MSNBC Reporter Begrudgingly Apologizes For Chelsea "Pimp" Comment
"Nothing justifies the kind of debasing language that David Shuster used and no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient," Clinton wrote to NBC News President Steve Capus, who apparently had already called Clinton to personally apologize. "I would urge you to look at the pattern of behavior on your network that seems to repeatedly lead to this sort of degrading language," Clinton wrote. "There's a lot at stake for our country in this election. Surely, you can do your jobs as journalists and commentators and still keep the discourse civil and appropriate."UPDATE 11:30 PM EST:
Keith Olbermann apologized to the Clintons on behalf of MSNBC during Friday's Countdown, calling Shuster's comment "utterly inappropriate and indefensible." Watch Olbermann tell the Clintons, "We are, literally, dreadfully sorry."
Politico's Michael Calderone reports that David Shuster initially defended his statements in an email exchange with Clinton campaign spokesman Philippe Reines. An excerpt:
From: David Shuster
To: Philippe Reines
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 8:51 p.m.
Nice to hear from you, philippe.
It is a fact that chelsea has made calls to superdelegates, as your campaign colleagues have acknowledged. It is also a fact that the campaign has reacted quite harshly to any media who have sought to interview chelsea. That was the point. By slamming any reporter who seeks to chat with chelsea while simultaneously having chelsea do campaign tasks such as trying to convince super delegates to support her mom, that's the reference.
Chelsea is polite and does a fine job of saying "I don't want to talk.". But for campaign staff to then jump down the throat of a reporter who seeks to talk to chelsea...that's an issue.
Sent using BlackBerry
Read the entire exchange here.
UPDATE 6:30 PM EST:
David Shuster appeared tonight at the top of "Tucker," where he first made the offensive comment yesterday, to apologize. Watch below:
UPDATE 4PM EST: NBC News President Steve Capus has announced that David Shuster has been suspended from the network. He made the following comments to MediaMatters:
On Thursday's "Tucker" on MSNBC, David Shuster, who was serving as guest-host of the program, made a comment about Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton campaign that was irresponsible and inappropriate. Shuster, who apologized this morning on MSNBC and will again this evening, has been suspended from appearing on all NBC News broadcasts, other than to make his apology. He has also extended an apology to the Clinton family. NBC News takes these matters seriously, and offers our sincere regrets to the Clintons for the remarks.
UPDATE: The Clinton campaign is fighting back against MSNBC. Top campaign adviser Howard Wolfson has responded to David Shuster's comments, calling MSNBC out for a "pattern" of negative Hillary Clinton coverage and threatening that Hillary will no longer participate in MSNBC-sponsored debates:
A distasteful comment about Chelsea Clinton by an MSNBC anchor Thursday could imperil Hillary Rodham Clinton's participation in future presidential debates on the network, a Clinton spokesman said.
In a conference call with reporters, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson Friday excoriated MSNBC's David Shuster for suggesting the Clinton campaign had "pimped out" 27-year old Chelsea by having her place phone calls to Democratic Party superdelegates on her mother's behalf. Wolfson called the comment "beneath contempt" and disgusting.
"I, at this point, can't envision a scenario where we would continue to engage in debates on that network," he added.
ORIGINAL POST: Guest-hosting "Tucker" last night, MNSBC's David Shuster commented on Chelsea Clinton's Super Tuesday phone calls to the ladies of "The View." In discussing whether this was appropriate, Shuster made an interesting word choice: "Doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
This morning on "Morning Joe," Shuster ate his words (but he did not repeat them), apologizing for yesterday's comment that some saw as "pejorative."
From MSNBC, 2/8
Shuster was already having a bad day before he had to apologize on air. At 8:05 am "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough was on the phone and Shuster tried to cut him off. Joe would have none of it, saying in part, "He is sitting in my seat just because I'm allowing him to."
Watch Shuster's bad day begin:
More: Read HuffPost's Taylor Marsh react to David Shuster's comments.
More: Background on David Shuster and a list of previous controversies surrounding him.
Previously: Chelsea Clinton Calls 'View' Ladies, They Imitate Her Breathy Voice