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Did he get fired for using the word dick, or for calling the president a dick?
June 30, 2011 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Mark Halperin, currently of influential political site The Page, founder of groundbreaking Washingtonian blog, The Note, has been a journalist and political analyst for twenty years. Until yesterday, he was a popular talking head at the MSNBC network. Halperin drew criticism and landed himself out of a job after calling President Obama "a dick" on the air. Reactions are delightfully mixed. Of course, Halperin has already apologized.
posted by msali (87 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
You know what? I always thought he was the same guy as Mark Helprin. Damn, too bad it's not that guy.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:52 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, the suspension is ridiculous. "Dick" is a commonly accepted term, like it or not.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:53 PM on June 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Has he been fired? I thought he was just indefinitely suspended?
posted by Jahaza at 2:54 PM on June 30, 2011


Halperin has always been a douchebag. Not that there is a problem with him calling Obama a "Dick" if he wants too
posted by delmoi at 2:56 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I long for the day and age when calling someone a "dick" was not an acceptable part of public discourse.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:58 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I long for the day and age when calling someone a "dick" was not an acceptable part of public discourse.

You long for today?
posted by theodolite at 2:59 PM on June 30, 2011 [19 favorites]


Media reports on media.
posted by BeerFilter at 3:01 PM on June 30, 2011


Damn, too bad it's not that guy.

I agree I disagree with that guy's essay, but why should you want to conflate the two?

"Dick" is a commonly accepted term, like it or not.


Not in Casa Jones it ain't. There, it's a paddlin'
posted by IndigoJones at 3:01 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know which I hate more: That a commentator got in trouble for calling someone a dick (he didn't even call Obama a dick, BTW, he said he thought Obama had acted like a dick),or that he made a statement he obviously believed and then immediately tried to disown it. Very chickenshit.

It also kinda sucks that, had the new producer known how to use the 7-second delay - which is a pretty important one of his duties, I would think - no one would have had the chance to be "offended".
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:03 PM on June 30, 2011


You won't have Dick Obama to kick around any more.
posted by box at 3:04 PM on June 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


This whole thing is stupid. Dude deliberately asked if the 7 second delay was working, WAS TOLD IT WAS...then went ahead with the rightful expectation he'd be bleeped. So who's zoomin who here?
posted by spicynuts at 3:06 PM on June 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


There are many comparisons to what was said about W, and let's face it, there are lot's of hypocrites out there. What, Smirking Chimp is OK but it's racist when Obama is portrayed as an ape?

But here, we come up against good old Puritan standards. "Fascist" might be a hard-core insult, and it was applied to Bush thousands of times. (Calling Obama a Socialist is just stupid.) But bring genitalia into it, even though the term "dick" has lost some of its power...like "jerk," still, it's not OK to call someone a dick - or even an asshole - on TV. Television broadcasting has the strictest (and most retrograde) standards of all the media.

I, too, just discovered that Mark Helprin and Mark Helperin were two different people!
posted by kozad at 3:07 PM on June 30, 2011


"I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday" (YT clip, with audio and video out of sync). A bit of context, and the news Presidential news conference (67:31 long video; transcript).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:08 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Dick" is a commonly accepted term, like it or not.

Not at most workplaces. Not at many dinner tables. And if I were paying somebody a salary for their ability to express opinions on television, then yeah, I'd expect a higher bar of invective than "dick" or "asshole." It's not that you would deserve to be strung up for using the word, but maybe a job in professional articulation isn't your speed.
posted by cribcage at 3:09 PM on June 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


It wasn't just that he called the President a dick, but that he did it in a deliberately disrespectful way. He slyly asked about the 7 second delay first, and whether it was working, and then went ahead and said what he said.

If he had let it slip out and then frantically apologized, that would be one thing, but he knew full well what he was doing, he shouldn't have done it to begin with, but once done he should have just accepted responsibility for it. As it is, he just comes off like a dick.
posted by ged at 3:09 PM on June 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


And at least he didn't punch Obama (not really obligatory Penny Arcade).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:09 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


He didn't respect the dicknity of the office.
posted by Trurl at 3:11 PM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I find this funny mostly because Halperin himself consistently comes across as kind of a dick (I'm a habitual MSNBC watcher, including Morning Joe). But it's certainly not something to be suspended or fired over, if he said "jerk" which pretty much means the same thing in this context nothing would have come of it, so it's just people freaking out over a word.
posted by palidor at 3:13 PM on June 30, 2011


Halperin is a demonstrably incompetent hack as a political analyst. Anything that gets/keeps him off the air is a good step, imho.
posted by darkstar at 3:15 PM on June 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Mark Helprin is a great novelist with insane right-wing political views.

