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Martin Bashir Resigns, Finally, From MSNBC

If there was ever a case where a single offensive comment deserved repercussions, this was it.

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Virginia Sherwood / MSNBC / NBC NewsWire / Getty Images

Martin Bashir on his MSNBC show; Feb. 28, 2011.

Sometimes it may seem that you can say just about anything on TV these days. MSNBC anchor–now former MSNBC anchor–Martin Bashir has proved otherwise.

The British journalist handed in his resignation to his bosses after weeks of controversy over a commentary in which, angry over Sarah Palin’s comparison of the debt to slavery, he suggested the former Alaska governor deserved to have someone defecate in her mouth.

More specifically, Bashir’s rant provided a dramatic example of the cruelty of actual slavery: a slaver named Thomas Thistlewood who would punish slaves by having others urinate or “s-h-i-t” (Bashir’s phrasing) in their mouths. “If anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood,” Bashir concluded, “[Palin] would be the outstanding candidate.”

Bashir soon apologized on air, and Sarah Palin accepted–well, accepted while reiterating that his comments were “vile” and “evil.” But the cries for disciplining Bashir continued. The network just lost new host Alec Baldwin, whose late-night show was ended after just a couple weeks when he was recorded making a homophobic comment at a paparazzo. Now MSNBC–whose bread is liberally buttered by the progressive audience it cultivates–would have to consider punishing a firebrand host many of its viewers loved for a slight to a politician said viewers can’t stand.

Bashir’s resignation spared MSNBC a tough decision, but it would have been better if the network had owned up and taken action itself. I’ve said before that I don’t believe in a one-strike-you’re-out policy for every boneheaded tweet and outburst. We live in a time when it’s easy for people to screw up in public. People misspeak, they get angry, they get stupid–and when it comes to politics and the media, plenty of people are ready to be outraged for strategic reasons.

But if there is an example of a single statement that’s cause for an anchor to be punished, suggesting that a woman deserves to have someone defecate in her mouth–not offhandedly but in a prepared, produced segment on a network’s air–is pretty much it.

Were Palin’s remarks insensitive and historically ignorant? Absolutely. Have other broadcasters said offensive things and lived to blab another day? Yep. Was the misinformation spread by 60 Minutes’ discredited Benghazi report more damaging to public knowledge? Sure. But the beloved “Somebody Else Did Something Bad Once Too” argument has to end somewhere. If anything can be excused by searching the archives for a counterexample, anything is permissible.

93 comments
TomMoulton
TomMoulton

Yet if he was on Fox Views and he agreed with their bigotry he would be put on a pedestal. Go figure?

joyceellis12
joyceellis12

So sorry he lost his job over Sarah Palin but I must say as much as I dislike Sarah, Martin went too far with his comments. He deserved to be taken off the air until he could cool down and regroup.  


He could have and should have chosen his words better to express his frustration. He has lost a good salary all because of a woman who has caused a lot of harm to people. Especially Gabby being shot in Florida.  Meanwhile , she's still a human being and saying she should be deficated on was going a little too far.


He deserved to be brought down to compose himself, regroup and get all the Sarah Palin frustration out of his system. Hopefully, when things die down he will be able to return like all the others who went to far and were allowed to return.

LadyLove02
LadyLove02

I am so upset about Martin Bashir losing his job over sarah.....who - she is not worth it - I love his show because he is real and honest - which is what we need - I will no longer watch this show as well until Martin is brought back - I want no part of a Network that would fire someone on sara palin - the bitch is not worth someone being fired over  - We just got Ed back and then they let Martin go - I'm done and will spread the word until Martin is back - the line up is not the same any longer.

trygor
trygor

"insensitive and historically ignorant."  Ignorant? The Chinese are already buying up US companies and real estate, already importing their own managers and overseers into their economic fiefdoms, already telling kowtowing foreign governments what is expected of them. Insensitive? What's more degrading: working without getting paid anything beyond food, clothing and shelter in slavery, or working with just enough pay to keep body and soul together under service sector jobs? Sarah Palin drew an analogy which was both apt and forceful, it was intended to make us sit up and take notice. That's what good orators and good writers are supposed to do. Suppose Time staff give it a try a some time instead of reverting to the hackneyed rut of phony PC indignation?

