On Wednesday, MSNBC did not apologize for anchor Martin Bashir’s despicable remarks on his Nov. 15 program in which he suggested that someone should defecate and urinate in the mouth of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin even after Bashir tendered his resignation.
“Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement. “Martin is a good man and respected colleague – we wish him only the best.”
Outlets like Breitbart News and Truth Revolt, the media watchdog group, had relentlessly hammered MSNBC for its double standard in firing Alec Baldwin for anti-gay comments he made off the air while not disciplining Bashir for scripted comments he made on his program.
Mediaite obtained an email from Bashir on Wednesday in which he said he “deeply” regretted his comments and tendered his resignation after meeting with Griffin:
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. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast.
Bashir, who had previously apologized by saying his remarks were “offensive” and “wholly inappropriate,” had been absent from his show since Nov. 22–with conflicting reports about whether he was on vacation or suspended.
After MSNBC did not immediately punish Bashir for his remarks, Breitbart News exclusively obtained a letter that Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, wrote to MSNBC President Phil Griffin and NBC News President Deborah Turness asking what action the network would take with Bashir given the network’s history of disciplining anchors for offensive comments made on and off the air.
“You fired Don Imus for offensive language in describing the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball team, you suspended Alec Baldwin, and yet nothing has happened to Mr. Bashir,” the letter read. “Are we to assume then, that disciplinary procedures at your network take place based on the target of the remarks rather than the remarks themselves?”
The letter concluded by saying, “Americans deserve to know that your network doesn’t condone violent and hateful rhetoric directed at anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or political persuasion.”
The network, which enabled and helped Bashir produce his scripted segment, had previously said, “Martin Bashir has taken responsibility publicly for his offensive commentary and also personally apologized to the Palin family.
“Bashir offered a heartfelt apology on MSNBC earlier this week where he admitted it was a personal failing to become part of the politics of vitriol and destruction. He has committed to elevating the discourse going forward.”
The network reportedly apologized to Hillary Clinton after former host David Shuster said that Clinton had “pimped out” her daughter Chelsea at campaign events during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary season.