O'Reilly, Kurtz Spotlight MSNBC's Double Standard for Offensive Rhetoric

During Wednesday night's edition of The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, Bill O'Reilly slammed Martin Bashir for his vulgar comments about defecating and urinating on former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and guest Howard Kurtz said it's “stunning” that MSNBC has yet to discipline its weekday afternoon anchor.

Even though Bashir apologized for his disgusting remarks on Monday, Kurtz -- who called him “sad, pathetic and disgusting” on Tuesday -- stated that the network should still have “fired his butt” or at least uttered “a single syllable” denouncing “this kind of vitriol” instead of “looking the other way.”

That inaction “leaves the impression that such violent and despicable rhetoric against women was acceptable to the network,” Kurtz claimed before stating that the channel "has to make a statement” by punishing Bashir.

O’Reilly responded that MSNBC wouldn't take any action on the matter since the liberal channel has a “long history of vicious, vile smears against conservative Americans.”

Kurtz then asked where the "outrage" was in the mainstream media and noted that the reaction would have been quite different if someone had said something similar about Hillary Clinton or president Barack Obama.

The media critic also contrasted the way MSNBC handled Bashir with the immediate suspension of Alec Baldwin, whose comments were much more inflammatory. While the actor's anger got the better of him on the street, Bashir’s attack on Palin was scripted and approved by the higher-ups at the network.



O'Reilly then read portions of a letter sent by Palin's Political Action Committee to NBC News president Deborah Turness and MSNBC president Phil Griffin and exclusively obtained by the Breitbart.com website.

The missive stated:

You fired Don Imus for offensive language in describing the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball team; you suspended Alec Baldwin; and yet nothing has happened to Mr. Bashir. Are we to assume then, that disciplinary procedures at your network take place based on the target of the remarks rather than the remarks themselves?

Americans deserve to know that your network doesn’t condone violent and hateful rhetoric directed at anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or political persuasion.

Kurtz agreed with the opinions expressed in the letter, then noted that a lot of people at MSNBC probably think Palin is an idiot and a dunce and suggested that may be a reason for the network's lack of a response.

When the media critic then claimed that the culture of cable news rewards “harsh personal attacks,” O’Reilly cut him off and said that never happens on the Fox News Channel. The host then asserted that no one on Fox is “known for personal attacks.”

However, Palin didn't emerge from the segment totally unscathed. O’Reilly stated that the former Alaska governor doesn’t want to come on his show because she wants to “give a speech” instead of “mixing it up,” but he nevertheless didn't begrudge her decision on that matter.

As NewsBusters previously reported, this isn't the first time Bashir has gotten into trouble for something outrageous he said during his tenure as a host on his MSNBC program.

In June, he branded the IRS investigation a racist Republican attack on the “black man in White House.” Just one day later, Bashir selectively edited 1981 remarks from a Reagan aide to make the GOP appear to be racist.

Soon after, Bashir -- who compared conservatives to Hitler -- suddenly decried Nazi comparisons when they were used on liberal Democrats. Then in July, he asked if California GOP Representative Darrell Issa is “the most repugnant politician in the history of American politics."

And he found several ways to slam Republicans, from calling Fox commentators and Rush Limbaugh “a sewer of absolute crap” to comparing people in the GOP with drunks and chain smokers.

So will Martin Bashir eventually be punished or lose his weekday afternoon program? Judging from the MSNBC executives' reaction, not unless he spews something against a person or group favored by Democrats.

Randy Hall
Randy Hall