I haven’t written about insanity in the news media recently because I’ve been preoccupied with living my life, but this latest controversy is too crazy to pass up. In case you haven’t heard, actress/comedian/Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr made an insensitive and racist tweet about Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, causing ABC to dump its popular Roseanne reboot.
Roseanne Barr’s original sin in their eyes was not only making (somewhat) supportive statements about President Trump, but then also having a hugely popular TV reboot starring a character that supports President Trump. Horror of horrors.
So when this whole controversy went down, of course the usual suspects in the media tried to make this about President Trump instead of the person who actually made the comment. Trump, who can’t help talking about himself, came out with a statement about the incident that, to no one’s surprise, also focused on himself.
Now, it really annoys me when politicians feel the need to release statements or make comments about everything that happens in the world, so I don’t think the president should have said anything about this. After all, it had nothing to do with him. However, after his statement, CNN came out with this article: “Trump breaks silence on Roseanne Barr scandal.”
Trump breaks silence? Like he was avoiding talking about it? Why should he say anything about it at all? What does a comment by Roseanne Barr about Valerie Jarrett have anything to do with him? Is Trump supposed to comment on every public spat between celebrities and public figures?
But the craziest headline was from an opinion piece in the Washington Post (of course): “President Trump is normalizing racism” by neocon historian Max Boot. Uh, what? Granted, Boot is a military historian primarily, but at some point he must have studied American politics in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century, when the Democratic Party openly called itself the “White Man’s party,” and racist appeals regularly appeared in mainstream publications.
This was a mainstream political poster distributed during the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election of 1866:
That’s what “normalized racism” actually looks like.
Roseanne’s comment was roundly denounced by everyone–and she lost her hugely popular TV show because of it. Saying racism is somehow being normalized in the United States today because of President Trump, especially because of comments he had absolutely nothing to do with, is not just insanely wrong, it’s irresponsible.
Roseanne Barr has a history of controversial and offensive comments and actions. In July 2009 she posed as Adolf Hitler holding burnt cookies in a feature for the satirical Jewish publication Heeb magazine, and was accused of being antisemitic (although she herself is Jewish and said she was making fun of Hitler). So was that President Obama’s fault at the time? Of course not. Just as what she says today is not the fault of President Trump.