November 21st, 2013
09:40 AM ET
9 months 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.

TAPPER: OK.

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. Jon in Pittsburgh

    "Palin hasn't publicly reacted to the Bashir's initial comments or apology." SO SHE CANCELLED BECAUSE SOMEONE MIGHT HAVE SAID SOMETHING? Get your story straight

    November 21, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. roro

    COWARDLY! Not to mention childish – he was mean so I'm taking my ball and going home. nanny nanny boo boo

    November 21, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. katiedid

    What's the matter, that idiot can't take some of her own medicine. She is a nasty, vicious, vindictive airhead.

    November 21, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Neither of them win any points for being tasteless, but at least Bashir apologised. Its a rare day when Palin admits she makes a mistake, but, when you view the world through an ideological prism, apologies are like Bigfoot sightings.

    November 21, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Sniffit

    "Palin cancels interview after Martin Bashir comments"

    Viewers should thank him.

    "There is another definition of slavery and that is being beholden to some kind of master that is not of your choosing. "

    And the GOP/Teatrolls apply that definition to whenever they lose an election.

    November 21, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. flouik

    Martin bashir had to speak his heart out, maybe overreached although it's true, Now let Me ask CNN this, when is a network such as CNN will ever stop bringing people Like Sarah Palin and interviewing her like she matters? i know you like to mock the republicans but what you do is a mock the Nation, Ask Senator John Mccain if he still talks to her or seek her advice on any issue. Please stop putting these dummies on TV and focus on today's main issues, Immigration Reform, by the way You owe the public and the immigrants communities an apology for helping it's destruction by letting the unfamous Lou Dobbs take a shot at it many times back in 2007, Now your network hardly even says the word. Hmm why is that?

    November 21, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. current state of the union

    I give you exhibit A.

    November 21, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Bessy

    Too bad he apologized.

    November 21, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. current state of the union

    She didn't cancel because she was offended, she said she is nit worried about that, she fears answering to her racist comments, she's not real quick on her feet, dumb people usually aren't . Why would anyone really care about what she says, she is irrelevant, and not considered a source for insight, rather her penchant for hyperbole is her claim to fame.. I can see Russia from my house, absolutely priceless, and your first clue on her intelligence.

    November 21, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. Tom1940

    Why isn't Martin Bashir's Green Card being pulled and him being sent back to Britain on the first plane out! We don't need Eurotrash, foul mouthed, imported "so-called" journalists commenting on U.S. Politico's about anything!

    November 21, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. Babyboomer

    I find it hypocritical of Joe Concha to say that Execs. from MSNBC should have also apologized for Mr. Bashir's remarks. I don't remember any CNN Execs. coming on air to apologized for comments made by Wolf Blizter or any of the other folks on CNN. Nor do I ever remember seeing a Fox Exec. come on air and apologized for the hundreds and hundreds of ugly, hate filled remarks made by the folks at their anchor desks. As for Mrs. Palin's comments about the debt and slavery, there are several ways to interpret her statements but given her tendency to send out "Dog Whistles" one could certainly understand why her remarks could be few as racist... If that's her reputation all I can say is if the shoe fits...

    November 21, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. Babyboomer

    I mean to say "viewed as racist." in my earlier post.

    November 21, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  13. Durundal

    shocking, she hides from interviewers who call her out when she says something stupid. He might have gone about it like a tool, but someone finally needs to take her down a peg when shes going around spewing nonsense and there are more than enough dumb people who will believe it because she seems 'folksy' or 'trustworthy'

    November 21, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. John

    She should cancel, talk about war on women what Bashir comments were well over the top. It is one thing to disagree and call her out but Bashir went well beyond that and the network does nothing. Yet Alec Baldwin make a slur aginst gays while out in public not on the air and he is suspended from the network?

    November 21, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. freedom

    What happened to the democrats screaming "war on women?" Would Scarlett Johansson like to have someone say the same about her? Where are all these big mouthed libs that claim there's a war on women – where's Obama? He's never shy about jumping into the fray about issues. And anyone who disagrees with Obama is called a racist – give me a break. Another prime moment of the democrats disgracefully exposing themselves for the world to see.

    November 21, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. Stating the Obvious

    No Republican or conservative should be appearing on NBC or MSNBC at this point. It is very clear they are simply a propaganda wing of the far lefti Democrat Party. Until they become an objectibe news organization (probably not anytime soon), leave them to their own little leftist bubble world.

    November 21, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    John

    She should cancel, talk about war on women what Bashir comments were well over the top. It is one thing to disagree and call her out but Bashir went well beyond that and the network does nothing. Yet Alec Baldwin make a slur aginst gays while out in public not on the air and he is suspended from the network?
    -----------------------–
    Ah, the old bait and switch. What does Alec Baldwin have to do with you defending Palin's racially insensitive remarks?

    November 21, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Marie MD

    Thank you Martin Bashir.
    You did HUGE favor to intelligent people all over the world.
    The woman is a complete fool with half a brain of which she only uses .000001
    Maybe it's only me but I have to read and reread any and all comments from this woman and I still have a hard time comprehending what the heck she is saying.
    "Beholden"? That s a big word for her but she went on to make no sense. As a matter of fact reading her word salad gives me a headache. It's a lot worse than listening to that screeching witch speak!
    Aspirin anyone?

    November 21, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    **************
    Well, you know how it is, Rudy: conservatives are victims of those big, bad liberals who have the gall to point out that they might be wrong. They then have to flee back to the comforting arms of FOX, where apologising only happens when a rightie is questioned for being a fluke ( remember Bachmann and Chris Wallace?). I guess if you are passionate about something when you are a liberal, you will offend the Right by demonstrating that you care about something.

    November 21, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Kali

    What trash. I'm done watching any of NBCs garbage. As I woman, I am so offended. What a classless human and network. Trash

    November 21, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Stating the Obvious

    No Republican or conservative should be appearing on NBC or MSNBC at this point.
    -------------------------
    Let's start by stating the obvious. You're blind to reality. Palin cancelled on CNN, not NBC or MSNBC.

    November 21, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -freedom

    What happened to the democrats screaming "war on women?" Would Scarlett Johansson like to have someone say the same about her? Where are all these big mouthed libs that claim there's a war on women – where's Obama? He's never shy about jumping into the fray about issues. And anyone who disagrees with Obama is called a racist – give me a break. Another prime moment of the democrats disgracefully exposing themselves for the world to see.
    ***************
    And what are we, exactly? Is it because you know you really have no credibility on issues involving women that it makes you uncomfortable? As far the racism goes, do you really want to be reminded of all the stupid, thoughtless and ill-considered remarks the GOP have made over the last several years, or do you just take medication to block those parts of your memory?

    November 21, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Graeme

    Debt is to slavery what suicide is to genocide. She should use the word servitude which makes here point with out diminishing the horror of slavery. The problem is the latest debt crisis was born and bread squarely on her side of the aisle, so nothing she says has any credibility. Just another 2 dimensional conservative.

    November 21, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. Data Driven

    My fellow lefties, to whatever degree on that side you're placed: ignore this caution or not, but playing the false equivalence game here (conservatives say horrible things, therefore ...) is not, like, an awesome idea. The hateful, and implicitly violent, rhetoric from Baldwin and Bashir should not be acceptable on our side. Period. Dump them, and move on. Seriously.

    November 21, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Stating the Obvious

    No Republican or conservative should be appearing on NBC or MSNBC at this point.
    ---------
    Let's start by stating the obvious. You're blind to reality. Palin cancelled on CNN, not NBC or MSNBC.
    -------–
    And you're just plain blind. READ:

    (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.

    November 21, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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