Opinion: Barr’s racism is worse than Bee’s potty mouth

On the political entertainment front, everyone seems to be on apology tour these days, but not with apologies for everybody.

President Donald Trump is miffed that Disney chief Bob Iger phoned Valerie Jarrett, former top aide to President Barack Obama. He reportedly wanted her to be the first to know that Disney-owned ABC is canceling its reboot of the 1990s sitcom “Roseanne,” despite its commercial success after its star Rosanne Barr posted racist tweets about Jarrett.

On Tuesday morning, Barr had used Twitter to attack Jarrett, describing her as looking like the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes” had a baby.

But Trump got to the heart of what he saw as the important issue here: him.

“Iger,” Trump tweeted Thursday, “where is my call of apology?”

It was Trump’s second tweet in two days that called for an apology from Iger for “the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call.”

He cited ABC News reporter Brian Ross, who mistakenly reported last year that Trump had directed aide Michael Flynn to contact Russians during the 2016 campaign. Trump actually was already president-elect when he made that request. In his recent tweet, Trump blasted Ross for issuing “no apology.”

Not true. Ross and ABC News apologized for the error. That’s what professional journalists do when we make a mistake, contrary to the impression Trump leaves with his rants about “the fake news media.”

Why does the White House get involved with a TV show? Because, one, we have the nation’s first president who appears to follow TV ratings as closely as he watches Wall Street. And, two, TV shows have become one of the arenas where we fight culture wars.

Roseanne Barr, a fervent Trump supporter, has co-created a comedy about a family that is divided, as many real American families are, by support of or opposition to Trump. Trump supporters, including Trump himself, rooted for the show’s demonstration that conservative humor doesn’t have to be an oxymoron.

Meanwhile, on the other side of this political and tribal gap, comedian Samantha Bee apologized Thursday for describing Ivanka Trump with a vulgarity on her TBS show, “Full Frontal.”

Bee showed a photo of the president’s elder daughter with her younger son. Circulating online at the same time federal reports that the government couldn’t account for the whereabouts of almost 1,500 migrant children last year, the photo sparked outrage online and in Bee’s monologue.

“You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless c—-!”

The audience exploded with laughter, but the White House was not amused. “The language used by Samantha Bee last night is vile and vicious,” fumed White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a statement.

Well, I don’t blame the White House and Trump family for being outraged. To many of the women I know, the C-word is no more acceptable than the N-word is to African-Americans. Bee and the TBS network profusely apologized and the show immediately lost Autotrader and State Farm as sponsors.

But the show was not cancelled, and Sanders did not say it should be. Even Roseanne said to her credit she did not want people to compare her case to Bee’s or anyone else.

Good for her. But what I find most memorable is how much more upset the president and his team were about the alleged offenses to the president. Barr’s racist tweets received the sort of passive judgement Trump expressed when he blamed “both sides” for the violence at a white nationalist rally that left one dead and many injured in Charlottesville, Va., last year. I guess it plays well with his base, like everything else he seems to be most concerned about.

Writes for Tribune Content Agency.

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