Mark Halperin lets it all hang outPosted: June 30, 2011
I have never been a fan of Mark Halperin or watched Joe Scarborough so I can’t say that I particularly care about either of their careers or politics. I will say that I believe that all cable news pundits take themselves WAY too seriously. This item gave me a great pre-coffee giggle so I have to pass on the collective villager on-line gasps! We’re shocked!!! Shocked I tell you!!! I’ll start out with Steven Benen of Washington Monthly.
It’s hard not to love that “liberal” media.On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the three-hour program co-hosted by a conservative Republican former congressman, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin was asked for his assessment of President Obama’s White House press conference. “I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday,” Halperin said.
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, asked about whether the broadcast was on a seven-second delay, and then took his shot.
Not to be left out, Politico gives us this one. Notice how quickly the ‘real’ press is running for the door.
Time issued a statement later Thursday calling Halperin’s comments “inappropriate and in no way reflective of TIME’s views.”
The magazine did not suspend Halperin but said, “We have issued a warning to him that such behavior is unacceptable” and noted that he had “appropriately” apologized.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Thursday afternoon that he called Halperin’s bosses at MSNBC.
“The comment that was made was inappropriate,” Carney told reporters in his daily briefing. “It would be inappropriate to say that about either president of either party.”
During the Morning Joe show, host Joe Scarborough asked Halperin what he thought of Obama’s press conference and Halperin asked if the seven-second delay were in effect so he could give his real opinion – apparently thinking it would be bleeped out before hitting the air. Scarborough told Halperin to go for it because they would use the delay to prevent whatever he said from being broadcast. “You fall down, I’m going to catch you,” Scarborough told Halperin.
Scarborough isn’t experiencing any fall out so far. Here’s a fun one from WAPO’s Greg Sargent. Go read beyond this quote. The word sanctimonious comes to my mind, but I’ll let you dissect and see if you agree.
I’m sorry, but this is crazy. Halperin’s crack was crude and dumb, but it doesn’t deserve indefinite suspension. Halperin’s use of an expletive is trival when compared with the degradation of our political discourse we witness on a regular basis from Halperin and many others — degradation that is seen as perfectly acceptable because no curse words are employed. Suspending Halperin only reinforces a phony definition of “civility” in our discourse, in which it’s unacceptable to use foul language and be “uncivil,” but it’s perfectly acceptable for reporters and commentators to allow outright falsehoods to pass unrebutted; to traffic endlessly in false equivalences in the name of some bogus notion of objectivity; and to make confident assertions about public opinion without referring to polls which show them to be completely wrong.
Salon‘s Alex Pareene published a pretty brutal capsule of Halperin’s poltical analysis.
This is a great excuse for MSNBC to fire Halperin, though! I mean if they won’t fire him for being incompetent at understanding and explaining politics they now have an opportunity to fire him for being disrespectful and vulgar. (Ed Schultz was suspended over as much.)
Being a professional observer of the “horse race” is bad enough, but Halperin doesn’t even understand the horse-race element of politics. He fails at being a hack. He’s too dumb to correctly parrot conventional wisdom. He is pretty sure Sarah Palin and Donald Trump are 2012 front-runners. He thought “suspending his campaign” to fix the economy and not knowing how many houses he has were both huge messaging victories for John McCain. He wrote a book about how to win in 2008 that predicted everything Hillary did, but in his world it all worked. He thought Bush’s political comeback would come any day now throughout the entirety of the years 2006-2008. He can’t interpret polls or see through the spin of GOP consultants who are much smarter than he. If I were revising the Hack list I’d put him above No. 1.
So this indefinite suspension is a nice first step, but I bet it won’t be long before they allow him to come crawling back into Mika and Joe’s little parlor of inanity. (And will Joe get in trouble for egging him on? Does Joe get in trouble for anything?)
So, is this a case of it takes one to know one? Go check out the huge list of reactions via memeorandum. See the Village. See the Village Gasp. See the Village react in a predictably partisan pattern.