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Recently, in response to Martin Bashir’s segment on Sarah Palin, I wrote that the MSNBC host had “taken Palin Derangement Syndrome to a new level of hysteria” and called the attack vile and despicable.

This week, Bashir issued an apology that many found shocking because of its apparent stark sincerity and lack of caveats or blame-shifting. The oft-heard “if I offended anyone” was absent, as Bashir simply said, “I wanted to take this opportunity to say ‘sorry’ to Mrs. Palin and to also offer an unreserved apology to her friends and family, her supporters, our viewers, and anyone who may have heard what I said. My words were wholly unacceptable. They were neither accurate nor fair.” He said he was deeply sorry and added,  “I deeply regret what I said.”

Whatever you think of Bashir and his often liberal political posturing, this is the blueprint for an excellent apology. When I heard it, my first thought was: “This is how you apologize.”

In many ways this does not seem like the same man who viciously attacked Palin and regularly attacks and mocks conservatives on his show, which is why it caught many off guard and engendred accusations of less-than-honorable motives on Bashir’s part, despite the forthrightness of his apology.

While I will not presume to ascribe motives to Bashir, I would like to add a bit of context that may perhaps shed some light on how it’s both plausible and possible that he may have gone from harsh, ugly vitriol on Friday to humility and repentance just a few days later.