Martin Bashir abruptly resigned at MSNBC today, as the 4 PM host said he would rather quit than be a distraction, a.k.a. give Sarah Palin another second of attention.
Here is the statement from Bashir,
After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday. Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments. 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 – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast.
MSNBC head Phil Griffin made it clear that Sarah Palin didn’t get her way, “Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision, and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague – we wish him only the best.”
Unlike when Griffin pushed Olbermann out the door, the network is saying nice things about Bashir. I take this as a message to Sarah Palin that she did not get her way. The network didn’t discipline Bashir for his comments about Palin, and I suspect that the door was open for him to come back to his show.
Bashir suggested that he was a distraction to the network, but his resignation has also denied Sarah Palin another cross to continue to nail herself to. Martin Bashir is an excellent journalist who had one of the best shows on MSNBC. Another network will quickly scoop up Bashir, but MSNBC is definitely weaker today than it was before he left.
Martin Bashir would rather quit than be exploited by Sarah Palin for another second. Bashir is a man of integrity who clearly reviled the gutter that Sarah Palin occupies.
Sarah Palin didn’t win here, but MSNBC definitely lost.