Let me tell you why the forced resignation of Martin Bashir is such a big deal, and why it’s so insidious. This is meant to be yet another message to liberal reporters and news commentators, or any reporters seeking to report the truth, that it’s hands off high-profile Republicans or you lose access and your job. Media critics and Democrats bewail the low quality of reporting today; how those on the right wing get away with disrespectful and even treasonous statements and are rewarded by their employers with fat contracts and book and speaking deals. Critics complain that there is no real investigative reporting anymore. Why do you think Greg Palast operates out of London, England?
This firing-as-forced-resignation of Bashir, and the firings of Keith Olbermann (MSNBC and Current TV), David Shuster (MSNBC), Cenk Uygur (MSNBC) all are meant to further reinforce that almost all of American news outlets are owned by conservative corporations with Republican Party ties. What this means is that shoot-from-the-lip-first-and-never-ask-questions-later types like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul, and any number of Republicans can say whatever occurs to them into any microphone or in any written venue and will not be held accountable by anyone for it. It means that venal Republican toadies like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Tucker Carlson, Anne Coulter, ad nauseum, can call President Obama whatever they choose and tell whatever lies about the Affordable Care Act they choose to, and the fact that almost everything they say is intentionally false just serves to provide them with highly-lucrative job security.
So, for those of you who are claiming that Bashir went too far with his criticism of Palin, you have missed the point by a wider distance than the maximum width of the Grand Canyon—18 miles to be exact. Bashir did not go too far; he was just being what used to be called BLUNT. He shouldn’t have apologized but that should have been the end of it. For Comcast it wasn’t and so Bashir was forced to walk the MSNBC plank. That and it was also a message that we don’t cotton to Brits who look Pakistani with Pakistani last names talking trash about purebred white Americans who are also Republicans.
I don’t care if MSNBC still has Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and Lawrence O’Donnell as its too-big-too-fire liberals (well, Rachel and Lawrence, anyway); it’s lost its liberal cred as far as I’m concerned. I hope Bashir lands at a media outlet that prides itself on reporting American events honestly and without fear of reprisal from the firmly-entrenched right wing; someplace like…Al Jazeera America.