First Alec Baldwin now this: Martin Bashir is out at MSNBC.
He's been off the air since November 22nd, but today he made it official that he's resigning:
"After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around 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. 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."
You'll remember Bashir caused the sun to go dark and the universe to collapse in on itself on November 15th when he suggested that Sarah Palin could benefit from understanding what it's like to have somebody shit in her mouth, which was the treatment some slaves received from plantation owners in the antebellum South. He said this in response to a positively asinine comment Palin made equating the national debt to slavery.
Bashir's wording was subtly vicious, but, sorry, appropriately so. Palin's not a political leader or even an unassailable cultural icon -- she's a celebrity bomb-thrower who delights in any attention she can get. That's the catch-22: she deserves every ounce of scorn and ridicule heaped on her but it's important at all times to remember that she feeds off of it; it allows her to immediately demure, then feign outrage and claim victim status, and it keeps her stock high among the worst of the worst on the right. Bashir fell right into the trap and he's now paying for it with his job.
But it's precisely this -- the fact that he's leaving MSNBC -- which flawlessly illustrates the difference between MS and Fox News. If a Fox News host had said the same thing about one of the many people on Roger Ailes's personal enemies list, that person would be patted on the back, not shown the door -- and he or she absolutely wouldn't dig deep within their own conscience and make the decision to leave on their own. Fox regularly lies, offers offensive commentary, and enables the utterly reprehensible commentary of others -- Rush Limbaugh, for example -- and there are never any penalties to pay because that kind of thing is written into the network's charter.
MSNBC, while largely opinion, still regularly plays by the rules of ethical journalism. Fox News doesn't even care to know what those rules are. And now, because of MS's "weakness" in that regard, the right gets to claim another scalp over an entirely made-up controversy.