A Citizen’s Open Letter to MSNBC


I noted that you reacted with extraordinary swiftness in suspending indefinitely senior political analyst and TIME Magazine editor-at-large Mark Halperin for using sexual slang to describe the president’s behavior during his press conference on June 29th.

I understand your response, even if it was aided by a call from the White House Press Office.

After all, Mr. Halperin, a political analyst and journalist of long standing, certainly has the vocabulary to find a single word to describe imperious, condescending, divisive, arrogant and lecturing without disrespecting the office with intemperate language.

Now that you have set the bar for the type of language you will tolerate on-air, I await the flood of suspensions sure to come when the hosts or guests of your programs use a certain sexual slur to describe the tens of millions of everyday Americans in the Tea Party movement.

These regular folks, while not occupying the White House, are of an even higher standing in that they are the employers of the man in the White House, the men and women in the U.S. Congress, and practically everyone in the federal government, since they pay the bills. I’m sure you’d agree they are worthy of respect, too.

They don’t have a press representative with a fancy title or a podium adorned with the presidential seal, however, so I am humbly speaking on their behalf.

While you’re at it, have your suspension slips at the ready for when a host or guest of MSNBC refers to a conservative woman using terms that, in the private sector, a.k.a. the real world, would result in them being fired on the spot.

As a corporation, I presume you have the same strict standards in your workplace as thousands of other corporate and government workplaces, and that you’re dedicated to treating women in your employ with dignity and respect.

It would be sporting of you to enforce that high level of integrity and ethics with your broadcast team and their guests as well.

By no means am I suggesting you cease your criticism of those political figures with whom you disagree. You’re “leaning forward,” after all, so keep doing that thing you do.

Since you’ve demonstrated, however, how swiftly you can act when a politician you favor has been slurred, we non-elitist, everyday Americans now know you could act equally as swiftly should similarly inappropriate language be used to describe any public figure, regardless of ideology.

In fact, we the people expect it.