They’re calling it a resignation to let him save face but Politico heard through the grapevine yesterday that he’d been suspended for what he said about Palin. Essentially he gambled that, on the left’s cable news network of choice, you simply can’t go too far in insulting the right generally and Sarah Palin in particular. Turns out he was wrong — fantasizing on-air about sh*tting in people’s mouths is the red line, it seems. But be fair: Based on MSNBC’s track record, the odds were with him, no?
In a barrel full of rotten apples, he really was the worst.
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.’
This is a guy who took Mormon-themed digs at Mitt Romney; brought on a shrink to analyze the allegedly violent, possibly psychotic tendencies of tea partiers; accused Republicans of treating the word “IRS” as a racist dog-whistle against Obama; and wondered if Rick Santorum wasn’t some sort of theocratic second coming of Stalin. When Steve Jobs died two years ago, he turned his on-air eulogy into an excuse to — ta da — bash Sarah Palin again. All of this is par for the course on MSNBC so imagine Bashir’s surprise, after all of that, upon finding out that introducing a little actual rhetorical scat into the figurative scat-flinging at righties was an unpardonable sin worthy of suspension. I’ll bet he’s mystified even now.
Despite the years of nastiness, though, I’ll repeat what I wrote about him the other day: I’m not convinced that he’s a true-believin’ leftist ideologue the way the rest of the line-up is. The stupidity and desperation of attacks like “‘IRS’ = racist” always gave me the feeling that he was grasping for something to say in a way the others typically don’t have to. Ed Schultz could do an hour cold on the glory of unions, Chris Hayes could blather on without a teleprompter ad nauseam about income inequality, and Chris Matthews could riff for the better part of an evening about what sort of colognes he thinks Obama likes to wear. I never got that impression with Bashir, though. He was there to smear the right and reassure the audience of its moral superiority, with a little horse-race coverage mixed in. If he occasionally went too far, it was only because he was trying too hard do the job they hired him to do.
Oh well. People are tweeting that Bashir’s loss will probably be Michael Eric Dyson’s gain. That would make sense — he specializes in smearing the right too, most frequently on Bashir’s own show — but don’t count out young Ronan Farrow. They’ve been looking for a spot for him and, let’s face it, he’d fit right in. Exit question from former MSNBCer David Shuster:
— David Shuster (@DavidShuster) December 4, 2013