Like most MSNBC hosts, Martin Bashir has been hypersensitive to slights aimed at President Obama, real or imagined. He was shocked at a picture in January 2012 that showed Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer pointing a finger at Obama on the tarmac in Phoenix. He somehow imagined the disrespect was "unprecedented!"
When then-Rep. Joe Walsh decided to skip an Obama jobs speech before Congress in the fall of 2011, Bashir was shocked. "Are you able to be as disrespectful to the office of President by simply walking away from something that every member of the Congress is going to attend? Is that also" -- here it comes -- "because he's black?"
These demands on Obama's behalf make Bashir's astonishing disrespect of Sarah Palin all the more glaring. Even liberals are still lamenting how Bashir lectured on Friday, November 15 that Sarah Palin's face should be urinated and defecated on.
Rush Limbaugh was right. Just imagine the liberal fury had Bill O'Reilly proposed this be done to Barack Obama.
Outraged that Palin in her "long-deceased mind" would dare suggest our national debt to China is going to feel like slavery when the note comes due, Bashir read from some slave owner's diary dating to 1756. "A slave named Darby catched eating canes; had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-*-* in his mouth." In another incident, the cruel master "flogged Punch well, and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper; made Negro Joe piss in his eyes and mouth." Bashir concluded Palin would be an "outstanding candidate" for these excretory punishments.
Bashir is no stranger to crazed historical analogies for conservatives. He has compared Rick Santorum to Stalin, and the National Rifle Association to Hitler. But he's never suggested a politician deserved to be someone's outhouse.
On the next Monday, Bashir apologized on the air. "My words were wholly unacceptable....And they have brought shame upon my friends and colleagues at this network."
But there was no punishment from the allegedly shamed network.
MSNBC suspended Ed Schultz for a week for calling Laura Ingraham a "talk slut." The network suspended David Shuster until he quit for suggesting Hillary Clinton "pimped out" her daughter Chelsea on the campaign trail. Years ago, mere political donations took Joe Scarborough and Keith Olbermann off the air. So why no mandatory time off?
Because this is MSNBC and having someone defecate in Sarah Palin's mouth is just not a big deal.
While the liberal networks all blew gaskets over Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a "slut," not a one of them have covered Bashir's remarks. How's that for hypocrisy? AP media reporter David Bauder filed at least three stories, but there was mostly silence outside Fox News. The Washington Post and USA Today published nothing, and it only came up in The New York Times in a clause of a TV listing about the subjects of "Fox News Sunday." There was nothing on ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, and PBS. CNN only touched on it once on its "New Day" morning show and once on its "Reliable Sources" journalism show.
One obvious answer for this blackout is that Limbaugh is far more popular in America than Martin Bashir, who few watch. But another obvious answer is media liberals despise Limbaugh and Palin, and sympathize with Bashir and the audience that loves this kind of hate speech toward conservatives.
Other MSNBC hosts wouldn't condemn Bashir. When Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple tried to pin down Chris Matthews, he refused to comment (perhaps for the first time in his life). When asked by radio host Steve Malzberg, Joe Scarborough claimed he was on a book tour and didn't hear about Bashir's rant until after the apology on November 18. But "touring" Scarborough sat in his MSNBC studio that Monday morning before the apology and said nothing. Cash the check and keep the mouth shut.
Not all liberals have been so callous. Alex Jones at Harvard's Shorenstein Center told the TV Newser blog that Bashir "cheapens and mocks the whole idea of serious discourse on a news program." He can't believe MSNBC is tolerating this "escalation of vulgarity."
On November 25, suddenly MSNBC publicists acknowledged that Bashir was taking a "pre-planned vacation," which was not pre-announced. A guest host would handle Thanksgiving week. They're still trying to keep the whole sordid Bashir Outhouse Address out of the media "mainstream."
There's a concept with which the folks at MSNBC are manifestly unfamiliar. Honor.