On Monday, Fox News contributors Ralph Peters and Stacey Dash both used some colorful language on air while discussing Barack Obama’s Sunday night address on terrorism. Not long after, the network announced it would suspend the pair for two weeks:
Ralph Peters a Fox Business “strategic analyst” who called Obama a “total pussy,” and Outnumbered contributor Stacey Dash, who said the president doesn’t “give a shit” about terrorism, were reprimanded for using profanities on the air. Their punishment? A two-week suspension.
“Earlier today, Fox contributors Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and Stacey Dash made comments on different programs that were completely inappropriate and unacceptable for our air,” Bill Shine, the EVP of programming at Fox said in a statement. “Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel do not condone the use of such language, and have suspended both Peters and Dash for two weeks.”
Dash’s remarks were appropriately censored during the broadcast, but Peters’ direct insult was not. Varney & Co. host Stuart Varney warned Peters about using profane language on the program immediately after.
There’s two ways to look at this. On the one hand, Peters’s and Dash’s comments were unprofessional; a two-week suspension doesn’t seem unreasonable. However, while Peters made a deliberately careless choice in words it seems like Dash’s faux pas was just that — a slip of the tongue. It happens when you’re passionately arguing a heated topic.
On the other hand, what are the chances that MSNBC or CNN would reprimand their contributors if they made similar comments about, say, Ben Carson or Donald Trump? You may not be happy about Fox News’s decision to punish Peters and Dash, but at least the network is actually trying to live up to its slogan: “Fair and Balanced.”