown America what Halperin actually thought about America's first black President. Kurtz also mentioned a report from the Daily Beast that noted that Halperin had made a positive comment about the GW Bush White House PR apparatus.

    The black America web link is below:

    Continetti opined that he agreed with Halperin that President Obama appeared "unlikable" during his recent press conference. Kurtz disagreed with that characterization of Obama's press conference stating that he thought that Obama did very well.

    When I looked at the clip of Mark Halperin on Morning Joe making the statement about the President, I wondered how an editor at large of Time magazine could be trusted in the future after having made such a statement. I don't think that the controversy surrounding Halperin's statement is overblown.

    I wonder how others feel about Mark Halperin's statement.






    Just one aspect of this comment got to me.

    Halperin thinks he is some great recorder of history, that he knows more than the peasant, that he is in some grand intellectual position to grade the President of the United States. He thinks he is Woodward when Woodward is not even Woodward!

    So screw him!

    I hope he suffers great pain and suffering.

    He will be back. Java Joe and the rest will take him back.

    Nothing is revealed!

    My take was that he wanted to say it, but didn't want it to come over the air out loud, and Joe and Mika egged him on (not knowing what he was going to say, but they had to know it wasn't going to be good since he asked about the 7 second delay.)

    Mark Halperin is supposed to be a professional, and professionals shouldn't talk like that in the course of performing their job. He wasn't just a guest on the show, he is one of their paid commenters. What he says reflects on MSNBC, and this didn't reflect well. Should the suspension have been indefinite? Probably not.

    Having said that, I think both Joe and Mika should have gotten spanked for encouraging him.

    Just my opinion.

    They were all acting like a bunch of kids. He wanted to say what he wanted to say and they did egg him on. Then he asked about the 7-second delay and I thought sure he would back down and not say it, but apparently they were having too much fun with it and he felt devilish.

    I thought it was pretty odd that guys in the control booth weren't ready for the 7-second delay considering that Joe, Mika and Mark were talking about it. I had to wonder if the control booth guys weren't feeling a little devilish themselves. Their apology sounded pretty hollow to me.


    I don't approve of a reporter calling Obama a dick on television.  Even if it was a mistake, you have to reprimand the guy for the sake of public propriety.

    But I assume that in any given week, for any given president, if you put a microphone in a typical newsroom you would hear all manner of salty invectives leveled at the president and other politicians.  And if you miked the Oval Office, you would hear all manner of vulgarities leveled at reporters - sometimes even to their faces.

    What, are we supposed to pretend we're in Sunday school now?

    I seem to recall Jesse Jackson getting caught with an open mike saying he wanted to cut Obama's nuts off.

    This is how real people talk in the world of political power when their words aren't being recorded.

    Jesse Jackson is supposed to have an opinion. Jackson caught a lot of grief after his commentary. In fact, the initial reluctance of both Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to fully embrace Obama, fed into the idea the the Civil rights Old Guard were having problems giving up power to the next generation.

    The problem is that Obama has in fact been acting like a dick:

    Circle the wagons my liberal friends because "the dick" is going down!


    I want him to get positively medieval...unlikeable does not begin to describe the righteous fury that this situation requires...

    Was it not Moynihan who warned us against

    "defining dickness down...?"

    No?  Well, anyway, Halperin sure has a low threshold for visible displays of testosterone.  I am forever looking for the scent of the rumor that Obama Agonistes passed through here...sometime.

    Overblown? Of course it is. Anyone who argues otherwise is a dick. Folks, your country is in the toilet -- economically, militarily, electorally, morally. And THIS is what people are wasting time talking and writing about? In between 24/7 coverage of the pathetically sad Casey Anderson trial. Seriously?

    Look, Mark Halperin is a dick. He deserves to be fired from ALL his jobs. Not because he insulted the president with the lamest of epithets, but because he's a crappy journalist. And what kind of moron asks first if there's a 7-second delay in place before, like a naughty little boy trying to shock his parents, he comes out with the word "dick?" As transparent a bid to generate controversy as that "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl or that "ass-in-the-face" stunt at the Grammies (or wherever they occurred).

