An eager Martin Bashir on Tuesday parroted vicious claims by a former Sarah Palin staffer and repeated attacks questioning the sincerity of the ex-governor's Christian faith. The MSNBC host offered almost no skepticism or tough questions. Instead, he chided, "Love thy neighbor? Not in Sarah Palin's playbook. Her former aide tells all."
In a tease for the segment, Bashir intoned, "Vindictive attacks, conspiracy, paranoia, and a single-minded ambition." (No, this wasn't a reference to Keith Olbermann, the volatile ex-anchor of MSNBC.)
The daytime host's guest Frank Bailey, the author of Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin, appeared and received almost total support for the idea that the former vice presidential nominee is a faux Christian. Bahir derided, "Sarah Palin has repeatedly traded, as you know, on her Christian faith...What did you think of her desire for vengeance and that desire to be vindictive?"
The anchor explained that the book "casts real doubt on her personal faith and conduct." Bashir, who has proclaimed his own Christian faith, questioned Palin's: "And elsewhere in the book, you now say 'I never saw Sarah read or carry a Bible on any of our frequent travels, nor did she cite verses.'" He pressed, "So is this claim of Christianity a complete charade?"
The only hint of a tough question came when Bashir wondered, "Why did you stay with her for three and a half years if you find these things so repugnant now?"
A transcript of the May 24 segment, which aired at 3:16pm EDT, follows:
MARTIN BASHIR: Love thy neighbor? Not in Sarah Palin's playbook. Her former aide tells all.
BASHIR: Next, character assassinations, coordinated attacks. An eye for an eye? A former aide confesses and it's all in a day's work for Sarah Palin.
BASHIR: Vindictive attacks, conspiracy, paranoia, and a single-minded ambition. It's all part of daily life as a Sarah Palin staffer, according to a scathing new tell-all. Some 60,000 e-mails are the basis for a book in which a former aide portrays Palin as incompetent and ethically compromised during her tenure as Alaska governor. And perhaps most pertinently the book casts real doubt on her personal faith and conduct. Frank Bailey is the former staffer behind the book entitled Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin and I'm delighted to say that he joins us now. Good afternoon, sir.
FRANK BAILEY: Thank you for having me.
BASHIR: Sarah Palin has repeatedly traded, as you know, on her Christian faith. In your book you write love thy neighbor? Turn the other cheek? Forgiveness? These New Testament concepts were not part of Sarah's Old Testament temperament. Both eyes for a eye was the rule and vanquishing enemies became a goal." What did you think of her desire for vengeance and that desire to be vindictive?
BAILEY: You know, she was obsessive about it. She- She- It was difficult because I pushed so hard to help her in that, and I mean a lot of the book is a confession about some of the things that I was involved in that I really, truly regret. I have had to go back to folks and apologize to them for some of my actions, tearing down their character. But she had to, she had to put her image up as this perfect person.
BASHIR: And so she believed that being vindictive was politically the right thing to do?
BAILEY: I don't know that she believed it, but she it certainly is how she governed. It is how she ran her campaigns. It is how she lived.
BASHIR: It's hard to equate that with her claims of Christian faith. And elsewhere in the book, you now say "I never saw Sarah read or carry a Bible on any of our frequent travels, nor did she cite verses.? We didn't hold prayers before meals or prior to meetings." So is this claim of Christianity a complete charade?
BAILEY: You know, Martin, I don't believe it's a charade, I just believed she strayed from those beliefs. It's hard for me to hear her say things-
BASHIR: But, Frank, every very time she makes a speech she says she's prayed about something. And in your book, you say you never saw her pray and you never once heard her read scripture. So, is it a charade?
BAILEY I'd like to believe not. I'd like to believe she strayed from that and I believe she's using that as a mantle to ingratiate people out there. I mean, when I see her say stuff in the media like "WTF" about Obama's words, that is hard for me to hear. That's not the person I signed on to help in 2005 and 2006 and fought so hard to help.
BASHIR: Why did you stay with her for three and a half years if you find these things so repugnant now?
BAILEY: It's a great question, but I vested so much of myself. You know, some people describe it as a bad relationship where you get in and you pour so much of yourself-
BASHIR: Were you star struck?
BAILEY: Maybe. Maybe, possibly.
BASHIR Because in the book you said you would have cleaned toilets for her if she asked.
BAILEY: We did. We did clean toilets.
BASHIR: So, were you completely overwhelmed by her charisma?
BAILEY: You know, her charisma was moving, there's no doubt but we did anything and everything. You know, Blind Allegiance is a tale about someone, myself, who worshipped someone who did not deserved to be worshipped. You know, in my beliefs, worship should belong to God, no the a person. And the sad thing is, she wanted to be worshipped. You know, she wanted people out there to believe she's perfect and not real.
BASHIR: Are those- Are those characteristics, do you think, that are appropriate for a president?
BAILEY: I believe our leaders should be strong, honest, and principled, and we detail in Blind Allegiance that she is not any of those things with very specific examples, a lot of times her own words. I do not believe she would be a good leader. I do not want to see her lead a party, I do not want to see her lead a country.
BASHIR? Really? You believe that so strongly?
BAILEY: I do. Absolutely.
BASHIR: And you believe that for what reason?
BAILEY: For what I saw firsthand, and, again, for some of the things I was involved in that I took part in in the book. I mean, she from her office had me digging up any kind of dirt on somebody who was an advocate in the causes she said she believed in, some of these Christian causes. She had me overturning sex records, sex offender records, you know, criminal records, any kind of dirt I could turn over on this specific person. What kind of person is going, to with the FBI and the IRS at their beckon, what kind of leader is that going to make them?
BASHIR: Very briefly, Frank, ave you heard back from her since you published your book?
BAILEY: I have not. No.
BASHIR: I guess that's hardly a surprise.