It’s just after 9 a.m. and the morning is already dripping with apologies and regret.
Shortly after 6 a.m., TIME‘s Mark Halperin called President Obama a d*ck on “Morning Joe.” Politico‘s Andy Barr and Patrick Gavin were first in Washington to tweet on the matter. “I thought he was a d*ck yesterday,” Halperin told the morning panel. Scarborough immediately called out for a delay. “Delay that, delay that,” he said. Not even an hour later the apologies began flowing and at 7:07 a.m. a full story appeared on Politico‘s website by Tim Mak. Halperin took “full responsibility” for his gaffe and apologized.
But on cable TV one apology is never enough, as evidenced by Ed Schultz‘s recent on-air apology fest to Conservative Commentator Laura Ingraham for calling her “a slut.” Just after 8 a.m. more apologies ensued on “Morning Joe.” This time, however, it was more of a family apology as the entire show took responsibility for Halperin’s use of profanity. “We goaded you into saying it, we didn’t think you were going to say it,” co-host Mika Brzezinksi reasoned. At this point viewers listening closely could hear an audible and defensive “Well…” out of co-host Joe Scarborough, who then trailed the others into a sort of collectively awkward apology zone and said Halperin wanted to be “totally clear.”
This set the stage for yet another Halperin apology: “I want to be totally clear. I can’t explain why I did it. It was inappropriate. It was disrespectful. I’ve already apologized. I will again to the President and say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to viewers. It was the kind of thing that I can’t really explain, but I take full responsibility for it. It was a mistake and as I said, disrespectful, and I shouldn’t have said it.”
Scarborough interjected, “And Mika and I certainly apologize to the viewers.”
But Halperin wasn’t done. He had more to add. “What I said was disrespectful to the President, but it also lowers our discourse and coarsens our discourse and it’s just not appropriate on any level,” he said.
Scarborough also soon jumped back on the apology boat. “This was a mistake on a variety of levels,” he continued. “We all share it and we all apologize.” The camera then turned to co-host Willie Geist, who also, inexplicably, apologized. “We pride ourselves on not being that kind of show,” he said in what was assumed to be a wrap-up of the apology segment. “Today there was a slip by Mark Halperin. He’s a great reporter, and we won’t bore you with the whole back story, but he didn’t intend to say it on television. We apologize for the entire show.”
Next up: Apologies from the control room. Let’s begin with Alex, the employee likely to get a severe seven-second delay button training later today: Scarborough: “Just say you’re sorry, Alex.” Alex, with obvious fright in his voice, dutifully replied, “I’m profoundly sorry as well.” But Scarborough couldn’t leave it alone and this was probably the most comical part of Apologalooza. “What about TJ? We usually blame TJ for everything.”
The camera panned to a rather unemotional TJ in the control room.
“Sure, I’m sorry,” he said, in what was the most lackluster apology of the show.
UPDATE: MSNBC has suspended Halperin indefinitely.