    And how does this even remotely become a black-white thing? Obama is black, yes, and he's also a legitimate target for criticism -- however dickish that criticism is.

    I'm only commenting here because you asked, rmrd. By all means fire Halperin. Hell, fire everyone on Morning Joe. Use this incident as an excuse if you must. But realize it's a meaningless sideshow -- bread and circuses to keep the masses distracted -- while the country, like I said earlier, goes down the toilet.

    All that aside, happy belated Fourth of July.

    Oops, not belated yet. That was just me being a dick. Enjoy the holiday.

    He is the freakin' president - head of state AND the political leader off the country. As such he is surely open to far more agressive criticism than being called a dick. If the sole problem with the comment is the use of the word dick then everybody needs to get a life a life and chill. Obama has been called far worse things by those on the right, though in language that is more polite. Personally I would suggest that Halperin's choice of language captures exactly how he felt Obama acted at the press conference. If people want to get pissy then how about SCOTUS and it's decision vis-a-vis ultra violent video games. There is a lot of bad shit going down. Mark Halperin's calling the pres a dick is really a non issue.

    well it's an issue to me because I'm longing for dickish behaviour, and it's wall to wall pussy Prez so far.

    Exactly, Anonymous. If saying the president hates white people, lies during a State of the Union address, and is ineligible to the office he holds can all clear the free-speech bar, then some TV pundit calling Obama a dick is laughably inconsequential. Does no one else remember the constant chants of "Hey, hey, LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?" Those words were intended to wound, and they did. Johnson would have reveled in merely being called a dick.

    The press is different. If a member of the press had yelled out: "you lie", that reporter should have been fired.

    In the case of the Congressman, redress would have to come from his Congressional colleagues, or the voters in the next election. The only other alternative might be organizing a recall.

    Apples and oranges.

    By all means, fire Mark Halperin. The stupidly contrived way he set up his naughty remark shows a distinct lack of judgment. But the remark itself hardly deserved further mention. Glenn Beck eventually lost his job, but not until long after he declared Obama "hates white people." Now, that should have been a firing offense. "Dick," not so much.

    .......And how does this even remotely become a black-white thing? Obama is black, yes, and he's also a legitimate target for criticism -- however dickish that criticism is.

    It becomes a "black-white" thing because Obama is the first black President. BlackAmericaWeb is a site produced by and composed of mainly African-Americans just as DailyKos is mainly Caucasian. Most of the journalists who appear on the MSM screens are not African-American and many people see bias in the way the news is presented.

    There is no African-American anchor on any of MSNBC's shows. It should also be noted that MSNBC provided space for Don Imus who made comments about the black women on the Rutgers basketball team. Most of the white reporters who had appeared on the Imus show, felt that Imus' comments should not have led to anything more than a brief suspension. It became apparent that black people working for NBC and MSNBC were not that fond of Imus or his commentary. That internal discord was part of what got Imus fired.

    When temporary hosts were being used as fill in, Joe Scarborough and Mika B were part of the rotation. At one point the National Association of Black Journalists issued a statement asking for Imus' head on a platter. Mika B essentially asked: "Who are these people?" when describing the NABJ criticism. Mika did not, at the time, think that Imus should be fired.

    Many African-Americans do not have good feelings about MSNBC's morning programmming. There is also a sense that certain perspectives are not presented on MSNBC.Black reporters like Eugene Robinson, Capehart and Clarence Page may appear intermittently, but they present "balanced" views. Black activists are generally not heard. The general theme of the discusson is set by the non African-American anchor.

    It would be healthy to have a discussion about how comments about LBJ or GW were identical to things being said about Obama ( or not). That type of full discussion just isn't happening. Because reporters are trained to view the world as "both sides do it", reporters often miss true sources of anger in certain communities.

