Martin Bashir resigned from MSNBC almost three weeks after delivering a shameful personal attack on Sarah Palin that brought him widespread condemnation.
The afternoon liberal talk show host, who is also a former co-anchor of “Nightline,” claims he decided to leave the network after meeting with MSNBC President Phil Griffin.
Bashir had previously issued a wholly unacceptable, after-the-fact apology for what he characterized as “offensive” comments regrading the former Alaska governor and Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. Palin, whom Bashir called an “idiot” and a “dunce,” along with making references to “dedicating on her face,” handled the insults with dignity in a rash of interviews on Fox.
Bashir told viewers in a scripted, edited, and approved commentary last month that someone should defecate in Palin’s mouth. Bashir was referencing an old slave punishment, because Palin linked the national debt to slavery, as Benjamin Franklin had many times done, in past comments.
Bashir took off two weeks for what was billed as a vacation, and criticism mounted as MSNBC took no disciplinary action against him, even as it booted Alec Baldwin over an alleged anti-gay slur hurled at a photographer. In retrospect, it’s clear that by failing to suspend Bashir, MSNBC allowed public pressure to build to the point where the only way to control the damage was to sever its relationship with the British journalist.
In a statement, first reported by Mediaite, Bashir said:
After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday. Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. 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.
I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers — who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences.
In his own statement, Griffin said: “Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague — we wish him only the best.”
For many more reasons than I care to list, Martin Bashir is the real “dunce,” which is why the has-been will now sit in our “daily dunce” corner for all-time.