Journalist Martin Bashir is rejoining the world's oldest national broadcaster and public service organization British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as religion correspondent after many years in the United States. He first gained fame for a 1995 BBC interview with Wales Princess Diana in which she discussed the breakup of her marriage to Prince Charles. In 2003, his documentary "Living With Michael Jackson" aired on ABC to a huge audience. He takes over the post from Caroline Wyatt, who was a BBC journalist for 20-plus years.
Bashir joined ABC in 2004, and in 2010 moved to NBC as an MSNBC anchor and a correspondent on the "Dateline" program. He resigned from MSNBC in 2013 after graphically disparaging former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in comments related to an alleged slavery incident, reports Fox News. He called Palin, who was a vice presidential candidate at the time, "America's resident dunce" and claimed she has a "deceased" mind. Bashir then went 100 steps further with a shockingly crude call for defiling Palin related to defecation.
Bashir's resignation came shortly after Alec Baldwin parted ways with MSNBC over anti-gay comments he made toward a photographer. At the time, many wondered why Baldwin, who was suspended for two weeks for statements he made off the air, was seemingly being punished more than Bashir, who was not given any immediate suspension.
BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, with more than 20,950 staff in total, of whom 16,672 are in public sector broadcasting, including part-time, flexible as well as fixed contract staff, the total number is 35,402. BBC officially launched in January 1922.
The 53-year-old broadcaster said he was "delighted" to return to the BBC.
"Martin previously worked on BBC religion and ethics programs and documentaries in the 1990s," BBC announced in a statement. "Martin will report on events and provide analysis and insight on the major themes and issues affecting different faiths in the UK and around the world."
Jonathan Munro, head of BBC Newsgathering, said Bashir's track record in enterprising journalism is well known and respected in the industry and amongst audiences. "As a student of theology, Martin will bring immense knowledge to his new role and an enthusiasm to cover the broadest range of faith-based stories."
Bashir was born in London, England, to parents from Pakistan. He won a BAFTA (the United Kingdom equivalent of an Oscar), three Royal Television Society Awards and two Broadcasting Press Guild awards. He was the Royal Television Society's Journalist of the Year in 1996. However, he was voted the fifth Worst Briton in Channel 4's poll of "The 100 Worst Britons of All Time."