Mark Halperin is a douchebag Matt Drudge wannabe.
posted by goethean at 3:17 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personally I think the worst part of all this will be that his firing will be seen as a cause célèbre among right wing pundits in their never ending attempts to show the MSM as intolerably biased liberals (particularly MSNBC).
posted by vuron at 3:18 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is he being suspended for calling Obama a dick or because he used the word "dick" on the air? If the former, seriously? There are things that you could call Obama that would qualify as a firing offense (I'm sure y'all can use your imagination), but "dick" isn't one of them. If the latter, well, okay. If that's the rule they have then that's fine.

I totally support the right of dickheads everywhere to call Obama a dick.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:18 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I always thought Cheney was a dick.
posted by Sailormom at 3:18 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


But he co-wrote Game Change, the most important political work of the decade, no, the century!
posted by palidor at 3:19 PM on June 30, 2011


'Kind of a dick'? That's news? Our last VP was always a dick.
posted by grounded at 3:20 PM on June 30, 2011


I should note I find his co-author to be pleasant and not dick-ish at all.
posted by palidor at 3:20 PM on June 30, 2011


Did he get fired for using the word dick, or for calling the president a dick?

Sounds like he got fired for being a dick.
posted by incster at 3:23 PM on June 30, 2011


What was it that Obama supposedly did that made him kind of a dick yesterday?
posted by stbalbach at 3:23 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do you Americans waste your time watching such childish nonsense? Seriously, that show looks like a bunch of 12 year olds goofing off in Civics class. No wonder this country is in such trouble.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:24 PM on June 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


As much as you all think that "dick" isn't offensive, I assure you that a vast number of Americans think it is.

You don't get to say things like that about the President, any President, and stay in your job as a political analyst.
posted by ged at 3:26 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


What was it that Obama supposedly did that made him kind of a dick yesterday?

Bombing Libya but ignoring Syria?
posted by KokuRyu at 3:30 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do you Americans waste your time watching such childish nonsense? Seriously, that show looks like a bunch of 12 year olds goofing off in Civics class. No wonder this country is in such trouble.

Don't worry, people don't watch Morning Joe. It's way worse, they watch Fox and Friends.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:31 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


What was it that Obama supposedly did that made him kind of a dick yesterday?

I believe this "dick move" was in response to Obama's press conference comments on negotiations to raise the debt ceiling.
posted by Trurl at 3:33 PM on June 30, 2011


It's astonishing to me that THIS is what gets a pundit thrown out on their ear. The networks get called out constantly on blatantly false statements made by all these clowns and they shrug and say they're entertainers and commentators, they aren't held to the standard of news folks.

So lie lie lie all the day through but BY GROD DON'T YOU DARE DISRESPECT THE DISCOURSE BY USING THE WORD DICK.

What a fucking joke.
posted by phearlez at 3:33 PM on June 30, 2011 [27 favorites]


I watch Morning Joe and enjoy it. Good to know my indulging in childish nonsense is putting the country in trouble.
posted by palidor at 3:34 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


But he co-wrote Game Change, the most important political work of the decade, no, the century!

Serious question: is there a better book on the 2008 elections (because I'd love to read it).
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:35 PM on June 30, 2011


Also I vote this thread goes the wacky zany route and we all be silly instead of it turning into another excuse for people to whine about the state of politics in the U.S.
posted by palidor at 3:35 PM on June 30, 2011


"Did you hear Mark Halperin pulled a knife on President Obama this morning?" "No, he just called him a dick." -Fast Times at MSNBC
- James Urbaniak
posted by birdherder at 3:36 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a tempest in a teapot. Another way to manufacture outrage in a situation where very little is warranted. Weiner's over, a month away from economic meltdown, and this is our turmoil of the moment -- the fact that a dickhead like Halperin was caught on camera calling Obama a dick.

ged: It wasn't just that he called the President a dick, but that he did it in a deliberately disrespectful way

Is there a respectful way to call someone a "dick" in your neck of the woods?

As it is, he just comes off like a dick.

