November 21st, 2013
09:40 AM ET
5 years ago

Palin cancels interview after Martin Bashir comments

(CNN) - Sarah Palin canceled an interview with NBC's "Today" on Wednesday after MSNBC host Martin Bashir made incendiary remarks about the former Alaska governor.

Bashir apologized Monday for suggesting last week that Palin deserved graphic punishment for comparing the U.S. federal debt to China to slavery.

She made the comments during a speech in Iowa earlier this month.

"It's going to be like slavery when that note is due," Palin said, while noting at the same time that the comparison "isn't racist"

Reacting to Palin's comparison, Bashir ripped into the 2008 vice presidential nominee on Friday. He read excerpts from the diaries of Thomas Thistlewood, who wrote about the horrific treatment of slaves in Jamaica in the 18th Century–including a punishment that involved defecating and urinating in the mouth.

Bashir said that "when Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn't just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate."

After facing intense criticism for his comments, Bashir apologized Monday.

"I wanted to take this opportunity to say sorry to Mrs. Palin and to also offer an unreserved apology to her friends and family, her supporters, our viewers and anyone who may have heard what I said," the MSNBC host said. "My words were wholly unacceptable. They were neither accurate, nor fair. They were unworthy of anyone who would claim to have an interest in politics. And they have brought shame upon my friends and colleagues at this network, none of whom were responsible for the things that I said, and and at a place where we try every day to elevate political discourse and to focus on issues that matter to all of us."

Palin hasn't publicly reacted to the Bashir's initial comments or apology.

In an interview with CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper earlier this month, Palin defended her use of the slavery metaphor in an Iowa speech.

TAPPER: So, you obviously feel very passionate about the national debt. The other day, you gave a speech in which you compared it to slavery.

PALIN: To slavery. Yes.

And that's not a racist thing to do, by the way, which I know somebody is going to claim it is.

TAPPER: Don't you ever fear that by using hyperbole like that - obviously, you don't literally mean it's like slavery, which cost millions of people their lives and there was rape and torture. You're using it as a metaphor.

But don't you ever worry that by using that kind of language, you - you risk obscuring the point you're trying to make?

PALIN: There is another definition of slavery and that is being beholden to some kind of master that is not of your choosing. And, yes, the national debt will be like slavery when the note comes due.

TAPPER: So you're not - you're not work - I mean I'm - I'm taking it as a no, but you're not - you're not concerned about the language -

PALIN: I'm not one to be politically correct, evidently.


PALIN: And, no, I don't - I don't worry about things like that, because no matter what I say, no matter what a lot of conservatives say, they're, you know, they'll be targeted and distractions will be attempted to be made to take the listener and the viewers' mind off what the point is, by pointing out, oh, she said the word slavery in a speech, and, I did say the word slavery, because I want to make a point.

TAPPER: You can understand why African-Americans or others might be offended by it, though?

PALIN: I - I can if they choose to misinterpret what it is that I'm saying. And, again, you know, I'm sure if we open up the dictionary, we could prove that with semantics that are various, we can prove that there is a definition of slavery that absolutely fits the bill there, when I'm talking about a bankrupt country that will owe somebody something down the line if we don't change things that is, we will be shackled. We will be enslaved to those who we owe.

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: MSNBC • Sarah Palin
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    Good! Nobody needs her stinking up NBC studios.

    November 21, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. R Thomas Berner

    So if I say I'm a slave to the clock or that my wife has slaved over a hot stove to make something, I'm a racist? Bashir is way off base, and I am not a Palin supporter by any stretch.

    November 21, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  3. Warren

    So the poor thing got her feelings hurt. If she would just keep her mouth shut, she and the rest of us would be much better off....

    November 21, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. Malory Archer

    There was no need to apologize – if anyone should apologize it's dim bulb barbie for her incredibly ignorant remarks. I don't want to call her remarks "crass" because even though I can't stand her or that nails on a chalkboard voice of hers, I truly hope she and other like-minded individuals are just truly ignorant.

    That being said, anyone wishing to make light of any horrific, inhumane treatment of any living thing in order to gain a few more minutes in the "librul" media's glare by comparing said treatment to a questionable political talking point should be called on their folly.

    November 21, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. GOP = Greed Over People

    The tundra temptress declining face time? Now, that is historic.

    Not sure refusing to go on TV and not doing an interview, sends the message you may think it does, if it keeps you off the tube, then expect other sandwich suggestions!

    November 21, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. Data Driven

    Like Alec Baldwin, another "liberal" who isn't helping our cause.

    Pray tell, how does a grown man not know that saying Palin deserves "defecating and urinating in the mouth" is beyond the pale of civilized discourse? How does a liberal make comments that exemplify everything we stand against? Go away, Bashir.

