Bashir in May 2007.
Martin Henry Bashir
19 January 1963
Wandsworth, London, England, United Kingdom
|Alma mater||University of Winchester, King's College London|
|Occupation||Political commentator, journalist, news anchor, musician|
Martin Henry Bashir (born 19 January 1963) is an English journalist. He came to prominence on British television with his BBC interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, and then his controversial fly-on-the-wall documentary with pop singer Michael Jackson on ITV. On 4 December 2013, Bashir resigned from his position at MSNBC after he made "ill-judged comments" about the former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Bashir was born and raised in Wandsworth, London, to parents of Pakistani Christian origin. He started work as a journalist in 1986. He worked for the BBC until 1999 on programmes including Songs of Praise, Public Eye and Panorama and then joined ITV. Bashir was an anchor for ABC's Nightline, a political commentator for MSNBC, hosting Martin Bashir, and a correspondent for NBC's Dateline NBC. Bashir was appointed as BBC News Religious Affairs correspondent from October 2016, taking over the post from Caroline Wyatt.
Bashir was born and raised in Wandsworth, London, to parents of Pakistani Christian origin. He was educated at the state comprehensive Wandsworth School for Boys and King Alfred's College of Higher Education, Winchester, studying English and History from 1982–1985, and at King's College London.
He started work as a journalist in 1986. He worked for the BBC until 1999 on programmes including Songs of Praise, Public Eye and Panorama and then he joined ITV, working on special documentary programmes and features for Tonight with Trevor McDonald.
Bashir came to wide prominence in 1995 when he interviewed (for the BBC's Panorama programme) Diana, Princess of Wales about her failed marriage to the Prince of Wales. Since then he has conducted interviews with, among others, Louise Woodward, the five suspects in the Stephen Lawrence case, Michael Barrymore, Jeffrey Archer, Major Charles Ingram, Michael Jackson, and Joanne Lees.
It was announced in September 2016 that Bashir was returning to the BBC as religious affairs correspondent.
Bashir had a role as himself in the satirical comedy film Mike Bassett: England Manager.
In 2003, Bashir presented a documentary titled "Major Fraud" detailing the story of British Army Major Charles Ingram who cheated his way to the prize money in a 2001 episode of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.
Michael Jackson interviews
In 2003, Bashir conducted a series of interviews with pop singer Michael Jackson, as part of an ITV documentary Living with Michael Jackson, which Uri Geller, a friend of Jackson's, had arranged. Following the broadcast, which was viewed by 14 million in the UK and 38 million in the US, Jackson complained to the Independent Television Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Commission, accusing Bashir of yellow journalism. In response, Jackson and his personal cameraman released a rebuttal interview, which showed Bashir complimenting Jackson for the "spiritual" quality of the Neverland Ranch.
Bashir defended the documentary, stating, "I don't believe that I've betrayed Michael Jackson at all. I agreed that we would make an honest film about his life. The film was fair to his musical achievement and gave him every opportunity to explain himself. I'm not accusing anybody of being a child molester or a paedophile."
After Jackson's death in 2009, Dieter Wiesner, the pop star's manager from 1996 to 2003, said of Bashir's documentary:
|“||It broke [Jackson]. It killed him. He took a long time to die, but it started that night. Previously the drugs were a crutch, but after that they became a necessity.||”|
Bashir later said during ABC's coverage of Jackson's death:
|“||I think all of us were shocked and deeply saddened by the news today. I was actually out running in Central Park when I heard and came home, showered and came into the office. Many of us were excited about the prospect of him performing in London, thousands of people had bought tickets from all over the world and now to hear this news is very, very sad. I think it's worth remembering he was probably, singly, the greatest dancer and musician the world has ever seen. Certainly, when I made the documentary, there was a small part of that which contained a controversy concerning his relationship with other young people. But the truth is that he was never convicted of any crime, I never saw any wrongdoing myself and whilst his lifestyle may have been a bit unorthodox, I don't believe it was criminal and I think the world has now lost the greatest entertainer it's probably ever known.||”|
Juju Chang comments and suspension at ABC News
In 2008, while working as a reporter for Nightline, Bashir was suspended from ABC News after "making comments considered crude and sexist" during a dinner speech at the Asian American Journalists Association convention in Chicago. During the speech, he stated, "I'm happy to be in the midst of so many Asian babes. I'm happy that the podium covers me from the waist down." He continued and said that a speech should be "like a dress on a beautiful woman – long enough to cover the important parts and short enough to keep your interest – like my colleague Juju's," referring to Bashir's ABC News colleague Juju Chang, a reporter for 20/20. ABC News suspended him. He wrote an apology to the journalist association which stated, "Upon reflection, it was a tasteless remark that I now bitterly regret. I … hope that the continuing work of the organization will not be harmed or undermined by my moment of stupidity."