He is a dick of the nth magnitude. This was common knowledge long before he uttered a potty word on cable TV.

anigbrowl: Why do you Americans waste your time watching such childish nonsense?

Beacuse we're STOOPUD AMURRKUNS! Durrrr!
posted by blucevalo at 3:36 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why do you Americans waste your time watching such childish nonsense? Seriously, that show looks like a bunch of 12 year olds goofing off in Civics class. No wonder this country is in such trouble.

Hey, that's MISTER bunch of 12 year olds goofing off in Civics class to you, thank you very much!
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:37 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


kozad: What, Smirking Chimp is OK but it's racist when Obama is portrayed as an ape?

Yes.
posted by tzikeh at 3:37 PM on June 30, 2011 [24 favorites]


Ha, Urbaniak uses Dr. Venture for his Twitter icon yay
posted by palidor at 3:37 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's all talk about how great Venture Bros. is
posted by palidor at 3:37 PM on June 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Go Team Halperin!
posted by palidor at 3:38 PM on June 30, 2011


He should have saved that sort of insight for "Real Time with Bill Maher." I think a little decorum is expected on MSNBC, especially when talking about the president. As much as someone like Rachel Maddow abhored Bush and Cheney, she never called them genital slang.
posted by Renoroc at 3:39 PM on June 30, 2011


There are many comparisons to what was said about W, and let's face it, there are lot's of hypocrites out there. What, Smirking Chimp is OK but it's racist when Obama is portrayed as an ape?

Were there any on-air political commentators, left or right, on major networks, who called Bush a smirking chimp? Seriously asking here. I very much doubt it happened, but I could be wrong. (

Yeah a lot of bloggers and online commenters and random people at political rallies called Bush all kinds of shit. But did Keith Oberman say anything like that? Did Rachel Maddow? Did...OK, I can't think of another leftie who appears regularly on TV...Michael Moore maybe?
posted by PlusDistance at 3:39 PM on June 30, 2011


OMG how awesome would it be if they replaced Hank and Dean with Heilemann and Halperin!?
posted by palidor at 3:40 PM on June 30, 2011


What, Smirking Chimp is OK but it's racist when Obama is portrayed as an ape?

You really think that there's no racism inherent in portraying a black man as an ape? Incredible.
posted by blucevalo at 3:40 PM on June 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's classic misdirection, doing something about something that doesn't need anything done about it, so that when you're called to task you have something to point to. It's not la-la land we live in. The media are cynical. It's a business. It's not idealistic. It's about power.
posted by facetious at 3:42 PM on June 30, 2011


A little surprising to see so many here weighing in with the opinion that calling the president—any president—a dick on national TV is a perfectly acceptable thing for a professional journalist to do. How far is going too far, then? Or is that an outdated concept? Can I look forward to seeing Ted Koppel break out a telestrator in the middle of a broadcast to draw tiny penises going in and out of the mouths of various prominent statesmen and foreign dignitaries?
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:51 PM on June 30, 2011


From the "NewsBusters" link ("Exposing & Combating Liberal Media Bias!"): While calling any president the D-word is probably not showing the proper respect for the office, it has to be asked where does it rank compared to essentially accusing a president of mass murder and war crimes?

That depends. Is said president guilty of mass murder and warcrimes?
posted by The Bellman at 3:51 PM on June 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


"That guy's a major league asshole. "
"Oh yeah, he is, big time."
posted by entropicamericana at 3:53 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a major tool.

And yes, I think speaking like this, in the media or not, is horrendously, shamrefully disrespectful.
posted by newdaddy at 3:55 PM on June 30, 2011


A little surprising to see so many here weighing in with the opinion that calling the president—any president—a dick on national TV is a perfectly acceptable thing for a professional journalist to do.

Well, there's a few things to unpack here. I don't think a professional journalist should necessarily be calling anyone a dick on national TV. But I disagree with the phrasing, "it is simply unacceptable to call the president of the United States--or any president--a dick", which implies that it might be acceptable for Halperin to call someone else who's not the president a dick.

If he's not supposed to say "dick" on air, that's fine, fine or fire him, them's the breaks when one tries to be a pale imitation of edgy. But I reject the implication that the president is owed some modicum of respect by the press that is not owed to anyone else. I think the press would be well-served to adopt a standard of respect across the board, but I do not think that certain people should be respected and others not in this type of public forum.
posted by Errant at 3:58 PM on June 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Shamefully.
posted by newdaddy at 3:58 PM on June 30, 2011


Why do you Americans waste your time watching such childish nonsense?

