MSNBC Host Suggests Someone Should Defecate In Palin’s Mouth . . . MSNBC Silent On Controversy

220px-Sarah_Palin_by_Gage_Skidmore_2220px-5.5.07MartinBashirByLuigiNoviI find myself not only in agreement with Sarah Palin but angry at her treatment by a MSNBC host. Palin recently canceled a NBC interview with Matt Lauer over the failure of MSNBC to discipline host Martin Bashir for saying that someone should defecate in Palin’s mouth after she compared federal debt to slavery. While I once worked for MSNBC, I have been shocked by the effort of the network to be the Fox News of the left — with hosts often blindly supporting the President, seriously comparing Holder to Moses, and even defending the surveillance of journalists (which Bashir did) in defense of the Administration. For civil libertarians, it has been a blow to see MSNBC yield to a type of cult of personality around Obama while basic civil liberties are being denied by this Administration. However, Bashir was able to hit truly a new low and the lack of a serious response beyond an on-air apology sends the message that anything goes when the target is a conservative and critic of the President.

First let’s start off with Palin’s remark:

“Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children and borrowing from China. When that money comes due… it’ll be like slavery when that note is due. We are going to beholden to the foreign master.”

A bit over-the-top, yes. Unprecedented, no. Many people warn of the dependency on China as the holder of our debt. Moreover, the use of the noun slavery to refer to such dependency is hardly shocking. Standard dictionaries include the following definitions of slavery beyond actual human bondage: “The condition of being subject or addicted to a specified influence. 4. A condition of hard work and subjection.” In other words, Palin was using the term in a recognized and hardly unprecedented fashion. Moreover, the Chinese debt is a serious problem that has been discussed by both liberals and conservatives.

Bashir however seemed eager to attack Palin on the use of the word slavery as opposed to her obvious point. Indeed, it was Bashir who seemed to go off the deep end with a lecture on horror of slavery which no one (including Palin) had questioned.

He quotes Palin and then says:

“So here’s an example. One of the most comprehensive first-person accounts of slavery comes from the personal diary of a man called Thomas Thistlewood, who kept copious notes for 39 years. Thistlewood was the son of a tenant farmer, who arrived on the island of Jamaica in April 1750, and assumed the position of overseer at a major plantation.

What is most shocking about Thistlewood’s diary is not simply the fact that he assumes the right to own and possess other human beings, but is the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime,” Bashir added. “In 1756, he records that a slave named Darby ‘catched eating kanes had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.’

This became known as ‘Darby’s Dose,’ a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of inhumanity. And he mentions a similar incident in 1756, his time in relation to a man he refers to as Punch. ‘Flogged punch well, and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper, made Negro Joe piss in his eyes and mouth’ . . . She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.”

It was unhinged and unfair and disgraceful. However, some Palin critics immediately attacked Palin as insulting African-Americans by even using the word slavery. This was raised by Jake Tapper in a later interview:

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.

Once again, I do not share the condemnation of Palin as somehow dismissing or lessening the crime of slavery in this country. Nor do I think she was lecturing African-Americans. I do not see how any reasonable reading of her comments can produce such interpretation. However, in today’s environment, everyone seems on a hair-trigger to condemn and unleash the type of disgusting retort of Bashir. There seems to be a view that opposing figures like Palin deserve no consideration or decency in the treatment of her comments.

Bashir later apologized:

“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. I deeply regret what I said and that I have learned a sober lesson in these last few days that the politics of vitriol and destruction is a miserable place to be and a miserable person to become.”

What was missing was any discipline from MSNBC.

Perhaps this outrageous comment might produce some needed soul-searching at MSNBC over its decision to become an echo-chamber for the White House. However, there is no evidence of it in the silence from MSNBC.

