On MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning best-selling author and Time editor at large Mark Halperin was asked his opinion of President Obama’s behavior at yesterday’s press conference. Before giving it he asked if there was a seven-second delay and was assured by host Joe Scarborough that there was. Co-host Mika Brzezinski urged him on:
“Go for it, we’ll see what happens.”
Scarborough reassured Halperin:
“You fall down I’m going to catch you.”
“I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.”
The hosts dissolved in giggles—shocked giggles when they learned that there had been no delay, “dick” had gone out on cable at exactly 6:02 am EDT. Halperin gave a total apology: “It was disrespectful, it was inappropriate, I shouldn’t have said it, blah blah blah.”
Shortly afterwards White House press secretary Jay Carney complained to MSNBC. MSNBC suspended Halperin indefinitely, apologizing “to the President, the White House and all of our viewers.”
Ethics Bob’s take:
- Halperin had it right the first time.
- It was a joke that went ever-so-slightly wrong.
- Joe and Mika were as much to blame as Halperin.
- MSNBC is gutless and unethical in their quick over-reaction and in their failure to defend freedom of expression
- Jay Carney was kind of a dick today.