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. HJA

    Palin needs to stay in the news so she can collect her $50K speaking fees. If she becomes "not news" she will lose her cash cow. That's the only reason she spouts off. $ChaChing$

    November 21, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Loathstheright

    Well, good, the country needs to hear less from "I'm in it for the Money from Rubes" Palin, the queen of word salad.

    November 21, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Moores rule

    When you leave out the fact that millions of blacks are very sensitive to this issue still, you can see she does not care about the true feelings of a group that was made to build America and paid in wips and rope.

    November 21, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Allison

    "....the borrower is a slave to the lender." -Proverbs 22:7

    November 21, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Mr. Moderate`

    Enough is Enough – Pittsburgh's airport cost the taxpayers nothing. Like most airports, it is supported by the airlines who use it. That is why landing fees are above the national average following USAirways back out of the contractual obligations to support it.

    November 21, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. John

    Bashir should know better that his ancestors the ARABs were responsible for the propagation of slavery. The Arabs went to Africa to capture the African natives to be sold as slaves to the West! I believe Bashir owes the Afro-American community an apology for his ancestors' actions unless he is one of those forgetful and unapologetic liberals who think that they are always correct!

    November 21, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. jean2

    It is time to STOP throwing casual comments about slavery in the USA.

    November 21, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Mr. Moderate`

    She knew exactly what she was doing. She knew that using the word slavery would upset people and then she could again play the victim.

    November 21, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. freedom

    How would Oprah like someone saying that about her?? She certainly has been vocal lately about her racism views. Why don't you comment on that one, Oprah?

    November 21, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Janet

    Why is anyone surprised that Palin quit the interview? She's the 1/2 term governor of Alaska, remember? Quit that job, too, the heck with the people who voted for her, the heck with the people she swore to represent. She's just a quitter, you betcha!

    November 21, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. Data Driven

    @Fair is Fair,

    Thanks. I just think clear lines should be drawn with our rhetoric, particularly from those who purport to be spokespeople of a particular political philosophy. On my side, that means people like Baldwin and Bashir.

    I think the lodestones for liberals should be people like Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy (well, the 67 and 68 version, anyway). Engaging in sharp disagreements are consistent with those three great men's beliefs; wishing violence onto those whom one disagrees with definitely are NOT.

    And, Fair, on the conservative side, I miss the days when William F. Buckley was making cogent arguments for conservative policies (well, the post-civil-rights era Buckley, anyway). His intelligence and civil presentation is surely missed on the Right, and I wish conservatives remembered who the heck he was.

    November 21, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. A Citizen

    Hmmm . . . that's best no apology apology I ever read. It is quite the parody of the public mea culpa. Well done Mr. Bashir.

    November 21, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. Judgment is coming

    Bashir, along with the pig from yesterday, Mr Dyson, should refresh their history that the first slave owner in this country, through legal action, Mr Anthony Johnson, was a BLACK man with BLACK slaves. Destroys the liberal BS narratives and lies huh?

    November 21, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. ART

    I couldn't agree with Bashir more , someone needs to put that bigoted moron in her place

    November 21, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "....the borrower is a slave to the lender." -Proverbs 22:7
    You & Ms. Palin need to discount double check yourselves. When you mention slavery in American politics, the analogy that you're trying to make is apples & oranges.

    November 21, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Thomas

    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.


    Palin continually discredits herself , she needs not the left to do so.

    People don't fear Palin or Cruz , they fear the people that support there primitive over simplified dogma .

    November 21, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Mike

    I'm not a fan of Palin, but it really seem like the meida trying to make an issue out of nothing. The real issue here is this sickness Americans have, where they feel its acceptable to be offended by EVERYTHING.

    November 21, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. hkirwin

    only the left would make excuses for bad behavior

    November 21, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. Freddo

    Palin ... who cares?

    November 21, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. Name

    Everything has all ways got to be about race. The issue was the debt to China. It doesnt matter the subject. They always use every opportunity to bring up a over 100 year practice. No one even knows a former slave.

    November 21, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. TexDoc

    What was 'suggested punishment' of a former governor was rude, sick, and should warrant some sort of reprisal. MSNBC continues to plummet in viewers, that's a pretty stiff penalty.

    November 21, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. regenesis0

    I honestly think that Bashier over-reacted. OTOH Sarah Palin has been running damage control or backing off some crazy thing she said on a weekly basis for over a year.
    Even if he *did* overreact at some point you just have to say "Sarah, you appear to be the real problem here."

    November 21, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. smith

    Both Palin and Bashir were stupid. We keep seeing time and time again. Ed Schultz, Don Imus, Rush, Baldwin, Oberman, Micheal Moore and list goes on. Both sides should not embrace these radical morons.

    November 21, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. MariaErics

    I can't stand Sarah Palin, but think this issue shows how political correctness can be taken to the point of ridiculousness. To claim that just by using the term "slavery" that somehow slams all those who were slaves, and in particular tries to compress the practice to ONLY blacks to whites in the beginning of American history is stupid.

    November 21, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Jean

    Bashir was over the top on this one, slipped too far when he got into the Jamaican slave issue. Temper, temper.. However this is the kind of stuff Palin loves,, it puts her right back in the spotlight as the poor, put upon, righteous martyr. Bashir gave her this golden opportunity to his shame. As far as the cancellation of her interview? She won't be missed, small loss.

    November 21, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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