The BBC has appointed a “well known and respected” journalist, who once suggested someone should “sh*t” in Sarah Palin’s mouth on American television, as their new religious affairs correspondent.
Martin Bashir joined ABC in 2004 before moving to NBC in 2010 as an MSNBC anchor and a correspondent on the “Dateline” programme. He resigned from MSNBC three years ago, after making the shocking remark about the former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
He called Mrs. Palin America’s “resident dunce” and “a world-class idiot” after she said America’s massive national debt was “enslaving” future generations and made them “beholden to the foreign masters”.
Mr. Bashir said her comments were “abdominal to anyone who knows anything about [slavery’s] barbaric history” and implied the former Alaska governor deserves an 18th-century “dose of discipline”.
Specifically, he quoted the diary of a Jamaican slave owner who boasted about making slaves “sh*t in [the] mouth” of other slaves, before insisting Mrs. Palin was the “outstanding candidate” for similar treatment today.
He later apologised for the remarks, and said in a statement: “I deeply regret what was said.”
Mr. Bashir, 53, is also known for his high-profile interviews with Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, and will replace the BBC’s current religious correspondent Caroline Wyatt.
As religious affairs correspondent, he will report on events and “provide analysis and insight on the major themes and issues affecting different faiths in the UK and around the world”, the BBC said in a statement.
Jonathan Munro, Head of BBC Newsgathering, commented: “Martin’s track record in enterprising journalism is well known and respected in the industry and amongst our audiences.
“As a student of theology, Martin will bring immense knowledge of the brief to his new role, and an enthusiasm to cover the broadest range of faith-based stories.”