Various people came forward to defend Bashir and question whether even an apology was needed:

Basically, as Jason Easley pointed out at the time, Palin was essentially telling African-Americans that they don’t really know what slavery is, and it takes someone like Palin to explain it to them. If you think that’s offensive, well congratulations, you are a normal functioning human being. It is with that backdrop that Bashir made the following comments on his show on Friday

I do not see it that way and I am no fan of Palin. I fail to see how her original or later comments sought to tell “African-Americans that they don’t really know what slavery is.” That is equally unfair to Palin. I fail to see why our current political divisions justify taking every comment of an opposing figure to the worst possible meaning, particularly when the meaning seem quite evident.

Do you think an apology is enough in this circumstance when a host says that someone should defecate in the mouth of a conservative leader?

153 thoughts on “MSNBC Host Suggests Someone Should Defecate In Palin’s Mouth . . . MSNBC Silent On Controversy”

  1. “…(P)ursuit of private power and profit exceed their civic responsibility.”

    Is it any wonder he was assassinated?

  2. Why is everyone jumping to conclusion that Bashir was suggesting that someone defecate in Palin’s mouth? Perhaps urinating on her eyes and face would have been sufficient.

  3. What ever the cause of our current deficit of approximately 700 billion dollars, I think the important question is what might help reduce it. I have made the remark that putting people back to work and fixing the economy will largely take care of this deficit.

    To see how that might work we can take some real data and some uncontroversial estimates to develop a very simple example.

    From the St Louis Fed we know that nominal GDP in 2nd quarter of 2013 way 16661 billion dollars and federal receipts were 3160 billion dollars. Federal receipts are then about 19% of revenue.

    The CBO’s estimate of 2nd quarter potential GDP is 17100 billion dollars. Potential GDP is the level of output the economy could produce without generating excessive inflation. Our estimate of federal revenues if the economy were operating at capacity would then be 17100*.19=3249.0 billion dollars.

    In the second quarter alone we would have an additional 89 billion dollars ( 3249 – 3160=89 ) if only the economy were operating at it’s full potential.

    The 2nd quarter might not be typical, and revenues as a percent of GDP may not remain the same as GDP increases. But still over the course of a year we might have upwards of 350 billion dollars in additional revenue ( 89*4=356 ). You don’t have to be a whiz at arithmetic to see that an extra $350 billion dollars a year would help whittle down a deficit of $700 billion dollars.

    This revenue would come in because greater economic activity, at the same tax rates, would lead to greater tax receipts. The effect reducing the deficit would be even greater due to reduction in the number of people receiving public assistance and the corresponding reduction in assistance payments.

    The fact is there are approximately three candidates for every job opening. People are out of work because they cannot find jobs.

    The tragedy is that the congress has done little or nothing to put people back to work. That decision has not just hurt those out of work. As I have shown, it hurts those working and paying taxes as well because when the economy operates at reduce levels tax revenues are lower and it takes longer to pay off deficits. We all pay a price when congress lets the economy stagnate.

    The deficit is large primarily because people are out of work. People are out of work, primarily, because the economy, after 5 years has barely begun to recover from the deepest recession since the depression of the 1930’s.

    If you are mad about deficits, you ought to be mad as hell about a congress which has done nothing to put people back to work.

  4. Gene,

    The readers/viewers will decide to look or not & if they look they’ll decide for themselves what/who to believe.

    I haven’t been through all of the links. I’m not sure what Slate was attempting write about.

    They should have wrote after each conspiracies they listed that the public evidence confirms. (Or does not)

    Jones/Infowars didn’t write the govt documents, most often they just get them from the govt’s public record & show them to their readers/viewers.

    And most of us understand why ABC, CBC, NBC, FOX,CNN will never have an interest in showing the audience actual evidence of criminality.

    IE: GW’s granddad Prescott Bush was a convicted Nazi,(NY Fed Court) & Prescott remained on CBS’s BOD for a number of years. CBS continues to this day aiding the official cover up of JFK murder.

    (Where in the hell has the SPLC/ADL been on that issue Bush, family of Nazis, besides no where!)

    BTW, You remember the Lawyer Jesse Trentadue? If you recall he posted pictures online/public of he’s brothers tortured corpse. If you find them post them, I think the readers/viewers would to see them.

