The Sideshow

MSNBC's Martin Bashir apologizes for offensive Palin remark

MSNBC commentator Martin Bashir issued an apology on Monday for suggesting that someone should defecate on former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

The remark, which Bashir made on his MSNBC program, sparked a firestorm of criticism. Bashir was responding to a comment Palin made in which the former Alaska governor compared the U.S. debt to slavery.

On Monday, an apologetic Bashir addressed his audience:

Last Friday, on this broadcast, I made some comments which were deeply offensive and directed at Gov. Sarah Palin. I wanted to take this opportunity to say sorry to Mrs. Palin and to also offer an unreserved apology to her friends and family, her supporters, our viewers, and anyone who may have heard what I said.
My words were wholly unacceptable. They were neither accurate, nor fair. They were unworthy of anyone who would claim to have an interest in politics, and they have brought shame upon my friends and colleagues at this network, none of whom were responsible for the things that I said. And at a place where we try every day to elevate political discourse and to focus on issues that matter to all of us.

Bashir went on to say that he deeply regrets his words and that he learned "a sober lesson" and intends to learn from the experience.

His apology concluded:

My hope is that it will renew in me a spirit of humility and humanity, that looks for the good and that builds upon the great things that this country has to offer to all of us, regardless of our political persuasion. This will be my guiding light and compass in the days ahead. But once again, I am truly sorry for what I said on Friday.

Speaking at a fundraiser in Iowa on Nov. 9, Palin compared the government to a slick marketer, according to the Des Moines Register.

"This free stuff is so seductive. Why do you think marketers use free stuff to bring people in? Free stuff is such a strong marketing ploy," Palin said. "... But didn't you all learn too in Econ 101 there ain't no such thing as a free lunch? Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children and borrowing from China.

"When that note comes due – and this isn't racist, so try and try it anyway – but it's going to be like slavery when that note is due, right?" she continued. "We are going to be beholden to a foreign master. Because there is no plan – there is no plan coming out of Washington, D.C., to stop the incurrence of debt, is there?"

Bashir, who also called Palin a "world-class idiot," pounced on the slavery comparison. During his Friday show on MSNBC, Bashir recounted a story about 18th-century slave owner Thomas Thistlewood. Bashir explained that Thistlewood recorded his brutality in a diary which included stories of forcing slaves to defecate and urinate on each other as a form of punishment.

Bashir then said, "When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate."

Coming under fire over the weekend for the comment, Bashir apologized on Monday. MSNBC has yet to announce any actions against Bashir, who first gained notoriety in the United States for his 2003 interview with Michael Jackson.

Last week, the left-leaning network suspended Alec Baldwin over an anti-gay slur. Baldwin has said that he isn't sure if his program will return.

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