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Martin Bashir Out at MSNBC

BashirBreaking: MSNBC host Martin Bashir is leaving the network.

Bashir hasn’t been on the air since Nov. 22. MSNBC said he was on a pre-planned vacation, but we’ve learned he resigned today. The departure follows comments he made about Sarah Palin on his Friday, Nov. 15 show.

Bashir called Palin a “dunce” and suggested she might be a candidate for the same treatment slaves received from a plantation owner named Thomas Thistewood: being urinated and defecated on.

After demands for an apology, he apologized, but remained on the air. As calls for a suspension grew louder, Bashir anchored the rest of the week before going on that vacation.

Bashir joined MSNBC in the summer of 2010, after six years with ABC News, part of that time as a host of “Nightline.”

More: Comments from Bashir and MSNBC president Phil Griffin after the jump…

> More, a statement from Bashir: “After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday. Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments. 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 – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast.”

> More: Statement by Phil Griffin: “Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague – we wish him only the best.”

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