2013 Favs: Message to Martin Bashir: Words Hurt

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I am confused.

I do not understand the depth of hatred that so many people with microphones and word processors evidently feel toward Sarah Palin.

Many of them disagree with her opinions. I disagree with quite a few of her opinions.

But I don’t feel any desire to use this blog to call her names or degrade her as a human being or (God forbid) say things that would incite others to harm her in any way.

Sarah Palin seems to drive a certain segment of the trendy left right past any vestige of their civility and on into barbaric name-calling and sexist word violence that can only be described as cloaked pornography.

A case in point is the comments by MSNBC host Martin Bashir. Pretending to be talking about slavery, Mr Bashir went on to describe things that he said (I imagine this is true, btw) came from an old journal describing the treatment of slaves.

References to historic sources aside, the only times I have heard people describe that sort of treatment at the hands of other people in today’s world was gang rape victims describing the degrading, dehumanizing things done to them by their attackers. Since Mr Bashir is presumably far better acquainted with the twenty-first century than the eighteenth, I assume that he knows this.

He ended this disgusting recital by announcing that Governor Palin deserved the same treatment.

As always happens with these things, Mr Bashir has now issued an apology, which, of course, does nothing to ameliorate the harm he’s done, not only to Governor Palin, but to women everywhere.

I, for one, am tired of this.

Words hurt.

It would have been possible to discuss the remarks made by Governor Palin without calling her any names at all. In fact, the one thing Mr Bashir did not do was give me or any other viewer a reason to think that what the Governor had said was inaccurate. He never discussed that at all.

Instead, he went off immediately into a vicious string of names and then launched onto his history lesson and ended with the judgement that Sarah Palin deserved the same brutal treatment he had just described.

The thing which he, in my opinion, pretended had offended him was that the Governor used the word slavery in her discussion, as in the well-known and commonly-used phrase “economic slavery.”

Now, you may believe that Mr Bashir was so offended by the word “slavery” used in an economic context that he temporarily lost his senses. But even if that is true, it does not excuse what he said. Only insanity to the point of an active delusional psychosis in which he did not know what he was doing would excuse calling for any other person to be treated the way he called for Governor Palin to be treated, and that degree of mental illness would certainly disqualify him from his position.

Mr Bashir is a star. He is a highly-paid professional. There is, or there should be, quite a bit of responsibility in that. If he’s unable to control himself when he hears words like “slavery,” then he may be too emotionally labile for his position.

No professional newsperson who is the voice of a worldwide news organization should be calling for violence of any sort, much less violence of this type, against those they claim to cover. They should not be calling the people whose lives they report names.

What level of journalism is this that Mr Bashir operates from that he can go on the air and behave in this manner toward a woman who is the former governor of one of the fifty states, a former nominee for the Vice Presidency of the United States, and the mother of five children?

What has Sarah Palin done, besides have opinions that some people disagree with and express those opinions strongly, that merits such hatred?

It has reached the point that I know that I’m going to be called a few names for saying this; which is precisely why I am saying it.

No one deserves this kind of treatment. Disagree with her positions. That is fine.

But stop trashing her as a human being, and stop singling out prominent women for pornographic viciousness.

  • vox borealis

    Amen!

  • FW Ken

    I disagree with Gov. Palin’s politics, to a degree. But the fact is, she was addressing the corruption in Alaska politics, including corruption in her own party. I do think that she should have had the wisdom to stay home and finish that job rather than branch out into national politics.

    That said, the personal attacks on her and her family have been disgusting. Andrew Sullivan, particularly, has displayed an obsession with her that can only be called sick. As far as this doofus goes, it’s MSNBC. They have no standards of journalistic integrity

  • SisterCynthia

    Somehow, I can’t picture Walter Cronkite, or Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, or even Dan Rather saying something so incredibly crass, cloaked in self-righteous, educated terms. I expect crass stuff out of radio Shock Jocks, not “real” journalists. Forgetting the quaint notion of journalistic impartiality (not really true anymore, if it ever was)… Seeking not only the triumph of your own ideas but the abject humiliation and degradation of your opponent is not supposed to be the American way. We do not even do that to sworn enemy combatants when we best them in war! :-(

  • Dale

    I didn’t watch the video of Martin Bashir’s rant, and I have no intention to do so. I remember Bashir from 2003, when he aired a series of interviews which exploited an obviously hurt and needy Michael Jackson. I wasn’t a fan of Jackson, nor am I a fan of Sarah Palin. But Bashir seems lacking in journalistic ethics.

    The question uppermost in my mind is whether Bashir would have made his comments about a male politician. I don’t know enough about his recent commentary to say for sure. However, generally speaking female politicians get treated more roughly and judged more harshly than their male counterparts.

    A couple weeks ago, Atlantic Magazine ran an op-ed column asking: “What If Rand Paul Were a Woman?” Here is a snippet from the article. In it, the female version of Rand Paul is named Randi.

    Randi tries to position herself as above this fray. “The fact-checking is not fact-checking. These are people with a bias. It’s purely an opinion. The stuff is so ludicrous I don’t even read it,” she says of her critics.

