“With great power comes great responsibility”
-Benjamin “Ben” Parker in SPIDERMAN
Props to MSNBC’s hierarchy to part ways with Martin Bashir. Sure Bashir’s bootheels hitting the bricks was positioned as a “resignation” but my guess is it was a “we can either do this the easy way or the hard way” situation and the network allowed Bashir to save whatever face he had left.
Bashir quit last Wednesday for comments he made on his November 15th broadcast during which he called Palin “a world class idiot” but then came the coup de grace when he referenced a diary of a former plantation manager who forced a slave to defecate in another slave’s mouth suggesting Palin would be an “outstanding candidate” for said treatment. Hey, I’m no Sarah Palin fan but that was unconscionable of Bashir’s part.
Shortcuts are easy. Shortcuts are for those possessing lesser amounts of talent. Those who don’t have the cleverness to formulate a stinging double entendre or the vocabulary not to take things into the gutter. If you’re clever and thoughtful, you can kick the chalk. If you’re not, you leave a deep footprint out of bounds and that’s what Bashir did.
For ANY on air talent to claim they can sometimes get caught up in the emotion of the moment and say
something that could be considered in bad taste or hurtful is such horse hockey. I’ve been in this business either behind a desk or in front of a microphone or camera for 35 years and I can tell you that any REAL broadcast professional thinks things out and chooses their words carefully before air time. That defense is flat out bull. Bashir took the time to research documented activity during the period of slavery in the United States before he lowered the suggested boom on Palin. There was clearly malice of forethought here.
I’m sure Bashir’s apology for what he said was sincere. What I question, however, is exactly WHAT he’s sorry for. He’s sorry his comments cost him a sweet gig. A gig that paid him some serious scratch. I think for anyone to take the time to THINK about what they are going to say on the air, process it several times before airtime (as I’m sure Bashir had to have done) and then articulate it on the air……that person MEANS what they’re saying. An apology doesn’t change what the individual truly deep down feels and believes, does it?
Sure, the buck stops with the “talent” in front of that microphone or camera each and every day. But responsibility also has to be taken by the individuals who make the choice to give that talent a microphone or camera. Those decision makers are equally as guilty for allowing hate speech to openly flow. Bashir simply got while the gettin’ was good because MSNBC was hustling Human Resources into the conference room and getting ready to ask him “Martin, you have a minute?”
In other words, walk out of that studio every day knowing there are no apologies necessary. Martin Brashir chose poorly.