On Tuesday, just hours after Roseanne Barr apologized for her tweet describing former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett as the love child of the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes,” ABC announced that it was canceling “Roseanne” over the star’s “abhorrent” and “repugnant” statement. (Barr has since suggested that she didn’t realize Jarrett is part-black and blamed “Ambien tweeting” for her bad judgment.)
The abrupt cancelation of the hit reboot of the show was met with applause from many, particularly her fellow celebrities who find Barr’s pro-Trumpism unbearable, but it was also met from the right by many who pointed out the double standard of the media, particularly ABC.
In a tweet noted by The Hill, political comedian Tim Young was among those who highlighted the egregious double standard of the networks. If Barr should be fired for her tweet — like many on the right, including Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, say was the right move — then what about the tweets of a man Disney/ABC-owned ESPN just rehired: Keith Olbermann, whose record on Twitter could also be described as “abhorrent” and “repugnant”:
President Trump issued a similar “double standard” complaint in his response to ABC’s handling of Roseanne’s inflammatory tweet. Rather than addressing the content of Barr’s post, Trump slammed Disney CEO Bob Iger for failing to reach out to him like he did to Jarrett.
“Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr,” wrote Trump. “Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders expanded on Trump’s complaint in a press briefing Wednesday, specifically citing ESPN’s decision to hire Olbermann. “Where was Bob Iger’s apology to the White House staff for Jemele Hill calling the president and anyone associated had him a white supremacist?” she said. “To Christians around the world for Joy Behar calling Christianity a mental illness? Where was the apology for Kathy Griffin going on a profane rant against the President on ‘The View’ after a photo showed her holding president Trump’s decapitated head?…Where was the apology for Bob Iger hiring for ESPN Keith Olbermann after his numerous expletive-laced tweets saying the president is a Nazi and even expanding Olbermann’s role after that attack against the President’s family.”
The other media figure who has been cited most frequently as an example of the media’s double standard is Joy Reid, who has recently come under fire for past blog posts which have been decried from all side as “homophobic” and “transphobic,” yet continues to be employed by MSNBC despite having failed to fully take responsibility, claiming initially that she was hacked — a claim the Daily Beast debunked.
In fact, in a particularly jaw-dropping moment, on Tuesday, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell invited on Reid to talk about Roseanne’s tweet, with Mitchell at one point even asking Reid, without a hint of irony, “What do you have to do on social media to get fired from a top-rated show on an American broadcast network?“
This article has been updated to include the responses of President Trump and Sarah Sanders.