AmitAtlantaUSA
AmitAtlantaUSA

GOOD RIDDANCE!

This guy Martin Bashir is a Pakistani and British radical Islamist implant who PRETENDS to be a Christian just to climb up the media ladder, which he greatly succeeded in. But what he could NOT conceal in all his discourses was the vile diatribe against America, the West (in general) and its dominant Conservative Christian ideology while promoting Islam.......incl. radical Islam.

DianaBaskin
DianaBaskin

No way should he be fired for telling the truth.  Someone needs to crap in Palin's mouth then seal it with duck tape.  MSNBC does not believe in freedom of speech.  I love some of the others but won't be watching until they reinstate him.  When their ratings tank maybe they will treat their people better.  The people at Fox news make up stories and get away with it.  Martin tells the truth and gets fired.  Palin, Rush, Beck and the others can say hateful, racist things and nothing it done about it.  They fired Keith O and tried to silence Ed for speaking out.  I don't want to listen to a bunch of half truths and made up feel good stories because people are afraid they will get fired.


NuBN247
NuBN247

I understand the someone else did it and agree somewhat. My caveat is what did they do? A Congressman gets caught buying cocaine and there is no call for his resignation I know of from this author. Similarly when a Republican sent out an email intimating that President Obama's mother had mated with an animal I don't recall hearing how vile that was from Mr. Poniewozik. When Palin did her bull's-eye targeting it did not and has not cost her as a commentator. When I hear rants by Levine, Hannity, Limbaugh and other extreme right wing hosts who have made repulsive comments not only about the President but about his wife and children as well I find that Martin's comments pale in comparison. So no, Mr. Bashir should not have been fired and as him comment was factually accurate an apology should not have been required as well. This is just another example of the right wing howling about lipstick on a pig while simultaneously telling the POTUS that they can't bear to be in his presence. Methinks thou dost protest too much! 

anniemarie1189
anniemarie1189

Really upset, thought he was on a long break... I didn't find the comment offensive in the least, and I'm a progressive, feminist woman. Even if he would have said the same thing about someone I actually LIKED, I wouldn't mind! Her and her friends are comparing debt, slavery, foodstamp assistance.. all to slavery. Meanwhile, they have no right to do so. Unlike Martin's impassioned, thoughtful and provocative statement that actually led to making a point, her comments were (and always seem to be) uneducated and an ignorant comparison. Sad to hear that. Hope he finds a new home on a US network - I will most definitely switch from MSNBC to his show at whatever the time slot may be. After the CRAP that Fox gets away with.. this is just another shining example of why progressives always lose the argument and the race in the media. I love Joy Reid and the work she does, but I'd much rather see her on her OWN slot.. as I said.. upset to see Martin Bashir go.

parrisann
parrisann

She has a potty mouth already. Who can really stand that nincompoop? And for you to say it was just an insensitive remark poniewozak is just as insensitive as her disturbing remark. SMH By the way....Mandela passed away. He was considered a terrorist and communist sympathizer by republicans. So much so that while under the Bush regime.....he was placed on a terrorist list. Do ya think....these people on the right might just have a problem with people of color???? I certainly think so!!!!! I am so sick and tired of people using excuses for their bad behavior. And for Sarah to refer to Martin as being EVIL!!! She puts the "E" in evil!!!!!

RobbyS
RobbyS

I miss Martin so much.  I thought he was on a long Thanksgiving vacation.  I want my Martin back.

joebloe@gmail.com
joebloe@gmail.com

The nerve of MSNBC ! Martin Bashir was excellent at what he did. After all that FOX says and do, MSNBC going after Martin? Someone should shit in Sarah's mouth..Nothing good comes out  of it anyway.

StephaniePalmer
StephaniePalmer

I think nothing more appropriate could happen to Palin's mouth. It might have served to stop the bigotry, vitriol, and misinformation that generally comes out of it.