The political press in the US has been so cowed by accusations of bias that they're afraid to hold our politicians accountable on matters of importance, so they instead focus their attentions on the trivial. It's much easier to give tabloidesque coverage to bastard children, dicks, and people who say "dick" than it is to challenge the completely unfounded notion that deficit reduction can improve the state of our economy.
posted by gngstrMNKY at 3:59 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I believe this "dick move" was in response to Obama's press conference comments on negotiations to raise the debt ceiling.

If that's the case, I wish Obama would be more of a dick.
posted by The Bellman at 3:59 PM on June 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


A little surprising to see so many here weighing in with the opinion that calling the president—any president—a dick on national TV is a perfectly acceptable thing for a professional journalist to do. How far is going too far, then? Or is that an outdated concept?

When a succession of Presidents routinely violate the Constitution and unashamedly put their personal and partisan interests ahead of the country's interests, it's inevitable that respect for the dignity of that office declines.

I think we all hoped in 1973 that Dick Nixon was an aberration. As it turned out he was a model for Presidential illegality (Iran Contra), lying (Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman"), undermining of the Constitution (John Woo; and whatever the fuck that still hasn't been revealed that caused Comey to threaten to resign), and illegal "unitary executive" power grabs (Obama's Libyan non-War).

You may expect Romans to salute a Consul or even a Caesar, but not Little Bootsie's horse Incitatas.
posted by orthogonality at 4:09 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


'It seems wrong, to me, that in a conversation involving Joe Scarborough and Mark Halperin, a third party was somehow called a "dick,"'

Heehee!
posted by dirigibleman at 4:14 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let's all talk about how great Venture Bros. is

Isn't it, though?
posted by KokuRyu at 4:15 PM on June 30, 2011


I have no problem with anyone calling Obama a dick. I'd disagree mind you and in any case I'd prefer a more eloquent statement to disagree with but hey, knock yourself out.
posted by Skorgu at 4:15 PM on June 30, 2011


I'm with orthogonality. That Nixon fella was a real Dick.
posted by Floydd at 4:17 PM on June 30, 2011


Opposition to my "Smirking Chimp" comparison to the (much less common) portrayal of Obama as apish has prompted more favorites than any other comment in this thread, so let me explain.

Yes, you are right. Portraying an African-American man as an ape does have more racial connotations than does showing Bush as an ape. But isn't it true that lampooning Obama pictorially is more offensive to Democrats than was making fun of Bush's big ears? Can't we all agree that making fun of the President is OK? Even if it's the Other Side?
posted by kozad at 4:23 PM on June 30, 2011


I'm not aware of any liberal campaign to ban political cartoons.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:24 PM on June 30, 2011


Best possible outcome: "Mr. Halperin? White House on line 3."
posted by boo_radley at 4:25 PM on June 30, 2011


What would have been wrong with replacing "dick" with "jerk"?

"Obama acted like a jerk"

Seems like a simple substitution. If you're going for shock factor, call him a "diva" or something.
posted by SirOmega at 4:26 PM on June 30, 2011


But isn't it true that lampooning Obama pictorially is more offensive to Democrats than was making fun of Bush's big ears?

It should be more offensive to pretty much anyone, because in one case it is racist and in the other case it is not.
posted by mek at 4:27 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


For me, the Bush/monkey thing was not that he looked like an ape, per se, but that he was stupid and had a stupid little smile and with the ears he looked like a stupid stuffed monkey.

Obama/monkey thing is racism. Racism isn't based on fact. The idea that Bush is stupid and had a stupid little smile is.

Also, yeah, Obama was dickish in his comments, esp re: his daughters doing their homework. I loved it. Every single moment. He was caustically funny. I wish I could hear him talk to John Boehner like that every day.

Nonetheless, I do worry about the debt ceiling. Because we have a bunch of lunatics in the house and to a lesser degree in the senate, people who seem to enjoy this game of chicken -- fuck, the GOP talking point of the morning was a Constitutional balanced budget amendment, ffs.

