December 4, 2013
By Mike Caccioppoli
I knew something was wrong. Thanksgiving week made sense. Maybe Bashir had that week off all along. But when the very capable Joy Reid was still filling in this past Monday I knew there was a problem. It had been what seemed like forever since the ridiculous Phil Griffin imposed “apology” by Bashir. If you don’t understand why he had to apologize neither do I but it seems to go something like this..
Bashir, in one of the finest moments in MSNBC history (the absolute finest going to Lawrence O’Donnell when he stood up and told Taggart Romney to try and take a shot at him) chastised Sarah Palin for comparing the debt and the ACA to slavery. He basically said that if she had to go through what slaves went through, which included getting pissed and shit on (of course Bashir never said those exact words, in fact he was much more eloquent than I) then maybe she would understand how dumb her “analogies” were.
I for one would hold the event of Palin getting shit on in public, and broadcast it on pay per view television. But hey, that’s just me. Anyway I guess there was a huge shit storm, if you will, and some right wingers wanted Bashir’s head for talking so directly and negatively about the great quitter from Alaska.
Now here is what SHOULD have happened right at the moment Phil Griffin got the very first phone call from an upset right winger..
Right Winger: Mr. Griffin, did you hear what Martin Bashir said about Palin?
Griffin: Yes of course, I mean I run the station.
Right Winger: Well I’m sorry but it’s reprehensible and disgraceful that he should talk about Sarah Palin, a respectable woman, like that. I want an immediate apology and he should be suspended.
Griffin: I tell you what. I run this station not you. I found nothing wrong with what one of my hosts may have said. You can interpret it anyway you want. We have a first amendment in this country and if you don’t like it you can go fuck yourself. I back up my people here.
Right Winger: Well, I never…
That’s the way it should have gone with every possible complaint. Bashir was one of Griffin’s top three hosts on his station (after Lawrence and Ed) and Griffin should have backed him up from the beginning in public. Privately he could have had any conversation he wanted with Bashir but publicly he needed to back up his host.
Griffin also owes his viewers (the few he has left under his misguided direction) a clear and honest timeline of events that led to Bashir’s “resignation.” After Bashir apologized why didn’t it just end there? Griffin didn’t seem to want to suspend Bashir or he would’ve done it immediately. Why wasn’t the apology sufficient? Was Bashir told to take a week off and got so disgusted that he called his boss and quit? Was Bashir told to not come back and they would just bill it as a resignation and not a firing?
In other words, what the fuck happened? Griffin needs to issue a clear statement with the entire timeline. If there was a contract settlement in exchange for Bashir resigning the viewers deserve to know as well.
The viewers of MSNBC deserve to know why such a great talent is no longer on the station. Griffin also needs to explain why his station has become “all apologies all the time.” He needs to explain why he finds the need to have his hosts apologize, to suspend them, to fire them or force them to resign while Fox news and people like Hannity, O’Reilly and LImbaugh NEVER have to apologize for all of the disgusting things they say almost weekly. Why is his station in such an exclusive club? Why doesn’t he have the balls to tell the critics to go take a walk?
Yes the viewers of MSNBC deserve to know. They deserve to know why they should continue to watch a network where the hosts need to be constantly afraid to speak honestly and sometimes yes, be a bit over the top or controversial. Why should they continue to watch a network that under Griffin is becoming so bland it’s like we are watching the same show over and over?
They also deserve to know why NBC hasn’t asked Griffin for a “resignation” when the ratings have flat lined and he obviously allows right wingers with deep pockets to run his network and control what his hosts are allowed to say.
A boss with balls would not only back up his hosts and producers but he would also allow a situation like this to be discussed on air during the other shows. If you are watching MSNBC right now it’s like Bashir never existed. If he had been fired from a different network for similar reasons you can bet the hosts on the station would be talking about it.
That Martin Bashir had to resign is a true disgrace. It’s grotesque and it makes me not want to watch MSNBC anymore.
Judging from the response to the “resignation” I’m not the only one.