November 21st, 2013
09:40 AM ET
4 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. Silence DoGood

    Palin is an old fashioned bully. When her own words are brought to light she scuttles and creeps away back to the shadows.

    November 21, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. A True Conservative

    ....I knew that the usual suspects would be here defending the indefensible!! Do you realize that you are simply useful idiots for your masters on the left? Perhaps you are simply classless.....if anyone on the right said the things about Hillary that have been said about Palin and other conservative women, you would all be steaming mad.....instead you go on to defend he apologized for vile and disgusting remarks that he made. So what....anyone with ANY class would have never made those comments......but then, that leaves out nearly all of the left.

    November 21, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Thomas

    Martin Bashir blew it !

    He needs to be professional , he fell into the Palin Tea Pot . Those such as Palin , Cruz and Randy Paul thrive on passive aggressive victim reactionary response . It gives them a diversion not to respond to there actual insane statements and actions . The Queen of this tactic is Ann Coulter..

    A good journalist asked good questions , a great journalist exposes the truth with the answers he receives .

    Did anybody see the interview with Ted Cruz the other day , he will never do an early morning interview again . He looked like a complete phony .

    November 21, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Enough is Enough

    @Jon in Pittsburgh – How's that pulling the "D" lever working out for you Jon? You are finally getting rid of that joke of a mayor.....and you have a great airport – truly very nice – just most of it is closed because there are so few flights in and out of much did THAT cost the taxpayers? How are all of the USAirways deals working out? I'll bet those lined the pockets of more than a few of you democrat politicians, huh? Too bad they all of you holding the bag! Now you have a hospital that you have given tax breaks to for years and they won't play nice with your in state insurance companies. They tell you buy our insurance or goodbye. Ha! Sucker! Keep voting Democrat since it works so well for you!

    November 21, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Data Driven

    @A True Conservative,

    "I knew that the usual suspects would be here defending the indefensible!! Do you realize that you are simply useful idiots for your masters on the left? Perhaps you are simply classless....."

    Not all of us, tough guy. Read my comments; I'm trying to cool people off.

    Next time, why don't you confront people directly with your stupid smack. By name. Or are "ALL CONSERVATIVES" cowards, just because you are?

    November 21, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. freedom

    @Tom Paine

    Excuse me?? Who do you think appointed the first female African-American Secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice? That's right – George W. Bush! Republicans respect women and often honor them in high positions. Republicans also have the most female governors in the country. There are many more examples. Your comments do not reflect the truth.

    November 21, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. current state of the union

    He likely couldn't take it anymore, she goes on any show that will have her, and spout hate and incite divide. I'm sure he has seen her get away with it, and still be pampered, and slow pitched by the media to the point of absurdity, someone had to do it. The comment about the liberals/ dems have to apologize, while the hateful right just doubles down, speaks volumes, they have no remorse, or compassion, only hatred and greed.

    November 21, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Vince

    She should take her own advise and "man up".

    November 21, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Dieter621

    Palin is correct! Bashir should be fired for his comments. The left is always out to discredit her because they fear her. She must really be doing something right to have the attention of the liberals and the biased media.

    November 21, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Mike S. New Orleans

    She cancelled her interview? She also canceled John McCain's run for the presidency, she canceled her governorship of Alaska, and she canceled her appearances at the ethics hearings brought by Alaskan Republicans. She sure knows how to cancel things, doesn't she?

    November 21, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. Name. MADMOTHER

    It just show to the world of just
    how sick the USA is!!! That road to no where was paid with tax payer money!!! So does that mean she thinks she is master?

    November 21, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    Stating the Obvious

    No Republican or conservative should be appearing on NBC or MSNBC at this point.


    I agree! morning joe should be cancelled IMMEDIATELY!

    November 21, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    The left is always out to discredit her because they fear her.
    Fear her? Ha! Don't make me choke on this peppermint. We despise her because she's a hateful racists who likes to stir up fear & hate. The only thing that scares me about Palin is her ever being in political office. Not that's a scary thought.

    November 21, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Freedom – keep up the comedy.

    November 21, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. Frank Church V

    I am neither a conservative, nor a Republican, nor do I share many like-minded positions with Sarah Palin.

    But the word "slavery" is not an automatic U.S history allusion. It's certainly, without a doubt inflammatory, or prone to inflammatory when used as it was used...

    But she is entirely in her right to use whatever words she chooses, and I don't have an issue with it. She stated clearly she was inferring to the idea that kind of debt will "enslave" future generations of Americans to another power. And that isn't incorrect exactly, it's a debt we don't even pay off, just pay interest on.

    Anyone seeking buzz worded faction politics can twist her words and use them to your own agenda...but anyone who actually chooses to think and not ally yourself to a party out of knee jerk reaction...should be able to understand on a human level what every person is saying..really.

    November 21, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Enough is Enough

    @freedom – why would you expect the truth from the left? They ignore facts and live in a fantasy world! They also NEVER lie....PERIOD!

    November 21, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Someone

    Stop giving this political reject a platform to speak her ignorant metaphors and analogies. The sooner she disappears to the woods of Alaska the better. Hopefully to get eaten by a Grizzly. Then again, the grizzly might not even think she's worth the effort.

    November 21, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    @ Data Driven –

    Cheers, my liberal friend. Your conviction-based comments on this thread are most refreshing.

    November 21, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Stacestar

    We are set up to have a serious problem on out hands when it comes to the debt we are incurring. Instead of focusing on the actual issue and trying to figure out how we resolve it the US media and politicians get their panties in a bunch on who said what and focusing on whether how something was stated was politically correct or not. Enough already!

    November 21, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. GOP = Greed Over People

    Well, she is the leader of the tee party...

    November 21, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Palin is a mix of Adolf Hitler & the green specs in my feces all wrapped up in polysynthetic skin.

    November 21, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Al-NY,NY


    Palin is correct! Bashir should be fired for his comments. The left is always out to discredit her because they fear her. She must really be doing something right to have the attention of the liberals and the biased media.

    OK Brainiac....then all the right wing blowhards should ALSO be fired for their comments right?????As far as discrediting her, she does a fine job of that herself, thanks you very much. and for the umteeenth time, WE DO NOT FEAR HER. She is the best weapon the Democrats have. She's a walking plague and is toxic to any cnadidate she endorses. Keep her talking and the Dems will do fine.

    November 21, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Greg K

    "Slavery to debt" is a phrase that's been used in hundreds of scholarly books on finances and also in speeches by countless respected financial experts. People, please stop being so offended by every single word or phrase. Only idiots would consider "a slave to debt" a racial comment. When you nitpick phrases to find racism where it doesn't exist, you do damage to those of us trying to stamp out real racism. You remove the focus from real issues and place the spotlight on trivial ones that then get major play in news cycles. Doing this maginalizes the real issues of racism. Don't play the race card so much that people miss real racism and prejudice.

    November 21, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Pander Bear

    She can dish it out but she can't take it. Typical bully.

    November 21, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Pam from Iowa

    Someone please put her on a plane to nowhere!!!!
    She offends intelligent women everytime she opens her mouth!!!

    November 21, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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