Bashir, Palin, and How Things Got Out of Hand
The Independent Project. Redding, CA
Martin Bashir, and his rant about how Sarah Palin has compared the national debt to slavery, is very disappointing. It was more about divisive politics than news coverage. If you actually watch both Sarah Palin’s speech and Mr. Bashir’s segment, you will see that Sarah Palin was comparing the debt overhanging our future generations to slavery. This is a stretch but still not entirely without merit. Mrs. Palin says, “When that note comes due — and this isn’t racist so try it anyway, this isn’t racist — but it’s going to be like slavery when that note is due, right?” She is essentially saying that in order to pay for or stave off that debt we as a people are going to have to do things against our will, and that is, keyword, “like” slavery. Sarah Palin did not say it was slavery; she compared debt to slavery. This is a valid and useful rhetorical tool, if used correctly. Many concepts are similar to slavery in some aspect. Are those things as severe or horrific? No, they are not remotely as deplorable. When slavery is worse than what one is comparing it to, this does not mean one should withhold from using that term as a comparison. Sarah Palin did not paint slavery in a positive light; she was speaking on the debt and its negative effects, which are why we need to fix it. To attack her for comparing something to slavery is an underhanded and hyperemotional jab.
Furthermore, Martin Bashir referred to Palin multiple times as a “well-established world class idiot.” This is not only an insult, but is a hypocritical one, because Martin Bashir’s employer MSNBC is known in the conservative world to call out anyone who has made any derogatory comments or insults to Democratic female politicians. Also, Martin Bashir suggested that the slaves’ punishment of others urinating and defecating in a slave’s mouth can be applied to Sarah Palin. This is beyond disrespectful and inappropriate, but also shows how these things get out of hand and become polarizing in this type of situation. Bashir, in his criticism of Sarah Palin, reads accounts of slave brutality and abuse to counter her point, rather than explaining why she is incorrect. Instead, he used hyperemotional rhetoric to counter Sarah Palin’s hyperemotional rhetoric. Currently, left-wing news outlets are defending him, and right-wing news outlets are attacking him. There is a lack of input from women’s groups who usually interject whenever a female public figure is directly insulted in this manner.
Bottom line: Bashir was out of line, and Palin should have used a different term.