September 25, 2012 By Jack Jodell
Our latest entrant into this select field is not even American by heritage. Rather, he is British – Pakistani by birth, but has been in this country a number of years; loves and respects our people and institutions; and even hosts his own one-hour news and commentary program on MSNBC-TV Mondays-Fridays at 4 PM Eastern time. His name is MARTIN BASHIR, and I urge those of you who have not yet done so to tune him in.
Bashir, who was born in London in 1963, has shown he inderstands very well the importance a strong government plays in the overall well-being of its citizens. The son of Pakistani parents, he had a brother who was afflicted with muscular dystrophy, and it was from his own firsthand experience with that he learned the value of “big government”. For it was the United Kingdom’s well-developed social safety net which provided the necessary medical, special education, day care, transportation, and respite services which were so crucial to the comfort and care of his afflicted brother as well as to the entire family who had to deal with that round-the-clock crisis.
Bashir has had a very broad, if relatively short, career in journalism. He attended King Alfred’s College of Higher Education, and became a journalist with the BBC and ITV before coming to America. He gained fame here through an exhaustive series of interviews featuring the late pop-icon Michael Jackson as well as having previously interviewed the UK’s late Princess Diana. Before settling in at MSNBC in 2010, he co-hosted ABC’s popular Nightline series for a time.
Originally known for a kind of salacious style of reporting, Bashir’s current show is anything but that. He devotes his coverage mainly to serious topics of a political and sometimes cultural bent. Indeed, his demeanor is both probing and thoughtful rather than obsessed with scandal. His hallmarks are staying on topic (and keeping his guests there as well), and asking sharp, pointed, no-nonsense questions. Unlike his counterparts over at Fox “News”, he never soft-serves his guests or spoon-feeds them the latest political party talking points. Bashir is far too analytical for that. He does not put up with any attempt at spinning by those who appear on his show, and will even cut them short and demand a truthful answer when necessary. The amazing thing is that he does all of this with a very genteel manner. It is particularly entertaining to watch him grill obviously-lying persons on the far-right, something precious few other political pundits do anymore (with the possible exception of Chris Matthews). He is particularly appalled at the obvious hatred and contempt the current extremist Republican far-right shows toward President Obama, and often editorializes against the hateful and uncooperative actions these types exhibit.
For these and many other reasons, especially because he understands the necessity of having government provide a strong social safety net for the afflicted and underprivileged, Martin Bashir is definitely worthy of the title “Hero of American Journalism.” I strongly urge you to tune in to a few of his shows, for if you do so, I am confident that you, too, will agree that this is an uncommon and very decent and honest reporter.