AnnieThomas
AnnieThomas

MAYBE THE MSNBC WAS ANGRY WITH MR. MARTIN BASHEAR BECAUSE SARAH PALIN'S MOUTH IS ALL READY FULL OF IT AND IT IS HARD TO MAKE ROOM FOR MORE.  WHAT MR. BASHEAR SAID WAS NO MORE OFFENSIVE AS WHAT SHE SAID ABOUT SLAVERY.   WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY THE STATIONS ALLOW REMARKS?  RUSH LIMBAUGH IS STILL WITH FOX, AFTER EXTREMELY INSULTING A YOUNG LADY.  HE LIES  ON OUR PRESIDENT AND  THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.  HE CREATES HAVOC OUT OF ANY NATIONAL ATTENTION THAT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH BLACK  RACE.  MSNBC SHOULD ENCOURAGE MARTIN BASHEAR TO RETURN TO HIS SPOT ON MSNBC.

Arshad_Sherif_M.A._M.Ed.
Arshad_Sherif_M.A._M.Ed.


Martin Bashir's remarks about Sarah Palin, as offensive as they are, do not merit his removal and subsequent resignation from the network. Sarah Palin has been humiliated far worse by others. Her worst humiliation came at the hands of Katie Couric. Katie Couric made her out to be a complete ignoramus who doesn't read a single newspaper or magazine. And this public humiliation came at a time when Sarah Palin was at the height of her prestige and power. She was still fresh and revered by everyone. Martin Bashir saw fit to talk about Sarah Palin in the manner in which he did only because he was fully cognizant of the magnitude of her fall and how far she has fallen. She is a woman for whom there is currently very little respect.  

My view is that Martin Bashir had it coming. His time had come to leave and they were looking for something to get him on. It is also very likely that whatever he said was first cleared by the network. It is unlikely that he would have taken such risks with his own career. So he was probably set up. If they wanted to keep him, he could have done far worse and gotten away with it. But they were through with him. Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly can spew out any fiction they want people to believe and insult and degrade peoples and cultures and nothing will ever happen to them. And that is because the peoples and cultures they insult and degrade are fully sanctioned for insult and degradation. But we don't have to go far. I guarantee that if one of them says about Obama what was said about Sarah Palin, nothing will happen to him. Obama is fair game for humiliation. And so is Sarah Palin. But it was time for Bashir to go.  

But who now fills his spot? That is the big question. I would like to see someone from outside the ranks of the media. A new face. Not a completely new face, for you need someone whom people are familiar with to some degree. But new in the sense that she has never held the position of anchor and is not a journalist by profession.    

Pam Bondi of Florida may be ready to make her move into the world of TV journalism. She has the competence and the confidence. She is far too big for the job she currently holds. She is Florida's attorney general. She is too well-known, too well-spoken, and far too beautiful for her current position. It would be a big change: Bashir to Bondi is a big change. A change that will no doubt be welcomed by the viewers. Viewers eager to focus their eyes on a face that is so very different from that of Bashir's. Pam Bondi has the looks. And, yes, she has the voice. The voice that will surely arouse her audience. Arouse them to the point of filling Sarah Palin's mouth with something totally different from what Martin Bashir had in mind.   

ArleneA.LeBeauf
ArleneA.LeBeauf

What is Fox News waiting for to get rid of the Slander, Ignorance and other Racially, Hated BS By Limbaugh and other Haters.. Oh, Right Fox is a No Class, Racially Motivated station by it's owners and People that Spew the BS and Hate...

MattyG_UK
MattyG_UK

I wonder if the desire to be outraged and offended by anything and everything is more the reason this has caused such a stir, rather than what was actually said within a certain context.

If people were genuinely critical of what they see people say on their televisions, then Sarah Palin would have lost any platform to say anything publicly years ago.

Try looking at the problem, rather than jumping on a meaningless sound-byte just because it's the 'outrage of the day'.

Sarah Palin is a horrendous example of a human being and is deserving of far worse than as suggested by Bashir.