And it strikes me that with lunatics such as these, Obama might have been a little less scold-y.
posted by angrycat at 4:36 PM on June 30, 2011


Why exactly was the Secret Service's nick for Obama '44' before the election?
posted by jamjam at 4:48 PM on June 30, 2011


What does being a dick even mean anymore. I can't tell if it is a pejorative or praise. Vulgar certainly, but was it really worth firing the guy over.
posted by humanfont at 4:55 PM on June 30, 2011


Call me old-fashioned, but I don't see what's so "offensive" about comparing someone to a detective.
posted by jeremy b at 5:11 PM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Catch me now I'm falling"
posted by Red Loop at 5:16 PM on June 30, 2011


I guess we're living in a Dicktatorship.
posted by jonmc at 5:27 PM on June 30, 2011


The Republicans try to stall out the Congress to drive the country into default and the economy crashes so they can win an election, and everyone talks about whether OBAMA is a dick? and about how some pundit (who did write a good book, by the way) called Obama a dick and got his wrist slapped? And let me repeat that first part in case you got distracted again: the Republicans try to stall out the Congress to drive the country into default and the economy crashes so they can win an election.
posted by tommyD at 6:00 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


@anigbrowl--what a tacky comment. You do not like the program OK but the "you Americans" is meaningless. Some Americans watch it (I do) most do not. I also watch news in Ireland, where I live part of the year, and the UK where I used to do consulting. The TV news I have watched there is often neither substantial nor entertaining--unlike the newspapers. In fact the highlights of the TV news seems to be reading the headlines and stories in the morning papers. Regardless, I do not say why do you watch that ......--no wonder your country is so screwed up. One thing I have learned, there no longer is an "American" just as their is no "European".
posted by rmhsinc at 6:07 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Republicans try to stall out the Congress to drive the country into default and the economy crashes so they can win an election, and everyone talks about whether OBAMA is a dick?

QFT again, dude.
posted by darkstar at 6:10 PM on June 30, 2011


Apparently the debt ceiling is unconstitutional.
posted by humanfont at 6:24 PM on June 30, 2011


Political insults
posted by Vibrissae at 6:28 PM on June 30, 2011


Why do you Americans waste your time watching such childish nonsense?

Yeah, Americans! Why can't your media consumption be as unimpeachable as the rest of the world's?!
posted by DrGirlfriend at 6:38 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


A little surprising to see so many here weighing in with the opinion that calling the president—any president—a dick on national TV is a perfectly acceptable thing for a professional journalist to do.

It's certainly not a prudent thing to do, for a number of reasons, and I'm sure he's smart enough to have come up with a more clever way of putting it. But of course shock value—and strong rhetoric—was the point. These guys are hired to skirt the line, to say potentially inflammatory things and make bold statements in the course of their political commentary in order to gain and maintain an audience. It's like watching extreme sports. That's half the point of hiring talking heads for a TV news commentary show—why else would anyone bother to tune into something so low-bandwidth as a TV show to get political commentary? I think today's plugged-in audiences tune in to TV to hear something new, something immediate—and apparently this was just a little too new and immediate for TV-land.

Here's the thing: I work in journalism. I wouldn't go on TV or any other public-facing medium and say what Halperin said. But I don't do what he does. Given the context, given the nature of TV news commentary, why would we be surprised that this talking head stepped over a line? Who cares? Aren't we beyond being scandalized by stuff like this? I get email forwards from my grandmother that are more inflammatory than what he said. Granted, what people say in emails—and what they've long said in back rooms—tends to differ from what's acceptable to say in public. But I think we're way beyond the point where those traditional lines started to blur.

So then you have to think about the back story. First, of course, yes, it's customary to respect the president—respect the position if not the person if you must, regardless of who you are, and if you've been hired to sit in the "credentialed journalist" chair, you'd do well to put on the right public face, too. But that's just it—I wonder if this is less about decorum than it is about old-school journalism "politics of access." Is MSNBC worried that its correspondents will be kicked to the back of the room at press conferences if they don't discipline or disown this guy? That President Obama won't call on their guys and they'll be kicked off the press email list if they don't take care of the "problem"? Or is it about a new-school kind of problem—the fact that anything a talking head says on national TV will be immediately tweeted and retweeted and dissected by other news organizations endlessly and inescapably? As The Washington Post's Greg Sargent points out, there are so many unwritten rules of journalism and public political discourse that come into play with this, both in the way Halperin said what he said and in the way MSNBC handled it, it's ridiculous.

