November 24, 2013

In an appearance this morning on Chris Wallace’s Fox News Sunday, conservative icon Sarah Palin accepted the apology offered by MSNBC host Martin Bashir. After Palin had compared public debt to slavery, Bashir, in a Nov. 15 monologue, lectured Palin on the evils of slavery and all but fantasized that an unspeakable form of slave punishment be visited upon Palin. On Monday, Bashir issued a powerful and contrite apology.

Palin accepted that apology on Sunday. “Obviously, who am I to not accept an apology? Everyone must humble themselves and accept that offer of apology,” she told Wallace.

Yet the discussion wasn’t all conciliatory. Palin bashed the “media elite bubble,” as she always does, and she alleged that MSNBC all but supported what Bashir said: “As for the network’s condoning those type of statements — ’cause there’s been no punishment of the fella who said these words — that’s hypocrisy. That’s a given, though, when a conservative woman says something that they take offense, they usually just kind of pooh-pooh it, laugh it off, it’s no big deal,” said Palin.

She continued: “But as for personally taking shots like that, Chris? Everybody in life takes shots. You have a decision to make when you take a shot. Are you going to become bitter or better? In a case like this, I don’t have to accept his words, his vile, evil comments. They don’t have to affect me. I move on, and I charge forth.”

Well said. Palin veered into bizarre territory when she went off on how she’d react if “Bashir or anybody else in this media elite bubble that they put themselves in were to attack someone who was defenseless, like a vulnerable child, who does not have that podium, that microphone that God has blessed me to be able to express my opinion.” In such a case, Palin pledged, she’d rise up like a “mama grizzly” and “slap that person down.” In the Bashir case, however, the victim was not a “vulnerable child.” Said Palin, “I can defend myself, and I can take it.”

She also tucked in some advice for the next liberal TV host who decides to say such “evil” things: Leave a phone message for her husband Todd or her children. “Hear what they have to say about it and then they can come to me,” she said.

Those conciliatory and gracious comments from Palin, combined with the ritual news slowdown of Thanksgiving week, could well ease the pressure on MSNBC higher-ups to punish Bashir and issue a fuller accounting of the episode.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.