As usual, the USA is leading the way with cr** like this, but we in the UK are certainly headed in the same imbecilic direction.

jessega
jessega

The constitution also doesn't say you can't slander someone on National TV.  It is ashamed that both sides in this debate do the same thing.  Yet, some get sanctioned and some don't.   That is the chance you take.  Sarah Palin is free to say what she wants because she is not tied to a network, but Martin Bashir is working for a television network and must follow their rules.  Why all of the controversy.   All need to read St. James 3.  "Can salt and fresh water come out of the same fountain."   Both sides are lost and America is doomed.  Our moral compass in gone and people will do and say most anything today.  There was a time when the entire society would have censored such talk and ridiculed it, but we are so desensitized to low grade, low down, nasty talk that we give everyone a pass.  Judgement will come unto all of us.  Our society and most of all, the coming generations will pay an awful price for our behavior.  Shame on us!

thedhalp
thedhalp

James, I've enjoyed your work for a long time. But can you be so naive to think he "resigned" on his own accord? You're not that naive, I've read your stuff. Then why would you write "but it would have been better if the network had owned up and taken action itself". Don't be like the other guy here, be yourself, the guy who is able to read between the obvious lines.

WayneKeith
WayneKeith

I am no big Palin fan by any means.  I heard the entire comment that she made and understand her comparing the nations debt to slavery.  Consider that the United Nations considers Debt Bondage a modern day form of slavery.   So I see where she is coming from, I just would have considered different wording.  So whether he thinks she shows her "rank ignorance", that is his opinion and he is entitled to that. However his description of the "Darby Dose" that is described in Thistlewood's diary and saying that Palin is an outstanding candidate for this is truly disgusting.   Anyone saying on national TV that another human being deserves to be urinated on and have someone defecate in their mouth is over the top.   Both the far right and far left have way too much hate.  This kind of talk need to stop if we ever want to be a successful society. 

dadadav.decci1
dadadav.decci1

Pundits can get really crude. The amount of time I've seen Christ Matthews spitting crap against conservatives, or olberman saying the most egregious thing about Scott brown when he won the ma senator,, etc. Is all simply out of decency, but once you get into bodily functions stuff, like defecating, etc, and do that on a massive media tool, like tv, you have really crossed the line.

I also feel that the outcry coming from liberals regarding "freedom of speech" is double standard. It was ok to fire imus when he made some comment about nappy hair or Paula deen or Juan Williams regarding Muslims, but when the offender is a liberal they cry foul and go over his defense.

ernestbilko
ernestbilko

I'm not a liberal, Palin's an idiot, this guy calls it and gets fired,  hasn't his boss ever listened to her?

Mary333
Mary333

Everytime I've seen his show he brings on some right wing nut job who is clearly immune to basic logic, and then tries to take them down by yelling at them. I don't think he was offering anything of value. I think he makes liberals look bad. 

smithsinc
smithsinc

So much for freedom of speech .. what a joke this constitution is or the people who invoke it.  It is okay for the Right Wing Hate Monger at Fox and everywhere else launch verbal assault on this President day in and day out with impunity and no one resigns over it,   Martin Bashir was merely echoing what a majority of the public for sooooo long wanted to say to that Trailer Trash of a former part time governor.  Taking a dump in Sarah Palin's mouth is a mild way of describing what need's to be done to this heifer.  The right wing is outright RACIST and that is a fact.

The disrespect for this President by the right wing is toxic and they should be called out on it.  Obama, even if he was born in Kenya he would be no more illegitimate than Ted Cruz who was actually born in Canada.  The fact is people, Obama is a black intellectual in the White House and they can not stand him for it, so what do they do, try to destroy him at all cost.  OMG!  What a country we live in. 


Hooch_n_Gooch
Hooch_n_Gooch

Martin Bashir hasn't been credible in my eyes since that horrible Michael Jackson interview.

AmitAtlantaUSA
AmitAtlantaUSA

And, just to clarify, I am NO supporter of Sarah Palin. Inspite of being a Conservative, I consider her to be one of the most ignorant, incohesive, unfit politician America has ever seen. The mere thought of her potentially becoming the President (in a John McCain-Sar Palin Team) was unnerving to me.....to say the least!

trygor
trygor

@DianaBaskin    Sounds like you've got a rather one-sided love affair with freedom of speech. Fox has had to can a number of announcers after public outrage demanded it (those ratings, you know!), and I'm betting you shed no tears for their sudden departure. And btw, how can anyone be "telling the truth" in expressing a baldly opinionated personal wish? 

anniemarie1189
anniemarie1189

@RobbyS I agree.. I was so upset to Google it and find that he was not simply on break, but instead, had resigned. I really liked hearing his opinions and points on air. No one could say he was an impartial host, but he was upfront about it and that's why I respected and appreciated what he did. So upset!