    There is a sense of isolation in how the news is presented by MSM.

    It is no different than the perspective many Progressives have of MSM..

    It becomes a "black-white" thing because Obama is the first black President.

    Well, no, rm. I'll give you the benefit of a doubt that you're not saying ALL criticism of Obama is race-based. I'm one of those white progressives you disdain, who loved candidate Obama but think president Obama squandered that guy's mandate. Did I become a racist over the past three years? I would argue no.

    You can't even generalize from the fact that a white "pundit" made the remark in front of white co-anchors on a network presumably run by white guys-in-suits. (As Jon Stewart delightedly pointed out, the suits then got another white guy to stare sternly at Halperin as he made his groveling apology.)

    Judging from your comment above, the main source of your anger seems to be the underrepresentation of black journalists on and in mainstream media. Interesting point, but only tangentially related to the marginally offensive remarks of one on-air dickhead.

    Look, we're in agreement that the MSM sucks big time. It's corporatist, profit-driven and has piss-poor journalistic standards. If you think more African-American talking heads might help solve MSM's problems, knock yourself out. I think the only solution is to turn off the TV.

    Howard Kurtz was referencing a post from BlackAmericaWeb (BAW) that I did not write. The post got responses that agreed with the author's impression of Halperin. You are focusing on me alone and not the comments coming from other African-American sources. I don’t know how many times I have said that I am not the only one with the viewpoint that I express.

    Rachel Maddow has her own show and has the freedom to point out when gays and lesbians have objections to events in the news. I suspect that if there were an openly gay President, the push back that critics of that President would be equal to that of that the black community is being accused of today. Women would be vocal opponents to what was perceived as overtly harsh commentary of the first female President. Blacks are doing the human thing.

    Given the steady deterioration of the GOP on issues regarding race, blacks are by default Democrats. Blacks weren't accused of being racially biased when we supported Dukakis, Gore or Kerry. Blacks weren't considered biased when we supported Bill Clinton during Monica-gate.

    I try to provide links to references that support what I am saying as being reflective of how many in the Black community feel about the MSM and some Progressives. Listen to Al Sharpton's views about the Left expressed at the National Newspaper Publishers Association conference conference two weekends ago. The view that Sharpton expresses is alive and well in the African-American community, you just choose to ignore the point being made.

    Yes, I feel neglected by MSM and I have disagreements with how the Left is approaching current problems. I have posted about the Black Netroots panel at the national Netroots conference that was addressing how to get Obama reelected and the negative response it got at FDL.

    I am not the only one pointing out the differences in perspectives. You can attack me, but the black-white division will still exist.

    The racism of the Tea Party, the aggressive behavior of Republican Governors against workers, the overt attack on minority voting rights by the GOP creates a situation that makes it very unlikely that black voters will latch on to any movement that enhances the chances of a Republican being elected President. That is the box that critics on the left will have to punch their way out of as the election season gears up.

    You can think that I'm the only one with that perspective, but you would be wrong.

    I read the Black America commentary you linked to. It makes absolutely no case that Halperin's remark had anything to do with race. If your main argument is that other people agree with you, well, Michelle Goldberg agrees with me, and says what I tried to say in much clearer fashion:

    Just to be clear about where I stand on Obama: I'm not a U.S. citizen, but if I were, I'd walk on glass to vote for him over any candidate the Republicans can put up. A lot of his progressive critics who post here would do the same; they just wish he'd take consistently stronger stands against the Republican assault you describe. Which is precisely what he was doing in the remarks that  led Halperin to call him a "dick."

    What Al Sharpton has to say about progressives isn't germane to this discussion. Halperin isn't much of a progressive. And one last time, "I'm not the only one who thinks this way" is not a very convincing argument.

    From the BAW post that Howard Kurtz criticized

    Halperin showed America exactly what he thinks of America’s first black president. He revealed to a national audience that he has no respect for Obama or the presidency. 

