There haven’t been a lot of members of the media that have come out in support of MSNBC’s Martin Bashir's suggestion a few weeks ago that someone should defecate and urinate in former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s mouth.
Seemingly bucking that trend Sunday was the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank who appearing on Fox News's MediaBuzz actually compared those remarks to Bill O’Reilly joking three years ago about beheading him (video follows with transcript and commentary):
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: Let’s come back to the hiring of Alec Baldwin. I mean, he’s an actor and comedian and MSNBC gives him a weekly show, you know, not unaware of the fact he's had anger issues in the past. And then do you get shocked when he gets into one of these street altercations?
DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, that’s why I really think you can't even compare all these three things. The CBS thing is a real genuine journalistic miscarriage. The Alec Baldwin thing, I mean, he had barely been on the air at all, and he is some sort of a loose cannon. They probably thought differently of it very quickly after hiring him, but whether he had done that or not. Then you have the Martin Bashir thing which was really quite different. He was making a very legitimate point about Sarah Palin.
KURTZ: Let's back up for people who haven't been following every jot of this. Sarah Palin had given a speech in which she compared the national debt and owing money to China to slavery. A lot of people didn't like that. So obviously, and I said this from the beginning, it is fair game to criticize Sarah Palin who’s a Fox News contributor over that. But let's not mince words here. I mean, what Bashir said in a scripted read with graphics that had to be approved or at least acquiesced in by other people at the network, you know, suggested using her as a toilet.
Notice how Milbank laughed at this before commenting:
MILBANK: [Laughs] Yes, and I think the legitimate point that he was making is that these slavery things are brought up too often and this is how awful slavery is. Then he brought up a vulgar thing at the end for which he apologized. Yeah, that happens on MSNBC. It happens on Fox News. People on this network have talked about decapitating me and turning me into hummus. Nobody's getting suspended or barely even apologizing for that sort of thing.
KURTZ: Was that a host or guest who wanted you…
MILBANK: That was a host in your 8PM hour. This is the sort of thing that can happen on any network.
Let’s set the record straight here.
As NewsBusters reported at the time, Milbank made some preposterous remarks about Fox News’s Election Night coverage of the 2010 midterms.
This led O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly to comment about this during a subsequent O’Reilly Factor in which the host joked that they should beat Milbank up.
As the segment continued, the pair discussed an Oklahoma initiative banning Sharia law in the state. Near its conclusion, O’Reilly quipped, “Does Sharia law say we can behead Dana Milbank?”
Immediately following the latter quip, O’Reilly looked into the camera and said, “That was a joke for you Media Matters people out there.”
But Milbank didn’t understand that, and actually wrote a column a few days later claiming O’Reilly had threatened him.
Now, three years later, he compared this to what Bashir said about Palin and asked why O’Reilly wasn’t fired.
Fortunately for MediaBuzz viewers, American Conservative magazine’s Jim Pinkerton was there to demonstrate Milbank’s foolishness:
JAMES PINKERTON: That’s fair if you say that’s not that big a deal, fine. Then why did they fire Don Imus then?
MILBANK: Well, I mean, they're very different people. They’re very different times.
PINKERTON: Well, Don Imus said not even awful, the nasty things, you know, about African-American women at Rutgers, and they fired him and said, “No, that goes beyond the pale.”
MILBANK: Why does Fox News fire Glenn Beck but not Bill O'Reilly? They’re very different contexts.
KURTZ: Well, first of all, Fox News didn't fire Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck left when his contract expires. I don't think either side necessarily wanted to continue just to be clear on that.
Milbank certainly doesn't have much of a grasp of the facts, does he?
In the course of just a couple of minutes, he had to be corrected by Kurtz and Pinkerton.
Makes you wonder why anyone on Fox News including Kurtz finds him to be a credible guest.
He certainly fits far better with the shills at MSNBC.