20 Nov 2013
It has been a week since MSNBC's Martin Bashir took the network's hatred of Sarah Palin one step further with a sexist rant suggesting someone defecate and urinate into the former Alaska governor's mouth.
Having apologized but received no discipline, his female colleagues on
the network declined to comment on the network's inaction to Breitbart
Breitbart reached out directly to hosts Chris Jansing, Rachel Maddow,
Abby Huntsman, Andrea Mitchell, Savannah Guthrie, Mika Brzezinski, Alex
Wagner, Krystal Ball, and Alex Witt, as well as reporter Kelly
O'Donnell, through a publicist, requesting comment on the continued lack
of discipline Martin Bashir has enjoyed since making his comments
regarding Palin. As of press time, none of MSNBC's talent has responded
to our request, nor have they commented publicly on the matter.
The silence is deafening, especially compared to the backlash against
those on the right that have outraged the network's talent in the past
with far less obscene statements. MSNBC has been pivotal in forwarding a
narrative of the Republican Party and the American right engaging in a "war on women" by expressing moral opposition to abortion and skepticism at the government interfering with women's health.
Those Breitbart News have reached out to, in particular, have not
been hesitant in commenting when the offender has been a right-wing
pundit rather than someone on the left. At the peak of the Sandra Fluke
contraceptive media scandal, Rachel Maddow contended that radio host
Rush Limbaugh did not understand birth control; Krystal Ball started an online petition and boycott campaign against Limbaugh; and Andrea Mitchell invited Fluke on her program to discuss her sympathetic phone call with President Obama.
In response to former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments, Kelly O'Donnell tried to tie
the Missouri Congressman to then Republican Vice Presidential candidate
Paul Ryan by arguing that his comments resembled something in a bill
Ryan was involved in writing, which included the term of art "forcible
The women of MSNBC have been much quieter for Martin Bashir, despite
his monologue distinguishing itself for introducing human waste into the
conversation. While Bashir himself took the time to apologize for his "wholly unacceptable" comments, he has so far seen no discipline from the network for his comments. His apology came after widespread backlash from the greater conservative community, coverage by Breitbart News, and a petition on TruthRevolt. While Bashir's network immediately suspended colleague Alec Baldwin for his latest homophobic outburst against a photographer, they have yet to note whether Bashir will face a similar fate for words spoken on air.
While often maligned by the left as a divisive figure, Palin has a
track record of reaching across the aisle when women in the public eye
have become targets of sexist invective. In a recent interview
with CNN's Jake Tapper, Palin argued that many of the attacks against
Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign, especially those based on
appearance, were the product of sexism. Some women on the left, most
notably today former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, returned
the favor, tweeting today that Martin Bashir has "gotta go" for his commentary.
SarahPAC, Palin's political action committee, is also still awaiting response
from the network over whether they will discipline Bashir. In a letter
written to administrators at MSNBC, they list a number of disciplinary
actions by the network (including the firing of Don Imus for
inappropriate words about the Rutgers women's basketball team and the
recent Baldwin fiasco) and request an answer as to what Bashir's fate
will be. This appears to be the only pressure on the network to react to
such wholly unprofessional talk, however, as prominent feminist groups like NOW and the Feminist Majority stand out by their silence on the matter.