I never liked Martin Bashir. He’s smarmy, built a career on ruining Michael Jackson’s life, and once told a room of journalists that Asian women give him a boner. I guess his accent tricks the right people into thinking he has something intelligent to say, because he is a continued unwelcome presence in my home: First, as co-anchor of Nightline (ugh, Ted Koppel how I miss thee), and now manning the desk of his very own show on MSNBC, called simply, Martin Bashir.
“Clear the Air” is that part of Martin Bashir where the host gets something off his chest, via a pre-written editorial. It’s the kind of segment which Rachel Maddow (and, in happier times, Keith Olbermann) could deploy to devastating effect. Bashir, not so much. I’ve transcribed the entirety of today’s “Clear the Air,” which I’ve taken the liberty to annotate in parenthesis, for your reading terror.
MARTIN BASHIR: "It’s time to Clear the Air, and on Friday morning, one man might have been tempted to think that he was incredibly fortunate that the story of his own unstable and volatile behavior would also be buried underneath the horrific earthquake in Japan—news which has dominated this and every broadcast. [I’m sorry: Is Martin Bashir about to introduce a Charlie Sheen segment using a mind-bogglingly insensitive Japanese earthquake metaphor that plays on the word “buried?” That simply cannot be, right?] But just two weeks after the Academy Awards, Mel Gibson [Psych! It’s not about Charlie Sheen at all. He totally had you going] who’s collected not one but two of those precious Oscar statuettes [you can’t impress Martin with your shiny awards], picked up three new awards: 16 hours of community service, 12 months of counseling, and three years probation [another great metaphor!]. Friday’s award ceremony [they should rename this show Metaphors-R-Us!] took place in Court 803 at the Los Angeles Airport Courthouse, and though there were plenty of cameras outside, there was no red carpet, no champagne, and only the company of other petty criminals. [Ugh, shut up, Martin Bashir!] For a fabulously wealthy and extraordinarily talented man, this was no way to crown a career. [Who, besides Whoopi Goldberg gives a rat’s ass about how Mel Gibson’s career will be crowned at this point?]
A disputed incident in January of last year was the cause of Mr. Gibson’s appearance. His girlfriend and the mother of his youngest child claimed he’d punched her teeth out during a row at their home. But the strongest evidence didn’t come from dental records, but tape-recorded conversations which took place between them a few months later. In between some racist slurs and full-blown sexism [as opposed to a “full-blown half-wit,” which is what you are], Mr. Gibson says, “I’ll put you in an f-ing rose garden. You need an f-ing bat in the side of the head,” amongst other foul and fearful comments [you would know]. Unfortunately for him, Mr. Gibson’s performance was typically convincing, whether he meant it or not. And so on Friday, he plead no context to a charge of spousal battery.
There are some who are now saying that his career is finished, his character radioactive. Strangely enough, it’s almost exactly what’s being said of that region in the northeast of Japan, where explosions have occurred at a nuclear power plant [I swear to god he said this. The (unembeddable) video is linked below if you don’t believe me]. Yet somehow, there’s every confidence that just three days after the earthquake, the Japanese people will rebuild their land and restore their nation. Indeed, there’s no doubt about it. But there’s much less confidence in Mel Gibson’s ability to salvage his own career [millions displaced + tens of thousands dead + the threat of another Chernobyl = getting Lethal Weapon 5 back on track. Yup, nothing wrong with that math].
Which leads us [leave me out of this] to ask a somewhat difficult question: Is it easier to rebuild a devastated country than it is to restore a devastated character. I’m not sure of the answer, but perhaps the key to recovery starts with the word “humility”—something that the Japanese know all about. [Now is the part where Martin teaches us all about Japanese culture. Did you know they consider a compliment to belch after a meal? Tee-hee!] They live humbly with Mother Nature [make it stop] knowing that just as there have been many earthquakes in the past, so they’ll be many more in the future [since you know nothing about anything, I’ll ask that you please stop talking now].
And Japan is known for being the best-prepared nation on earth for an earthquake. [I guess you’re going to keep talking.] And that’s probably because there’s a level of humility...Mr. Gibson is well-known to be a man of deep, personal faith. And maybe now is the time, either during his community service or counseling, for him to start humbly rebuilding his world. [You mean, like the Japanese are “humbly” about to rebuild theirs?] His film, The Passion of the Christ, focused on the New Testament gospel accounts. But here’s a quotation from the Old Testament, from the prophet Micah, which may seem perfectly appropriate for Mr. Gibson: “‘And what does the Lord require of you,’ asked the prophet. ‘To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?’” And if the Japanese can do it, then why not Mel Gibson, too?" [That’s some big talk from the guy who tricked Michael Jackson into thinking he was making a documentary that would humanize the singer for the world, and instead craftily edited together a portrait of a lunatic recluse and dangerous child predator, using only circumstantial evidence and damning innuendo. Pretty big, indeed.]
As far as I’m concerned, this editorial is grounds for not only Bashir’s immediate termination and lifetime suspension from U.S. airwaves, but for his complete expulsion from our planet— preferably via some kind of single-occupant spacecraft, launched into the dark abyss, where we’ll never again be exposed to his musings on the true nature of celebrity redemption as it compares to the unerringly humble, possibly radioactive peoples of a devastated Japan.
Watch the full "Clear the Air" segment here.