The New York Post reported Tuesday that MSNBC's Up Late with Alec Baldwin has been cancelled in the wake of the host's most recent gay slur. Yet eleven days after Martin Bashir said someone should defecate and urinate in former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's mouth, the vile host with some of the lowest ratings on cable television still hasn't been punished in any way.
Baldwin apparently sees the same hypocrisy, and told Gothamist Tuesday, "Martin Bashir's on the air, and he made his comment on the air!"
"I dispute half the comment I made... if I called him 'c--ksucking maggot' or a 'c--ksucking motherf--ker'... 'faggot' is not the word that came out of my mouth. That I know. But you've got the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy—Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan—they're out there, they've got you. Rich Ferraro, this is probably one of his greatest triumphs. They killed my show. And I have to take some responsibility for that myself."
For those not familiar, Rich Ferraro is the vice president of communications for GLAAD.
As for Baldwin's remark about Bashir still having his show, he's got a point for this speaks volumes about the politics of this network and parent NBC.
Consider first that Baldwin's comments were not made on air or about a known political figure. His were unscripted remarks made in anger to a paparazzo stalking him and his family in front of his apartment.
That's not to condone the remarks, but just to put them in the proper context that they were not made while performing his duties for MSNBC.
By contrast, Bashir's were scripted and edited by certainly at least one producer, then put into a teleprompter where they were read on MSNBC's air - including prepared on-screen graphics! - for all to see.
As such, unlike Baldwin, Bashir's transgression was while he was on MSNBC property performing his role - such as it is! - of an MSNBC host.
Shouldn't that therefore be far more concerning to the executives at MSNBC and parent NBC?
Meanwhile, according to the Post, Baldwin's arrogant in studio behavior and treatment of co-workers might also have played a role in MSNBC's decision.
So if you're a nice guy that recommends someone defecate and urinate in someone's mouth, you're okay?
C'mon. Everyone knows what's going on here.
In recent years, MSNBC hosts and contributors have been suspended or terminated when their targets were either liberals or considered part of the Democratic constituency.
First there was Don Imus getting fired for saying the Rutgers women's basketball team looked like a bunch of "nappy headed hos."
The following year, David Shuster was suspended for saying the Clinton campaign was pimping out Chelsea.
Last year, TIME magazine's Mark Halperin was suspended for saying President Obama was acting like a "dick."
So, it appears the rules at MSNBC are:
- Make a racial slur - get fired
- Say something bad about the Clintons - get suspended
- Say something vulgar about Obama - get suspended
- Make a gay slur (even when not on the air!) - get fired.
It appears homosexuals and African-American women are more protected at MSNBC than Democratic presidents and their families.
So what about conservative women?
The outlier here is Ed Schultz who was suspended in 2011 for calling conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut."
Similar to Baldwin, Schultz didn't make this comment while on MSNBC. He did so on his on syndicated radio show.
So why would Schultz's transgression be considered punishable and Bashir's not?
First - and no offense to Ingraham who's a dear friend of the Media Research Center's and a fabulous talent - she's likely not as well-known to MSNBC viewers as conservative hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin.
One needs to remember that the programming at MSNBC is specifically designed to tap into the hatred liberals have for conservatives and expand it.
Ingraham's style is a little more laid back than her competitors, and therefore is less an object of hate at MSNBC. That's what made Schultz's remarks so bizarre. This made it easy for MSNBC execs to punish him.
By contrast, it seems a metaphysical certitude that virtually every MSNBC viewer despises Palin, and a punishment for someone defaming her hurts the brand.
For those that don't watch MSNBC for fear of losing their sanity, this network now is just a conservative hate machine, and Palin is public enemy number one.
Sure, former President Bush used to hold that mantle followed by former Vice President Cheney in a close second.
But since Obama was inaugurated, and Bush-Cheney derision became an act of futility, Palin has been the go to conservative to attack.
Have other conservatives briefly taken center stage away from Palin? Certainly. But the reddest meat for MSNBC viewers continues to be the former Alaska governor.
As such, punishing Bashir would be like the NHL banning fighting: it might be the right thing to do, but too many fans would be furious.