When I first saw that Mark Halperin was indefinitely suspended from Morning Joe for on air that Obama was “a dick,” I thought it was a rather classic case of projection.
Then I read Greg Sargent, who reminded me that of all the reasons to push this most sour face of Beltway smuggery off the air, saying a dirty bad word wasn’t it:
Halperin’s use of an expletive is trivial 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.
And why did Halperin deem Obama a “dick”? As Sargent writes, Halperin had been arguing “that Obama somehow stepped over some kind of line in aggressively calling out the GOP for refusing to allow any revenues in a debt ceiling deal.”
Halperin has been the haughty dispenser of pinched political pronouncements for a long time now. (Pronouncements that are often simply wrong, says Alex Pareene. And so it might be too much to hope that his suspension—for whatever reason—will last for more than a week or two. But, boy, it’d be nice to have breakfast without him.