A television commentator in America named Mark Halperin is in trouble for saying, on a morning chat show called Morning Joe, that President Obama behaved like “a bit of a dick” at his press conference the day earlier. The use of the D-word, transmitted live, has predictably generated a storm of protest in the United States. Now, while I concede that Halperin’s comment was neither the cleverest nor the politest use of the language one might expect from a man who makes a living from words, I’m not deeply offended by the vulgarism. What I found far more offensive was the behaviour of the show’s host, Joe Scarborough, and his co-anchor, a Mika Brzezinski, who egged Helperin on.
When a sheepish-looking Halperin asked whether the seven-second delay (a mechanism used on ‘live’ shows so that offensive words can be bleeped out) Scarborough responded, “Yeah, sure, come on, take a chance. Have faith.”
Brzezinski was not going to be left out: “Go for it. Let’s see what happens.”
Scarborough then added, “I’m behind you. You fall down, I’m gonna catch you.”
After Halperin had uttered The Word, Scarborough, pretending to be distraught, shrieked, “Oh, my God. Delay that. I can’t believe you. I was only joking. Don’t do that. Did we delay that?”
Scarborough then attacked the executive producer. “I can’t say what I think about him, he can’t push the button.”
Some catch, Joe. With friends like these….