CNN's Chris Cuomo Reaches for 'Context' to Bashir's Palin Attack

CNN’s New Day host Chris Cuomo has made it reasonably clear that in his opinion, MSNBC host Martin Bashir's obscene monologue against Sarah Palin was not only a simple rhetorical mistake, but his obsequious apology afterward was "the best he has ever heard."

Mediaite columnist Joe Concha, a guest on the program, asked why Bashir had not been suspended for his reference to someone "p*ssing" and "sh*tting" in Palin’s mouth, while Alec Baldwin was suspended for off-air viciousness. 

Cuomo responded with a stretch for extenuating "context," suggesting the scatological rant was a misstep in a "bigger rhetorical point."

Well, alright, but hold on. Let's get some context here. Because, there's no question it was wrong, right? And I have to say that because Martin Bashir says that. So that is the accepted premise, that what he said was wrong. That goes to the intention that Bashir had when he said that. 

Having read the full transcript of what it was, it seemed to have been a fairly well-developed reference to the history of slavery and how terrible it is and this is what was done to slaves. And if you want to use slavery you should know what slavery is and this is what should happen to you, and it became the last part of what he said should happen to her, which is a horrible thing that was done to slaves. 

Do you think Martin Bashir was trying to be viciously savagely hurtful to Sarah Palin? You don't think he was trying to make a bigger rhetorical point and that this was a mistake of how to do it?

Concha responded that he believed it was a vicious attack, that Bashir had made analogies to slavery similar to Palin’s, and the cynical motivation for Bashir was to create a ruckus to improve his show's ratings. Cuomo and co-host Kate Bolduan never stated whether it would be appropriate for Bashir to face any consequences—or the employees at MSNBC who vetted his remarks.

Then, Cuomo openly praised Bashir. "I will tell you this, when I heard his apology I thought it was the best media apology I’ve ever heard," he said. "I thought it made CBS’s Benghazi apology seem like a 'maybe.' I thought it was so unqualified. He tapped into the instincts that drove him to that level of rhetoric, the harshness that we all talk about in the media—that he became a manifestation of that and why that’s wrong. I think he went a really far way."


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