Time editor-at-large Mark Halperin was suspended Thursday by MSNBC for uttering a vulgarity about President Barack Obama. Now, a reader brings to my attention this 2008 piece from the Boston Phoenix, which reports that Halperin, in an interview with Barbara Walters on her Sirius XM Radio show, actually referred to presidential hopeful Obama employing another (yes, equally offensive) vulgarity.
Here's Adam Reilly's piece at the time; Reilly lays out the context, and then criticizes Halperin for the use of the word.
Dubious quote of the day: Halperin on Edwards on Obama Published Feb 12 2008, 10:22 PM by Adam Reilly 20
Sirius Radio just sent out a press release with some excerpts from last night's Barbara Live, featuring world-famous journalist Barbara Walters. My assumption is that Sirius is proud of the dialog that took place between Walters, her cohost Bill Geddie, and Mark Halperin, Time's senior political analyst, who joined Walters and Geddie to discuss the presidential campaign. But should you really be proud of this?
HALPERIN [discussing John Edwards' potential endorsement of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama]: I can tell you, he's really skeptical of her ability to be the kind of president he wants. But, he kinda thinks Obama is...he thinks Obama is kind of a --...He has real questions about Obama's toughness, his readiness for the office.
There you have it! Here are my questions:
1. Suppose Edwards told Halperin he questions Obama's toughness, but didn't actually use the word "--." Should Halperin really introduce it to describe Edwards' point of view?
2. Suppose instead that Edwards actually used that phrase himself--that he told Halperin or someone he knows that Obama is "kind of a --." In repeating the phrase for a broader audience, might Halperin be doing Edwards' pre-Clinton-endorsement dirty work for him?
3. I know satellite radio is freewheeling and everything, but does Time really want its staffers using the word "--" in their guest appearances?
4. Coming on the heels of the pimped-out-Chelsea debacle, is this some sort of Machiavellian effort by by Halperin/Sirius/Walters to increase their visibility?
Yes, an apology was forthcoming.
“I'm sorry. In a live radio interview this week, I used a word I shouldn't have. The fact that I was conveying other people's words is no excuse for my lapse in judgment. It won't happen again.” -- Mark Halperin
Here's the link to the original transcript.