Did Time’s Mark Halperin receive punishment that fit the crime? In The Daily Beast, journalist Judith Miller and pollster Doug Schoen write that no, he did not. Halperin of course called President Obama a “dick” on “Morning Joe” last week.
Miller and Schoen argue that the bigger problem was the fact that The White House apparently told MSNBC that it believed Halperin’s comments were inappropriate. Of course, the pair are not exactly neutral observers, as both appear regularly on Fox News Channel.
[H]is mistake was not so egregious as to require an indefinite suspension or even suspension or punishment at all. Time magazine’s editors stood by their man, kind of, sort of. While they called their political editor’s comments on MSNBC “inappropriate and in no way reflective of Time’s views,” and said that the magazine had issued him a warning that such behavior was “unacceptable,” Halperin had “appropriately apologized on air, via Twitter and on The Page.” Enough was enough.
But then again, maybe the White House didn’t get around to calling Time.
Indeed, the fact that NBC appears to be taking its cues from the White House and effectively chilling speech it finds objectionable speaks volumes about the state of political discourse and dialogue in America. That should trouble Americans more than Halperin’s potty mouth or an MSNBC producer’s inability to push the proper button.