This week, “journalist” Martin Bashir came under new scrutiny for decades-old sketchy actions when the BBC revealed he faked bank statements in order to secure an interview in 1995 with Princess Diana. The investigation provoked outrage by her sons, Prince William and Harry. But Bashir, who would go on to work at ABC and MSNBC, has a long history of vile and appalling reporting.
In fact, it was MSNBC where Bashir went too far even for that far-left channel. On November 15, 2013, in a vulgar, hateful attack on Sarah Palin, he suggested someone “s-h-i-t” in the Republican’s mouth. Citing Palin’s political comparison to slavery, he offered this disgusting take:
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. What is most shocking about Thistlewood's diary is not simply the fact that he assumes the right to own and possess other human beings, but is the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime.
In 1756, he records that “A slave named Darby catched eating canes; had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.” This became known as Darby’s dose, a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of the slave owners savagery and inhumanity.
And he mentions a similar incident again in 1756, this time in relation to a man he refers to as Punch. “Flogged Punch well, and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper; made Negro Joe piss in his eyes and mouth.” I could go on, but you get the point.
When Mrs. Palin invoked slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms that if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate.
In December of 2013, Bashir resigned in disgrace: “I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers.”
On Friday, CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King reacted to the latest Bashir news by saying, “It’s not okay. It’s not how most people in the media operate. Just saying,” But even after his disgraceful treatment of Princess Diana, Bashir went on to work for ABC, NBC and MSNBC.
Apparently, sleazy, disgusting behavior isn’t a hindrance to a successful journalistic career.
For more examples from our FLASHBACK series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.