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Albuquerque Journal 

Citizens must demand better public behavior


Just when you think the level of discourse and civility in this country can’t get any lower, you are proven wrong — as illustrated by two stories that have competed for headlines this month.

The first was an incredibly offensive tweet by Roseanne Barr — who managed to sink her hit new television show in which she played essentially herself, a Trump supporter. She one-upped her previous history of obnoxious behavior in just 53 characters by referring to Obama confidante and former adviser Valerie Jarrett as a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes.”

Why she would tweet out this racially offensive diatribe about Jarrett, who is African American, is anybody’s guess, and it really doesn’t matter. Her words do. Yes, she apologized and said it was just a bad joke, but ABC quickly pulled the plug on her show. The company president called it “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”

Fair enough. Shed no tears for Roseanne, but you can feel some sympathy for all those employed on her show.

The week didn’t get any better in terms of arguing that civilization is, in fact, advancing. Over at TBS, Samantha Bee in her show “Full Frontal” ripped into Ivanka Trump, calling her a “feckless c…” during a segment about President Trump’s immigration policies, including the separation of children from parents who are taken into custody by border agents. Bee then urged her to “put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to f…… stop it.”

She did not, of course, use ellipses to edit herself. And neither did the network. Barr’s was a spontaneous racist blast while Bee’s was written out ahead of time and placed on the Teleprompter.

Bee quickly apologized — which sounds phony since the comments were planned — and faced zero consequences from her employer, which praised her for apologizing.

ABC and TBS both made choices; both were well within their rights. That, however, hasn’t shut off the debate and argument. No one is really defending Roseanne, but many have called out TBS, urging some kind of parity.

One of those was Ari Fleisher, former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici staffer and White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. He tweeted there’s “a double standard” in action when you compare the mainstream media’s reactions to the two events. “Why?” he asked. “Because she’s a liberal.”

Perhaps. It would be hard to imagine a talk show host getting away with using that language to describe, say, Michelle Obama.

Be that as it may, this much is clear: Our discourse won’t get any better — from the president to Hollywood — until the public demands it.

— Albuquerque Journal


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