The whole distasteful thing was in response to a speech by Palin in which she compared Chinese debt to slavery. Bashir was not impressed by this comparison. In his response to Palin’s comments, the journalist made this clear with a lengthy (and not terribly topical) discussion of slavery horrors from the past.
Bashir chose to make his point with the story of an 18th-century slaveowner in Jamaica named Thomas Thistlewood. Apparently, this rather unpleasant man kept a detailed journal in which he chronicled the many ways he “disciplined” slaves.
“In 1756,” Bashir recounts, “he records that a slave named Darby ‘catched eating canes; had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s*** in his mouth.'” The journalist noted that this punishment became known as “Darby’s Dose” and related another, similar story of cruelty.
The story ended with Bashir wanting Palin to understand slavery in the most disgusting way possible: “When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.”
To say that this is over-the-top and uncalled-for is more than a slight understatement. It’s also a rather filthy and disgusting invitation for those who disagree with Bashir — or his politics — to rightly criticize this commentary.