Thursday, June 30, 2011

Politics aside: How would you characterize the behavior of a guy who did not know the ages of his own daughters?

A guy called Mark Halperin, who contributes to the cable network MSNBC in some capacity, and to TIME magazine in another, called the current president "kind of a d*ck" today.
MSNBC senior political analyst Mark Halperin was suspended on Thursday by the cable network after he called President Obama “a d*ck” on a popular morning show and then quickly apologized.

“I thought he was a kind of a dick yesterday,” Halperin, who also is an editor-at large for Time, said on Morning Joe, referring to the President’s conduct during his press conference.
Both MSNBC and Mr. Halperin himself apologized. Then TIME magazine issued a statement claiming that Mr. Halperin's comments in no way reflect the feelings of that august publication.

Politico has video of the incident. Please note that Mr. Halperin prefaced his remark by telling the director to get ready to use the 7-second delay. Apparently, even with the warning, whoever was working the board at MSNBC was too inept to hit the button in time:



So MSNBC should apologize, and the director who couldn't press a button should be suspended. But an analyst suspended for giving his opinion? Isn't that what analysts are supposed to do?

Aside: You'll note that the video embedded above is titled "Halperin's Obama gaffe and apology." Merriam Webster defines a "gaffe" as,
1: a social or diplomatic blunder
2: a noticeable mistake
Maybe Mr. Halperin's remarks -- which he prefaced by warning there would be vulgarity -- could be considered a "diplomatic blunder" (although why a political analyst's expression of his opinion should be considered a "diplomatic blunder" is beyond me). But it was certainly not a "mistake." He clearly meant to say that the president acted like a d*ck at his press conference.

Note also that Mr. Halperin was referring to the president's behavior at one press conference. Before making his "d*ck" comment, he says, "I want to characterize how I thought the president behaved."

So he did not, as Politico claims, call the president a d*ck. He said that the president behaved like a d*ck. Everyone, it doesn't matter who they are, behaves like a d*ck sometimes.

Let's leave aside all the political and moral issues addressed during the press conference to which Mr. Halperin was referring. The president mentioned his daughters. Twice, he mentioned their ages. And twice, he got one of their ages wrong:



His daughters are actually 12 and 10. Not 13 and 10. One of them turns 13 on July 4th, but July 4th isn't until Monday, so she's still only 12.

How would you characterize the behavior of a man who doesn't know how old his own daughters are? I don't think Mr. Halperin was far off.

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