DianaBaskin
DianaBaskin

Are you kidding.  Martin didn't have it coming and I doubt most would watch this woman.  She belongs on unfair and unbalanced Fox news with the other racist, incompetent haters.  I can't see how she would add or bring anything new or interesting to the lineup when her views are completely different.  She purposely blew the Trayvon Martin case while pretending to care.

anniemarie1189
anniemarie1189

@Arshad_Sherif_M.A._M.Ed. Absolutely disagree with you!! Pam Bondi!? She tried to sue the federal government to overturn the ACA! The thing I really RESPECTED about Basir was that he was 100% upfront about his bias, but still had some great reporting. Fox News sure has a bunch of 'em, why can't progressives as well?? Someone like Pam Bondi may fit better into an afternoon or morning spot on the network, but, she is not the one for the job. You claim Bashir had it coming, but, why? I don't see how or why he "had it coming" and if he was set up, that's despicable. The 4:00 spot is a lead in to Ed, the Rev, Hardball and the nightime lineup.. so I would be fine with possibly getting someone a little more moderate, but not the Republican attorney general of Florida who rallied against the ACA, medical marijuana and prosecuted a black woman for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband and ran an incompetent case that led to Zimmerman being acquitted. She might be a "fresh face" but she absolutely has too much baggage to come to a network, esp MSNBC.

anniemarie1189
anniemarie1189

@MattyG_UK I couldn't agree more!! If people were *truly* critical of the comments people made on television, she would have never had her face appear on a television screen after her horrendously embarrassing campaign. I often wonder if it is EVERYONE that is this insane, or just some sort of trait specific to the U.S. No one can just be upfront and honest, everything has to be so sickeningly fake/politically correct! Bashir was completely upfront about his bias, but also tried to do some good reporting to convince people of his opinions.. I LOVED that! This is going to be a bit of a pop culture reference, but, I think a GREAT example of the absurdity that all of this is that EVERYONE is America was *extremely* offended when a pop artist publicly declined to work with a popular producer/DJ by saying, "f*** no.. he's gross!" The general opinion was that yes, he is gross... but how dare she offend someone more popular than she is!? We all know Palin's a flaming idiot who deserves a swift kick square in the mouth everytime she evokes the idea of "slavery" or "racism" and demeans entire swaths of the population.. and we all know it! However, Bashir, in his truly upfront fashion, artistically frames our thoughts into words and he's forced to resign? How many Fox News achors have been forced to resign for crying out for an impeachment of Obama because he is really a Kenyan heathen? Oh wait.. none... 

DianaBaskin
DianaBaskin

Palin knew what she was doing.  She said this isn't meant to be racist to make sure anyone listening would get her message.  It was a backhanded insult on the president referring to slavery when talking about our first Black president.  If I  compare a policy by a white politician as one of a slave over-seer who beat the crap out of the slaves what would you think it meant.  Just a figure of speech?  Most decent Whites would like to forget about slavery but Palin never misses a chance to bring it up and make it sound like a normal thing.   She is a known racist which makes her comments even more pathetic. 

MP07
MP07

@WayneKeith How can anyone EVER compare something to slavery UNLESS its slavery. Come the hell on people. Sarah Palin uses very racial undertones ALL THE TIME. Its time to stop shielding her. She's all grown up now don't be such nannies....

reallife
reallife

@WayneKeith why should she have considered a different wording? why? she wasn't talking about race relations or anything close to that, so why? to accommodate a bunch of race baiters that should have no forum or place in a "successful society" as you put it?

it's like saying that one should have not gone out walking alone, after he or she has been a victim of the "knockout game".

these race peddlers don't own the term "slavery". 


AndrewVillani
AndrewVillani

@Mary333 Don't flatter yourself, liberals do a great job making themselves look bad.

