Are We Turning the Corner?
When we were little kids most of us got a sharp reprimand for using “bad words” or insulting people in a mean-spirited way. Today? Mostly everyone looks the other way or tweets to keep the noise going.
It looked like there would be no “punishment”, at least initially, for MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin’s inappropriate comment on “Morning Joe” about President Obama and how he handled his news conference.
On air there is a famous seven second delay that has saved many a red faced interviewer or interviewee. Not this time. The wrong button was pushed and the world knew what Halpern thought of Obama’s presentation.
Was this done to up the ratings? I have read so many marketing books that say “any press, especially negative press is really good press”. In this world we have created, yes we have created, all the sound and fury, where anything goes and being a “celebrity”, having the famous fifteen minutes of fame is worth all the disrespect and insults the lines of civility and good taste are non-existent.
Here is where I think we may just be turning the corner. Halperin was quickly suspended from the station, indefinitely. So, one positive aspect of this situation is that language matters.
Even more important is that this well versed man apologized immediately and agreed that the punishment fits the crime.
He apologized to the President. He apologized to the station. I’m sure there are more apologies to family, friends and colleagues. Most important, he did not defend, explain or justify. He simply apologized.
Maybe we have overfull bellies with the shock value of the media. Maybe we are getting visceral negative reactions to our kids being so smart-mouthed and crude. Maybe we are all starving for some celery after gorging ourselves on too much hot fudge.
Thanks Mark Halperin for showing the courage to be accountable and then be quiet.