You can read details here.
It has been about two weeks since MSNBC talking head Martin Bashir said, on the air, not spontaneously but reading from a script, that Sarah Palin deserved to have someone shit in her mouth. I have previously commented on the incident and its aftermath here, here, here and here, which is more than Bashir is worth.
- Bashir should have been fired. That would have asserted that MCNBC had standards of civility and professionalism. This suggests it has none, at least when a conservative is the one being abused on the air.
- He should have been fired immediately. Late is sometimes better than never, but it is also significant when a network, faced with an employee who engages in objectively outrageous conduct that doesn’t merely cross the line, but pole vaults across it, appears to be pondering, as in, “Hmmmm. How bad is it, really, when a host suggests that someone hold down a former vice-presidential candidate and defecate in her mouth? Tough one! What’s your take, Lou?”
- Bashir’s producer and editor should have been disciplined, if not fired as well.
- Punishing Alec Baldwin for a lesser transgression involving a popular progressive voting bloc while seeming to ignore Bashir’s comments made MSNBC look unprincipled and governed by double-standards.
- MSNBC handled the incident about as badly as it could have been handled. Last week, when Bashir suddenly was replaced on his show by a guest host, “sources” told the media that he had been suspended. Then officials at MSNBC denied the rumors, insisting that he was on “vacation.” Then, rather than returning to work, Bashir resigns. A less professional, transparent and dignified process would be hard to imagine: ignore, delay, lie, waffle, and then let the offender appear to decide his own fate.
With or without Martin Bashir, MSNBC is an embarrassment.