AndrewVillani
AndrewVillani

@smithsinc You need to have your freedom to breathe revoked.  The constitution doesn't say you can slander someone on national television.  There is such thing as class, but then again, you're clearly liberal, so I wouldn't expect you to know anything about class.

Arshad_Sherif_M.A._M.Ed.
Arshad_Sherif_M.A._M.Ed.

@anniemarie1189

Pam Bondi wasn't incompetent in the Zimmerman case at all. You simply cannot fairly evaluate the performance of a legal team, on either side, in such high-profile cases. Such high-profile cases are tried in the court of public opinion long before opening statements in court. And it is impossible to get an unbiased jury. Each juror is biased, one way or the other, no matter what he/she professes in voir dire.  

That Pam Bondi led the Republican effort to overturn Obamacare in the courts is to her everlasting credit. She showed a good deal of foresight, as we all can now see, and her stand against ACA propelled her to national prominence.  

And, yes, MSNBC is a lefty network, but getting Pam Bondi on board would not be the first time that this liberal network would be hiring a far right conservative. Remember Tucker Carlson? He lasted at MSNBC for 2 years and 9 months. A smart guy, but not really made for TV at all. He knows his stuff but he is as uninspiring as they come.  

The ultra-conservative Pam Bondi would not just appeal to conservatives. She will have people of all political stripes glued to their TV set. A woman capable of fully arousing her liberal audience. And not just politically. She will set the liberal male on fire.   

I feel that the 4 p.m. spot would be perfect for Pam Bondi. But if you feel that a morning or an earlier afternoon spot is better for her, I am willing to go along with that. For some of us, there isn't much distinction between day and night. And whatever suits Pam, is fine with us. She is pure delight. Day or night.


anniemarie1189
anniemarie1189

@MP07 @WayneKeith Typical race-baiting.. feeding some scraps to those on the extreme end of things to stoke the flames. Seems that the racist tactic is to continually stoke the flames and hope that those with better morals find themselves apologizing for reacting to their slander/hate speech once in a blue moon. That way, when they're apologizing you can capitalize on the moment and make it seems as if YOU had the high ground all along. Um.. wait.. did I just figure out the entire Republican strategy to.. pretty much everything? I think I may have..

Ohsass
Ohsass

I always find it interesting when people act like the word "slavery" can only mean the African Slave Trade and ignore it's literal definition. The Code of Hammurabi which dates back to 1772 BC even details slave rights. As for what is politically correct, it's way past time people used logic and common sense to turn around what is defined as PC these days. It needs to start somewhere. 

WayneKeith
WayneKeith

@reallife Unfortunately in the politically correct world we live in, using the term slavery will take the focus off the substance of what is being said and diverted to the singe word.   That's the only reason I would use different wording.  I agree with the substance of what she meant, but a single word shifted the focus.  

MP07
MP07

@AndrewVillani @smithsinc He didn't slander her. Slander is defines as "the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation". How did he do any of this? He just told her what he thought should happen to her. He never made a false statement about her what he said about her statement was true. Did he damage her reputation NOPE she did that sh%^ to herself a long time ago. Moving on....

Sapphire56
Sapphire56

Ill say it sarah Palin is a embarrassment to every woman with sense and class she has none. Total idiot and I wish she wold dye her hair giving blondes a bad name. She id a ignorant bigot clown. I dont blame Martian he just real . Dont know why she offended much BS comming out of Sarah s mouth looks like S==÷t .

JohnWatson
JohnWatson

@AndrewVillani @smithsinc Funny I don't really "Stay classy" being mentioned in the constitution but then again I haven't fully read it in a few years. Though probably more recently than you have.

WayneKeith
WayneKeith

@reallife @WayneKeith   Read what I said and read the posted comments to what I said.  Using certain words are toxic for people to use in politics.  Not a single comment on anything I mentioned about the comments Martin Bashir made, but the focus is 100% on whether the term slavery can/should/should not  be used.   No comments as to whether it is acceptable for a news person to say what Bashir said.  The word is toxic and that is why anyone in the public eye should be careful in it's use.