The British Broadcasting Corporation announced on Monday that former MSNBC host Martin Bashir has been hired to serve as the network's new religious affairs correspondent. The news release referred to Bashir as an “award-winning journalist” who has conducted “high-profile interviews" as well as “making ground-breaking, landmark documentaries.”
Of course, there was no mention of the incident during November of 2013, when he made a disgraceful rant regarding former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, whom he called “America’s resident dunce” and claimed she has a “deceased mind.” He then went so far as to suggest that someone should defecate in her mouth and urinate in her eyes.
But all was sweetness and light during the announcement, which noted that Bashir “previously worked as a correspondent for BBC News from 1987 until 1992,” when he joined the network's “flagship investigative program Panorama until 1999.”
He was also a correspondent for the Tonight program on ITV -- the Independent Television channel in the United Kingdom -- before moving to America and hosting ABC’s Nightline program in 2004. In 2010, he joined NBC News as an MSNBC anchor and a correspondent on NBC’s Dateline program.
The announcement also stated:
Martin is known for conducting high-profile interviews and making ground-breaking, landmark documentaries such as an investigation into abuse within the Church of Scientology and exposing the “BALCO” [Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative] performance-enhancing drugs scandal that involved Olympic athletes Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery.
During his distinguished career, Martin’s historic interviews include those with “Her Royal Highness” Diana, princess of Wales, and the suspects in the murders of [musicians] Stephen Lawrence and Michael Jackson.
“Martin previously worked on BBC religion and ethics programs and documentaries in the 1990s,” the statement noted.
As the religious affairs correspondent, “Martin will report on events and provide analysis and insight on the major themes and issues affecting different faiths in the UK and around the world,” the announcement added.
Jonathan Munro, the head of BBC Newsgathering, said: “Martin’s track record in enterprising journalism is well known and respected in the industry and amongst our audiences.”
“As a student of theology,” Munro added, “Martin will bring immense knowledge ... to his new role and an enthusiasm to cover the broadest range of faith-based stories.”
Bashir said: “I am delighted to be re-joining the BBC at this time and in this subject area. The opportunity to cover the broad spectrum of religious affairs is challenging and compelling, and I cannot wait to get started.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, it comes as no surprise that the former anchor wants to put the past behind him, especially the incident in November of 2013, when he closed his Friday program by stating [vulgarity warning]:
It's time now to clear the air. And we end this week in the way it began -- with America’s resident dunce, Sarah Palin, scraping the barrel of her long-deceased mind and using her all-time favorite analogy in an attempt to sound intelligent about the national debt.
He then aired a clip of Palin noting: “Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children and borrowing from China. When that note comes due, ... it's going to be like slavery.”
“It’ll be like slavery,” Bashir then said. “Given her well-established reputation as a world-class idiot, it's hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its barbaric history.”
“So here's an example,” he continued. “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,” Bashir said. “What is most shocking … is the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime.”
“In 1756, he records that a slave named Darby [was caught] eating canes; had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth,” the MSNBC anchor stated. “This became known as 'Darby’s dose,' a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of the slave owners' savagery and inhumanity.”
“I could go on, but you get the point,” he noted.
“When Mrs. Palin invoked slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance,” he noted. “She confirms that if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate.”
When Bashir returned to work the following Monday, he learned he'd been fired over the incident and was removed from the anchor chair until this week. Here's hoping he treats his future guests better than he did Sarah Palin. His job just might depend on it.