December 4th, 2013
04:26 PM ET
4 years ago

Bashir resigns from MSNBC over Palin comments

(CNN) - MSNBC host Martin Bashir said in a statement Wednesday that he would resign from the network following comments he made about former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Bashir apologized on-air last month after suggesting that Palin deserved graphic punishment for comparing U.S. foreign debt to slavery. Palin later canceled an appearance on NBC's "Today."

Following intense backlash for the incendiary comments, Bashir elected to temporarily take additional time off during the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of msnbc, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments," he said in the statement.

"I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast."

The president of MSNBC, Phil Griffin, also issued a statement confirming that Bashir would step down and wishing him the best.

"Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with msnbc. Martin is a good man and respected colleague – we wish him only the best."

Palin responded to Bashir's initial comments last month.

"Everybody in life takes shots," she said "Fox News Sunday." "I don't have to accept his words – his vile, evil comments. So they don't have to affect me. I move on and I charge forth."

Also last month, the network discontinued former host Alec Baldwin's show "Up Late" after he reportedly yelled anti-gay slurs at a photographer outside his home in New York. Baldwin later apologized for the angry rant in a post to MSNBC's website.

After his show was canceled, Baldwin called on the network to also force Bashir to leave, pointing to his controversial comments.

"Martin Bashir's on the air, and he made his comment on the air!" Baldwin told Gothamist last week.

Bashir's resignation was first reported by Mediaite.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (813 Responses)
  1. Jody


    Those thugs on Fox are constantly spewing lies and filth. If Martin was over the top – consider the reason. Yikes!

    Freedom of Speech belongs to the goon squad.

    The country is on a path to destruction.

    December 4, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Bluejeans in Chicago

    That's the wrong business if you can't remain neutral when you broadcast.

    December 4, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. JohnRJohnson

    Over the last couple of months Bashir's tone had been steadily escalating, getting more and more bellicose and angry.

    It's unfortunate, not because Bashir insulted Palin, but because this kind of hostile rhetoric obscures the fundamental truth being told. The comparison of the "foreign debt" to slavery was offensive, since it trivializes the latter and grossly exaggerates the former.

    The debt is not a good thing and it needs to be addressed. But, calling it worse than slavery was simply another pathetically stupid remark by a person who wants desperately to stay in the limelight, but has nothing constructive to offer. Bashir's lack of respect for Palin, which I happen to share, got the best of him.

    Of course, Sarah Palin can make the most offensive and ridiculous statements imaginable and pay no price for it.

    December 4, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. pokey5735

    It is fine to express your disagreement with someones beliefs but it should be done without resorting to disgusting statements such as those put forth by Mr. Bashir. This type of behavior and name calling does not appeal to the majority of viewers. It is good he resigned.

    December 4, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. cbp

    My goodness. Ms. Palin can say anything but others may not. Ms. Palin and others have used the airwaves to give us their views and to make comments about politicians and others and to go so far as to call people liars, Nazi sympathizers, and Communists, among other accusations. Our friend Rush certainly has great freedom.

    Both sides of political issues continually make remarks which are not acceptable to many people. However, we forget that we have freedom of speech in the USA granted to us by that same Constitution that people continually quote.

    December 4, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. Old White Conservative Male

    @ Erick Holmes
    These people, Sara Palin in particular, have no idea what slavery is like, period. They don't know what those blacks went through.

    I doubt you know what slavery was like either. In fact, not a single poster on this board knows what true slavery was like. Get over it.

    December 4, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. alfuc

    How can anyone criticize Sara Palin? She is the most qualified, experienced and knowledgeable politicians around. She is so articulate that even a layman can understand what she is trying to convey. I have been watching all her interviews and comments for the past 5 plus years and I can attest to her in-depth knowledge in any topics she discusses.

    December 4, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. Primal 4 Life

    You mean the dumbest of all audiences.

    December 4, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  9. JO

    So sorry to see Martin forced to resign. Since when does Alex Baldwin makes decisions on who is fired and who is not?? Of course if Fox News had the same high standards as MSNBC, they would nave noone on the air. I do wish Palin would go to the house and stay there. She is nothing but trouble for everyone...... republicans included.

    December 4, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  10. Old White Conservative Male

    @Sammy Z

    His comment was in poor taste but still not that bad when you compare it to some of the things you regulary hear coming from FoxNews.

    I would really like some honest examples of anything even close as disgusting. Your comments are as vile as Bashir as it is to do nothing but try to spread hate.

    December 4, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. Sir

    If only Rush Limbaugh would resign everytime he made a remark like this...

    December 4, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. zivo24

    I don't understand this at all. Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Beck, Coulter – have all said far worse things about people and were rewarded with higher ratings or more book sales.

    And let's be frank, while what Bashir said about Palin may not have been nice – it was 100% accurate. She IS an idiot.

    The scary part is that there are people like Bachmann who are even stupider.

    December 4, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. aaron

    Palin has done nothing but lie continuously since McKain unleashed her on the American public. Tit for tat, if that heifer can say whatever she wants to about other people, other people should be able to return the favor with the same repercussions that she endures....none.

    December 4, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  14. Republiker

    Sad to see there are people who take offense at Basher getting canned. You are defending a man who suggested someone drop a deuce into Governor Palins mouth. It's way below gutter. Good riddance creeper.

    December 4, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. Rob

    And according to the left, only conservatives are capable of waging a "war on women" and using derogatory language toward minorities.

    December 4, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. ProfKnowitall

    Bashor's callous diatribe comparing Palin's reference of economic slavery to Bashir's Civil War era physical bondage slavery was really stupid and hateful. Bashir deserved a proper "calling out." I am not a fan of Bashir but I am rather surprised MSNBC did not settle for his offered apology which appeared to be properly contrite.

    December 4, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. DC

    This is dumb. He did nothing wrong.

    December 4, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. Larry

    I've never understood why it seems fine for liberals to attack conservatives – look at the hateful stuff written about Palin and any other female conservative, attacking their morals, sexuality, family, and anything else that can be slandered. It's all OK, because it's for the betterment of The Cause.

    But if a conservative dares to disagree with Obama, he's a racist that should be strung up.

    For the liberal mindset, freedom of speech only applies to them.

    December 4, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  19. No one cares

    Well, he is now entitled to food stamps, free housing, healthcare, phones. Why should he work. He can just sit back and relax. NICE!!!!!

    December 4, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  20. Old White Conservative Male


    I just don't get it...Palin passes off fabrication as fact and lies as gospel.

    Since when is an opinion a lie or fabrication. Her opinion was that our debt will enslave the future of our children and she's write.

    December 4, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. gstlab3

    I am mad as a bunch of wet bees.,
    the people who are supposed to be educated and cultured to a certain degree above that of the common man or woman as the case may be are more often these days to be found criminal ,,shallow and wide eyed ignorant cult followers

    December 4, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  22. dumbfounded Palin

    Palin is so dumb, I doubt she knows how to spell her own first name...

    December 4, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  23. Brian

    Why does freedom of speech end where conservatives get offended?

    December 4, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. Jim M

    Too bad Limbaugh, Hannity, etc don't follow his lead.

    December 4, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. Dan

    Palin and the whole confederate flag waving band of traitors, from their leader Rush Limbaugh to the lowliest redneck bigot, need physically expelled from the country.

    December 4, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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