    Maybe Halperin called the president that name because Obama stood firm Wednesday and challenged Republicans to help families who are struggling, insisting that Republicans agree to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and eliminate tax breaks for oil companies and corporate jet owners.

    Halperin may have been annoyed that Obama – a black man – is pushing back against a Republican assault, and that show of steadfast determination, in Halperin’s view, was objectionable. showed America exactly what he thinks of America’s first black president. He revealed to a national audience that he has no respect for Obama or the presidency. 

    You find nothing related to race in the BAW post?

    Jeez, rm!

    BAW makes two references to the fact Obama is black. Duh, we knew that. How exactly is BAW's choice of how to spin the story evidence of anything?

    Seriously, dude. Think it through.


    View Al Sharpton's comments about the left again, cause that's the feeling I am getting from this exchange. The reporters on "Reliable Sources" felt that the Halperin incident was overblown. Michelle Goldberg link agrees with you. I say that many blacks would disagree with the idea that the Halperin incident was overblown. In the absence of a statistical survey, all I can do is point you in the direction of commentary from African-Americans on websites. If you view this as "others agree with me", fine.

    I can give you a brief history of a prior episode at MSNBC that involved Imus along with Scarborough and Mika. I can point out that the BAW author saw Obama's race as a reason that Halperin felt free in using the word "dick"

    I can point out that many blacks take exception to Halperin's words. You can reject the above. The real test of whether I'm correct will come as election season heats up, and some progressives continue with strong attacks on Obama. I'm betting that you will find a strong opposition to such comments in the black community. It will be a repeat of the battles that went on during the past election between some black Obama supporters and some white Hillary Clinton supporters.

    Again, I must stress that 80% of All Democrats above of Obama and 85%  percent of blacks approve of Obama. Only a small percentage of progressives would be expected to continue a strong attack on Obama as election nears. There will be black progressives like Black Agenda Report who will always strongly oppose Obama even at the risk of electing a Republican. BAR is a relatively small percentage of the black electorate.

    If you see blacks interpreting Halperin's comments differently, chime in.

    Oh, BAR thinks that Van Jones is not progressive enough because Jones is not anti-Obama enough for them. The majority of the black voting public thinks that BAR and, now Cornel West are jokes. Just some other "people who agree with me".


    As I pointed out earlier, rm, Halperin is not a progressive and he wasn't criticizing Obama for not being progressive enough. He called him a dick for being too hard on the Republicans!

    So your ongoing tirade about progressives is totally off the mark. As is your introduction of BAR, BAW, Sharpton, West and Don Imus into the discussion. This incident had nothing to do with progressives, and nothing to do with race. You're projecting.

    You also seem to equate saying that reaction to a remark is overblown to agreeing with the remark. Again, not true.

    Finally, if you're going to engage in discussions here, make your own bloody arguments. Don't tell us how many other people agree with you. Convince me that you have a point. You've failed to do that.

    Have a good night.

    You don't get to set the terms for what I do, and I am definitely having a great night.

    I thought backing up your positions with facts and logic was a reasonable suggestion, but you're right: I'm not the boss of you. Carry on as you see fit. And I'm glad you're having a great night. Cheers.

    Wow. You're really wound up tight aren't you? Are you a lawyer?

    The simple fact is that I don't accept your characterization of what I posted, so no harm no foul.

    I'm gazing out a hotel room window and can only make out a few stars because of light pollution, but it's still a great night. Dinner was excellent.


    Fire him!!! hell, fire them all: reporters, journalists, and moderators... most are bias and prejudice, it's their way or no way in the print world...  Usually there are consequences to actions so in this case if it a loss job,  hand me an application, lol.  Seriously, as many have stated, it was very childish and unprofessional... I'm sure there is a code of ethics that he should follow and he should be reprimanded to breaking those ethics.

    Someone suggested spanking Mika.  I'm in.

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