MSNBC host Martin Bashir bounced by Palin slur
There seems to be a dispute over whether he quit or was fired, but MSNBC host Martin Bashir today resigned from the network, nearly three weeks after making graphic remarks on his show about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
"I deeply regret" the comments, Bashir said in a statement. "It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments."
His resignation, effective immediately, was accepted by MSNBC president Phil Griffin, who in a statement thanked him "for three great years" with the network.
The uproar began last month after Bashir suggested that someone should defecate in Palin's mouth because of a remark the former vice presidential candidate made comparing the United States' indebtedness to China with slavery.
MSNBC sure is running through hosts lately. Bashir's exit from MSNBC coincided with the network parting company with Alec Baldwin, who was suspended from his weekly talk show after just two weeks for using an anti-gay slur in a New York City street encounter.
So what did Bashir do? Here's a rundown:
Bashir criticized Palin and her "long-diseased mind" after playing video of her speech about China. He told the story of Thomas Thistlewood, a former overseer at a plantation who described in diaries how he dealt with wayward slaves by, in one case, having another slave defecate in the mouth of the miscreant. In another case, someone urinated in the face of a slave being punished.
"When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery," Bashir said, "she doesn't just prove her rank ignorance, she confirms (that) if anyone truly qualifies for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate."
Bashir apologized days later. But the controversy continued to rage, with Palin's political action committee writing to Griffin and NBC News President Deborah Turness seeking discipline for Bashir, and Palin cancelling a scheduled interview with NBC's Matt Lauer.