Sarah Palin comments and resignation from MSNBC
On 15 November 2013, Bashir criticized Sarah Palin for comments that she made comparing the Federal debt to slavery. Bashir attempted to counter Palin's comparison by referencing the punishment of slaves described by slave overseer Thomas Thistlewood, specifically a punishment called "Derby's dose" which involved forcing slaves to defecate or urinate into the mouth of another slave as punishment. Bashir then concluded by saying "if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate."
Bashir apologized on 18 November, stating among other things: "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." On 2 December, Bashir was suspended by the network and then resigned two days later. He issued a statement upon his resignation that said, "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." As of January, 2017, he is the Religion Editor for the BBC.
Bashir is fluent in English and Urdu. He identifies as a committed Christian, and has occasionally been seen visiting Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. He and his wife Deborah have three children: Samuel, Phoebe and Eliza.
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- "Neophyte reporter makes journalistic coup". Manila Standard. 18 November 1995. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
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- "Former manager unveils scale of Michael Jackson's drug use". Telegraph.co.uk. London. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- ABC News (25 June 2009). "Bashir: The Greatest Entertainer Has Died". Retrieved 26 March 2018 – via YouTube.
- Kurtz, Howard (5 December 2013). "EXCLUSIVE: Martin Bashir, out at MSNBC over Palin slur, was previously suspended". FOX News. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
- "MSNBC not commenting on whether further action contemplated against Bashir", Associated Press via Washington Post (19 November 2013).
- Williams, Rob. "Martin Bashir says Sarah Palin is an 'idiot' and suggests someone should defecate in her mouth", The Independent (18 November 2013).
- Byers, Dylan. MSNBC's Martin Bashir 'on vacation' after Sarah Palin remarks, Politico, 2 December 2013.
- Coscarelli, Joe. "MSNBC Host Sorry for Saying Disgusting Thing About Sarah Palin’s Mouth", New York (18 November 2013).
- Airens, Chris (4 December 2013). "Martin Bashir Out at MSNBC". TVNewser. Retrieved 4 December 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
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- Ross, Robyn (3 December 2013). "Martin Bashir Resigns from MSNBC After Sarah Palin Scandal". SeattlePI.Com/TV Guide. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- NBC Universal. "Martin Bashir". NBC Universal. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Salisbury, Vanita (15 February 2012). "Martin Bashir Can't Stand the Cost of Cat Boarding". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Wells, Matt (22 January 2003). "Talk to me". The Guardian. Birmingham.
- "25th Anniversary weekend". Redeemer Presbyterian Church website. 18 September 2014. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
- Merritt, Jonathan (13 August 2014). "How American Christians can stop being bullies and start winning converts". The Week. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
- "Journalist Martin Bashir, age 53, shares how he fell in love with his wife all over again while battling cancer".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Martin Bashir.|
- Profile and Martin Bashir show at MSNBC
- Martin Bashir on IMDb
- Works by or about Martin Bashir in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
| Nightline anchor
28 November 2005 – 6 August 2010
With Terry Moran and Cynthia McFadden
With Terry Moran and Cynthia McFadden