    I'm also reminded of Ed Shultz's "slut" comment about Laura Ingraham. Are Shultz and Bashir moles? Whatever. This is why many liberals, myself included, don't watch MSNBC, quite apart from the general reason that we don't require validation of our opinions from a 24/7 echo chamber. It should also be noted that at least 1/3 of their programming is hosted by conservatives like Joe Scar. The only people worth watching there are Maddow and Hayes, but I can see clips of their stuff on YouTube.

    November 21, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  7. Hector Slagg

    The three stooges at MSNBC, Bashir, Schultz, and Matthews are making Curly, Larry, and Moe look good.

    November 21, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. Michael

    Palin is good at getting low information tea party voters to part with there money making her very rich and she will NEVER have to worry if she should let her house be fore closed or get treated for a health issue

    November 21, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Larry

    When will this idiot ever get tired of hearing her own voice. Go away, Sarah! Nobody is listening! You have had more than 15 minutes and that is 15 minutes more than you ever deserved. GO AWAY!

    November 21, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Too bad. Tina Fey could probably have used the entirety of the interview as an SNL skit without having to edit a thing. Lauer tends to lampoon himself whenever he gets all self-important about interviewing anyone he doesn't believe is as smart as he is and, well, Sarah is Sarah, and there is NO help for her.

    November 21, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Finally, because of the size of the national debt, the republicans have made a 180, and will have no more unfunded wars, no more tax cuts for the wealthy, no more unfunded drug programs, not more bank bailouts, no more increases in defense spending, no more tax breaks for big oil, and will eliminate a host of other republican programs.

    November 21, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. Peace

    Bashir couldn't have attacked Sarah if she couldn't had made that horrible comparison. The way she said it, showed she didn't care at all. Isn't she aware that to make such a comparison is very, very offensive to those who are concerned? By borrowing money from China, doesn't translate that they will come to US and put everyone on chain. Her remarks really opens old wounds to some.

    November 21, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  13. GottaBeKidding

    " I can if they choose to misinterpret what it is that I'm saying."

    It's hard to interpret anything she says let alone misinterpret what she says! But if comments from pundits will stop her from doing interviews PLEASE ALL PUNDITS speak up.....speak up loudl!

    November 21, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. Enough is Enough

    So the Dems tell us that now is not the time to worry about the national debt....there is time for that later...all the while tey put programs in place that do nothing but add to the debt (and too many Republicans helpe them do this). When will it be time to worry about the debt? When we are Greece? When we tax the "rich" and the middle class at 100%? When you find yourself in a hole you need to stop digging!! We are in a very deep hole and, contrary to the thinking of many on the left, you can not spend your way out of debt. The ONLY way to get out of debt is to spend less than you bring in...period! And that's a real period, not an Obama period. But who will ever listen to Palin and the Tea Party? They are all crazy! I just hope that people wake up before it's too late....if it isn't already.....

    November 21, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Anonymous

    So, Martin Bashir did the "Today" show viewers a favor.

    November 21, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. much thunder..little rain

    msnbc is out of control....and this guy is david duke of cabel tv

    November 21, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    the nitwit from Alaska is STILL unable to come up with a clear and coherant answer to ANY question. Every time she opens her mouth she is defecating out the same old drivel.

    November 21, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. HenryMiller

    Martin Bashir is a "salacious ratings chaser," one of "the most ruthless tabloid journalists in the world."

    November 21, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. Hogan's Goat

    There's no misinterpretation possible. She compared it to slavery. She is THAT twisted and wrong inside.

    November 21, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. wendel

    who cares palin is an idiot anyway and should stay out of politics since she hasen't got a clue .

    November 21, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. You Can Keep Your Plan If You Want

    Be careful old man. Because of Obamacare your party will likely lose the Senate in 2014. Any rules you make today might come back to bite you starting in January of 2015.

    November 21, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "My words were wholly unacceptable."
    Not they weren't!!! If anyone should be apologizing, it's Palin for always invoking racists remarks in her speeches.

    November 21, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. anotherGDlefty

    As a democrat I'd like to beg Mooselini to just keep on being herself, talkin her nonsense and pushing people away from her party on state and national levels.
    I'd also like to beg the mainstream GOP voters to listen to her words and what she means when she speaks them, she is talking about you too my friends.
    I'd also like her fans to keep sending her money to run for president.
    Let's get her and Raphael a talk show!!!!!!!

    November 21, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Conservative makes offensive, racist remark and defends their right to use comment again, by claiming that no one that they know found the remarks to be offensive. Liberal takes offense at the gall of the conservative to defend their own racist remarks, which causes liberal to utter their own offensive remark in response.

    Lilberal is forced to apologize, while conservative continues on repeating the offensive remark. When you have to make an apology before yo say something, then that should be a red flag that your next remark is offensive and best not spoken.

    November 21, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Jon in Pittsburgh

    Oh, Oh Sarah, just go away. You must apologize first for being such a TWIT. Please go away and sell your SOUL and leave the much smarter people to make policy.

    November 21, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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