Opinion: Mark Halperin: Punish him, but what about Palin, Gingrich, Bachmann ...?


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There’s not much to say about journalist Mark Halperin’s off-color remark about President Obama on live television. He apologized, and MSNBC, which aired Halperin’s gaffe, swiftly suspended his contract.

But this whole episode does bring to light how the boundaries of acceptable commentary have certainly been pushed since Barack Obama started drawing the media’s attention several years back. Suggest that the president would subject your special-needs child to a Nazi-style euthanasia evaluation program? Have your paranoid rantings published in the Wall Street Journal and land a seven-figure commentator contract with Fox News. Hint that the president, who happens to have dark skin and a name that unsettles xenophobes, may in fact harbor some bizarre anti-colonial rage because his father was once a subject of the British empire? You’ve also got yourself a pricy Fox News contract, not to mention a podium at GOP presidential debates. In the meantime, refuse to forcefully condemn the fringe activists, who happen to hold considerable sway over your base, insisting that it isn’t your job to ‘tell the American people what to think.’


But call the president a bleep-worthy anatomical epithet on live television? Disgraceful, career-halting stuff!


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-- Paul Thornton