Nearly a week ago, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir became indignant over Sarah Palin comparing our debt to slavery. Citing the diaries of Thomas Thistlewood, who oversaw a plantation in Jamaica in the mid-18th century, Bashir recounted how slaves were forced to urinate and defecate in the mouths of other slaves and concluded by suggesting that the former Alaska Governor and GOP vice-presidential nominee be subject to that treatment. “If anyone qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood then she would be the outstanding candidate.”
Seventy-two hours later, Bashir apologized for his remarks:
In the battle of ideas, America leads the world in wholehearted discussion and disagreements and these arguments can be heard on a daily basis. But what I did on Friday had nothing whatsoever to do with that great tradition and I am deeply sorry.
There are some conservatives who aren’t in a forgiving mood and not without justification. Case in point: Wayne Dupree of newsninja2012.com. In a YouTube post, Dupree said of Bashir’s apology, “I don’t accept it, because he knew what he was doing. He did it on purpose. Make no mistake. He did it on purpose.”
Dupree is certainly correct about Bashir’s intent to demean and disparage Palin. Even before suggesting that Palin be subject to the aforementioned indignities, Bashir referred to Palin as “America’s resident dunce” who was “scraping the barrel of her long deceased mind.” For good measure, Bashir said that Palin has “a well-established reputation as a world-class idiot.”
Yet there is a way to determine if Bashir is truly sorry for what he said about Sarah Palin. There will be invariably come a time where Bashir is going to object to something Palin has said and he is certainly entitled to disagree with her. If Bashir can criticize Palin without calling her stupid and without suggesting that physical harm should come to her and can do so on a consistent basis not only with Palin, but with conservatives in general, then I think we can accept Bashir’s apology and forgive him for his transgression. Granted, I think it is unlikely that Bashir can conduct himself in this manner, but the possibility is there.
However, before that happens, MSNBC should suspend Bashir for a fortnight as they have Alec Baldwin following the use of an anti-gay slur. If they don’t, MSNBC is basically telling us, “You can’t use homophobic language, but you can crap on Sarah Palin all you want.” It’s the sort of attitude that can prevail when your network is in the dumps.