Palin cancels 'Today' interview over Bashir slur

Dylan Stableford
When will Martin Bashir be disciplined?
Sarah Palin verbally attacked by MSNBC host

Sarah Palin has canceled a holiday interview with the "Today" show in protest over NBC News not taking action against MSNBC host Martin Bashir, who last week suggested on air that the former Alaskan governor be defecated on for comparing the federal debt to slavery.

On Monday, Bashir apologized to Palin and viewers for his comments, which he called "wholly unacceptable."

“Last Friday, on this broadcast, I made some comments which were deeply offensive and directed at Gov. Sarah Palin," Bashir said. "I wanted to take this opportunity to say sorry to Mrs. Palin and to also offer an unreserved apology to her friends and family, her supporters, our viewers and anyone who may have heard what I said. My words were wholly unacceptable. They were neither accurate nor fair. They were unworthy of anyone who would claim to have an interest in politics, and they have brought shame upon my friends and colleagues at this network, none of whom were responsible for the things that I said.

“In the battle of ideas, America leads the world in wholehearted discussions and disagreements,” Bashir continued, “and these arguments can be heard on a daily basis. But what I did on Friday had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that great tradition, and I am deeply sorry."

But according to Fox News' Howard Kurtz, Bashir's lengthy apology wasn't enough to keep Palin from canceling a planned sit-down with Matt Lauer in Wasilla, Alaska. The cancellation was confirmed by The Associated Press.

Palin is currently on a 15-city book tour promoting "Good Tidings and Great Joy," her holiday book about the war on Christmas. A spokeswoman for MSNBC did not immediately return a request for comment.

According to Kurtz, Palin — a Fox News contributor — is irked that the cable network did not suspend Bashir like it did Alec Baldwin, whose show was taken off the air for two weeks over a confrontation the "30 Rock" actor had with photographers camped outside his New York City apartment. During it, Baldwin was seen on video berating one with a gay slur.

In a letter addressed to NBC News President Deborah Turness and MSNBC President Phil Griffin, SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford asked when Bashir would be disciplined.

"We would now like to know what disciplinary measures you are taking about Martin Bashir’s appalling statement," Crawford wrote. "You fired Don Imus for offensive language in describing the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball team, you suspended Alec Baldwin, and yet nothing has happened to Mr. Bashir. Are we to assume then, that disciplinary procedures at your network take place based on the target of the remarks rather than the remarks themselves?"

That Bashir made his comments on the air would seem to make his offense worse than Baldwin's, but for now, Bashir remains on the air.

Baldwin apologized, too, though he's not sure if his MSNBC show, "Up Late," will return.

"Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now," Baldwin wrote in a blog post on Saturday. "If the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it."