And that's the other thing: Maybe part of the subtext here is the fact that Halperin's most recent direct journalism experience has been on blogs and news websites. Not to say that he's any sort of babe in the woods, but more that he's probably used to saying the kinds of things you can say on a website, as opposed to the things you can say on a TV network, and that he was likely hired by MSNBC specifically to be that guy. Moreover, I haven't read his writing, but I would guess he's probably used to being able to riff off of the format he's working in, to add subtext like so and take advantage of other metacontextual cues, which obviously backfires when your subtext isn't bleeped or in strike-thru hypertext. You don't get that many words on TV—again, the bandwidth problem—and there isn't a lot of room to backpedal. So did he genuinely expect to be bleeped? Or did he figure the jokey comment about being bleeped would cover it, however it was taken? Or is it that he's so absorbed the mores of online discourse that taking that next step—from saying the president's acting disingenuous to saying he's acting like a dick—struck him as just a matter of ramping up the rhetoric, rather than a potentially fireable offense? There are lots of interesting questions here.

I long for the day and age when calling someone a "dick" was not an acceptable part of public discourse.

I'm not looking forward to the coming days of idiocracy any more than you are, but I think that ship has sailed.
posted by limeonaire at 6:58 PM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just watched the video and I'm not sure who was worse - Mark Halperin, acting coy and pretentious or Joe Scarborough with his faux shock. Frankly I wanted to smack both of them upside the head.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 7:08 PM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not looking forward to the coming days of idiocracy any more than you are, but I think that ship has sailed.

Bon voyage!

Brown photoshopped the late Princess Diana onto the July 4 cover of Newsweek next to Kate Middleton, and the accompanying cover story by Brown imagines what the people's princess, who would've turned 50 on July 1, would have been like had she lived. Inside, there's another photo illustration of a resurrected Diana clutching an iPhone.
posted by Trurl at 7:11 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why exactly was the Secret Service's nick for Obama '44' before the election?

What?

His code name has always been Renegade.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:14 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


A little surprising to see so many here weighing in with the opinion that calling the president—any president—a dick on national TV is a perfectly acceptable thing for a professional journalist to do

But he's not a journalist. I don't say that to be cute - that is exactly the position that the news media has taken whenever issues of accuracy are raised regarding what's said on these shows. They've said that they do not hold the folks on these shows to the same standards they do their news readers. Fox explicitly stated that the rules and expectations are different for Shepherd Smith than Bill O'Reilly.

Personally I don't subscribe to the view from nowhere and I think the attitude that outright falsehoods from these folks are okay because there's opinion mixed in. But that's the position the news media is pushing here - these people are not journalists, they're entertainers.

So who cares if they call someone a nasty name? They passed "acceptable" miles back as far as I'm concerned. If they are existing in a job where it's acceptable to ascribe all these other offensive and insulting accusations of politicians - socialist, bigot, thief, etc - why is this statement of opinion about someone'd demeanor suddenly not okay? Because it means the same thing as the male sex organ?

It's deck chairs on the Titanic to sweat that.
posted by phearlez at 12:48 PM on July 1, 2011


Why exactly was the Secret Service's nick for Obama '44' before the election?

What?

His code name has always been Renegade.


True. I think they get it on the campaign trail and keep it. (Sarah Palin is Denali and Todd Palin is Driller, lol.)

Interestingly enough (I'm kinda making this up), George W. Bush is one of the few (only) presidents to have 2 nicknames, because he is the son of a former president. Prior to his election, he was Tumbler. Post, he was Trailblazer. (On a quick google, Jimmy Carter may have been both the Deacon (awesome) and the Lock Master (awesomer)).

Smurfette
posted by mrgrimm at 2:55 PM on July 1, 2011


But he's not a journalist.

Exactly. He's an opinionator, which is clearly allowed (and revered) on cable TV news, and "dick" is certainly within the mainstream vernacular. It's a name of a president, for goodness sake.

A perjorative use of "dick" is nothing to celebrate, but it's less offensive than "bitch"

... or "How do we beat the bitch?" or "she's the stereotypical bitch, you know what I mean?" or "piece of shit" or "worthless bitch"

Anyway, it's something that should be internal policy for the network. It's a common word, so it should be on a list of "OK to say" or "not OK to say" words to be fair to your hosts. Other than that, it's an internal network issue to me.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:03 PM on July 1, 2011


Of all the people in D.C. to accuse of being a dick, he picks Barack "I don't want to offend anybody" Obama?

Halperin shouldn't be fired for using the word. He should fired for having shitty aim.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 3:16 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


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