    The headline is: “Randi Admits She Doesn’t Read!” The Internet breaks out in a rash of mansplaining. She’s dubbed Bluegrass Barbie.

    Randi tries to show off her policy chops to prove she’s serious. Not just about a potential presidential run, but generally “serious.” She’s a lawmaker—a senator! All the giggling at her flubs makes her seem “unserious.” The media chides, “She wants to be taken seriously.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/11/what-if-rand-paul-were-a-woman/281258/

    The article is a bit rough on Rand Paul, but makes a good point. He has been getting a pass despite his many flubs, while Palin has been relentlessly savaged. I have to wonder if Bashir’s comments doesn’t reflect this same “open season” against a politician simply because of her sex.

    • SisterCynthia

      This is an interesting point, as Michelle Bachman has also been raked over the coals, about anything and everything, far more than most of her male cohorts. And yet, I am blanking on episodes of female liberals getting this same no-holds-barred, year-in and year-out, we-will-humiliate-you treatment in the press. It’s not like conservative women are the only ones to do or say dumb things, we all do and if the press had a vendetta against us, we could each be tacked to the wall and used as a dartboard–thankfully, when you’re a “nobody” you get left alone. It makes me wonder, tho, if some of the vitriol is born out of a sense of ideological betrayal, that “hey, you’re a WOMAN, you’re supposed to agree with US!”? Groups are often harder on those they perceive to be traitors than “mere” opponents. Perhaps that’s some of it? Tho I suppose it could also be that such journalists’ misogyny is just kept in check in public until they have a target they feel no one will care if they defame. …Trying to guess someone’s motives is dicey. At the very least, the actions are wrong.

      • hamiltonr

        Hillary Clinton is a good example. On an Oklahoma level, I would be another. It’s not liberal or conservative. It’s because they are women.

        • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

          Well, I don’t know about that. I’ve seen many a disgusting comment about President George W. Bush. It’s that certain politicians are polarizing.

          • SisterCynthia

            Pres. Bush is certainly one of the men I’ve seen get the same level of over-the-top hatred as Palin, with the same attacks not simply on his ideas or actions as president, but his intelligence, his beliefs, and pretty much anything and everything about him and his family, while any good thing he has done has been neglected or “spun” to paint him in a bad light. Sometimes the press resembles a bunch of vicious highschool girls more than educated professionals. :p

        • Dave

          There is certainly sexism that goes on, and not just in national politics. I have noticed in our local Catholic school that female principals get a lot more criticism than male principals do, and it wasn’t because they were any worse than the male principals (at least in my opinion)

          People just seem to feel a lot more free to bash a female, and that includes other females. That’s really sad. In a sane society, it should be equal, or if it has to be one way or the other, it should swing the other way.

          That said, I think politically conservative/traditional values females get EVEN MORE flak, and that has also been true of the principals at the local school.

  • pagansister

    I disagree with most if not all of what Palin has said and continues on occasion, to say. I haven’t listened to the video, as I got the jest from the article. No reason to degrade a person whose opinions you disagree with. None what-so-ever, no matter how strong that disagreement is.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      That’s what one would expect to hear from someone like you. Unfortunately a lot of people are not like you.

      • peggy-o

        Well I may disagree with pagan sister on some life issue views but I am more “like” her than Sarah Palin. I am happy to agree here. I have never respected Sarah Palin’s lack of knowledge, responsibility to finish office, nor respect for those who disagree with her. But I do agree this guy is not a journalist, is disgusting and should be canned.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I know Sarah is polarizing and she adds to it by always harping on divisive issues, but this level of freak out by this moron is completely unjustified. This went beyond high strung, passionate partesanship. This went into grotesque bodily functions. He ought to be fired, frankly.

  • shalako7

    Thank you! This is the best response I have read to this really awful event. It is truly an abyssmal low point for discourse in this country that a news person with a national network show makes this kind of hateful remark. I agree the left has gone completely overboard in their hatred of Governor Palin–and the even more awful thing is they have gotten away with it for years! This guy has to get fired or it will really cause a huge uproar if it is just business as usual.

  • hilary porteous

    he is an extremley low level being…I still am waiting for this man to receive his dues simply from a karmic law ..he has zero conscience & is minus compassion except for himself..his past journalistic projects have ended up with the interviewees doom ..so I think he is quite poisonous

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Martin Bashir became famous with a notorious book about Princess Diana, which revealed to the world what had so far only been whispered and hinted – that the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer was in very, very serious trouble. The trouble however is that the book was not really great journalism, or any sort of journalism: it was practically dictated by the Princess herself, her own hit job against her husband, and only pretnded to be based on interviews by friends of friends. As a result, Bashir was promoted beyond his abilities and in a fairly discreditable way, and has been looking for a place ever since. He is not really enough of a personality tp be a columnist, and scarcely a great investigative journalist either. Even in this shameful outburst one can see the attempt to BE something, to be important in himself, rather than a mouthpiece for this or that. Completely failed, of course.


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