MSNBC Host Martin Bashir Out After Palin Obscenity

Anchor's crude remark goes down poorly

We'll make it quick: MSNBC host Martin Bashir read a really graphic description of 18th-century British overseer Thomas Thistlewood's horrifying treatment of his slaves on the air last month, including eliminating bodily wastes of all kinds into the mouths of his fellow men, and then said that "if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, [Sarah Palin] would be the outstanding candidate."

He doesn't have a day job anymore.

The context doesn't really matter that much, so suffice it to say that Bashir was attempting to take issue with Palin's comparison of the upcoming requirements of the Affordable Care Act to the evils of slavery (she also said "this isn't racist" a few times in the midst of those remarks, which Bashir and others considered galling). Bashir's dudgeon has always been high and he's never shied away from criticizing public figures strenuously—his series of reports on Michael Jackson on ITV was the beginning of a long series of investigations into Jackson's private life, especially his relationships with children.

But suggesting that a dumb remark might qualify someone for humiliating torture appears to have been a bridge too far for Bashir's employer. "After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday," he wrote in a prepared statement.

"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."

It's been a truly terrible few weeks for MSNBC hosts talking out of turn—Alec Baldwin's show Up Late died on the vine after he hurled a (debatable) slur at a paparazzo and Baldwin subsequently quit

Publish date: December 4, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT