After Time’s Mark Halperin referred to the President of the United States as a “dick” Thursday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough made it clear that he helped orchestrate the incident.
Scarborough set Halperin up by asking him about yesterday’s press conference where President Barack Obama scolded Republicans for not raising the debt ceiling.
“Are we on the seven-second delay?” Halperin asked.
“Yeah, sure,” Scarborough said. “Come on. Take a chance.”
“I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday,” Halperin announced with smile.
Following the commercial break, Scarborough admitted he was complicit in the stunt.
“I’m sorry. It was a joke,” he confessed. “We made the joke before the show about the seven-second delay and we were going to try it out.”
“Joking aside, this is not a pro forma apology, it’s an absolute apology, heartfelt to the president and the viewers,” Halperin said. “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. As I said, I apologize to the president and to the viewers who heard me say that.”
Washington Monthly‘s Steve Benen noted that the Morning Joe crew was probably upset that Obama didn’t appear “docile and conciliatory” towards Republicans in Congress.
“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,” Benen wrote.
Update: MSNBC has suspended Halperin indefinitely.
“Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable,” MSNBC said in a statement. “We apologize to the president, the White House and all of our views. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.”
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast June 30, 2011.
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