    Here’s a Journalist interviewing the Lawyer Jesse & discussing the case/cases

  5. bigfatmike,

    “Much of today’s government debt results from actions taken to minimize the results of the recession and stagnant economy dating from the financial crisis of 2007. Fix the economy and unemployment and these deficits will, largely, cure themselves.”

    So you haven’t heard of the two wars we’ve been fighting for ten to twelve years (depending on the war of your choice), nor the deployments in this fiscal year of 60,000 troops, performing 5,640 “activities” in 162 countries.

    You’ll have to watch an ad to read the article. And that’s just the Army.

    Or how about the $2.3T Rumsfeld admitted not being able to account for on 9/10/01?

    The list is long, financial crisis is a misnomer, and the cure is much more involved than “fixing the economy and unemployment.”

    1. Actually if you check the St. Louis federal reserve economic Data (FRED), Federal Surplus of Deficit (FYFSD) series, you will see that:

      the US maintained a surplus till nearly 2002,

      reached a local maximum of 400,000 million around 2004 (for the years 2002 through nearly 2008),

      saw the deficit decline to just under 200,000 million just before 2008,

      saw the deficit climb to nearly 1,400,000 million by the third quarter 2009

      and then decline to the current value around 700,000 million.

      The WAPO of 032813, based on a Harvard study, gives the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at approximately 2 trillion dollars or about 20% of the deficit incurred between 2001 and 2012.

      So yes I would argue on the basis of the best data I know of, the federal reserve, that most of the current deficit is due to the financial crisis that became apparent around 2007 and the resulting economic weakness that followed.

      I am not going to go too far into this but I think what became apparent in 2007 was clearly a financial crisis. I don’t see how any reasonable person could argue that what began in the mortgage market and by way of securitized mortgage financial instruments propagated through the financial system could be call anything else.

      And I cannot imagine any solution, what ever the cause of our current problems might be, that would not involve fixing the economy. And further, I cannot see how the economy can be fixed without putting people back to work.

      Is it complicated? To quote one of my favorite public personalities: ‘you betcha!’

      But to start we can do something so simple even a congress man ought to be able to understand it: Put people back to work!!!

  6. I don’t care if Jesus Himself talked to Alex Jones, Oky.

    He’s not a real journalist. Never has been. Probably never will be.

    He’s one step above doing stories about Bat-boy.

    It’s a short step too.

  7. “There is OBVIOUSLY not insult to African Americans by using the word slavery in a sense endorsed by the dictionary.”

    Bashir must be a genius. How else could anyone convince me that Palin should be defended.

    It seems to me that the most reasonable historical reference for Palin’s slavery remark would be wage slave, a term with a history that predates the African experience and has, at least, popular association with Marx.

    I think wage slave is a much closer approximation of what Palin was trying to express. Palin seems to have an aversion to anyone left of the extreme right. But considering her eclectic use of ideas, it is not surprising to me that she would borrow a concept from political adversaries to express what seems to be deep, sincere concern.

    Of course none of that changes the fact that her concerns are misguided. Much of today’s government debt results from actions taken to minimize the results of the recession and stagnant economy dating from the financial crisis of 2007. Fix the economy and unemployment and these deficits will, largely, cure themselves. And, despite concerns about our Chinese creditors, most of that debt is owed to ourselves. As many have pointed out, debt owed to ourselves may redistribute wealth, perhaps unfairly, but it cannot be a burden on future generations.

    Often enough, we do hear people making remarks that disrespect and belittle the African American experience. We should not hesitate to engage and criticize apologist for slavery and those who minimize the atrocities committed in 500 years of slavery.

    The only problem is that Palin’s remarks do not, reasonably, reference the African American experience and are about an entirely different kind of slavery.

    Bashir is a smart guy. Somehow I think he probably knew that his remarks were unfair and inflammatory. In my book that makes Bashir a bully – Hey, Bashir, pick on somebody your own size.

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