Roseanne Barr's tweet against Valerie Jarrett is not defensible. I say this as someone with my share of indefensible tweets in my past, including the most infamous one about David Souter. The great difference between Roseanne's tweet and mine is that I have not had and definitely did not at the time have the number one television show on network television with the title of the show being my first name. Roseanne has obligations to her network and audience and she blew it. I am 42 years old and had this figured out a few years ago. Roseanne is a 65 year old woman who has been on television numerous times. She is no victim here. If anything, given her past history, ABC showed her some grace and mercy by letting her on television and she repaid them with a racist spectacle.
And please don't defend her tweet. There is a long history of racists comparing black people in the United States to monkeys, apes, and other non-human primates. Her joke was not in poor taste. It was racist.
I have lots and lots of concerns about social media mobs driving Christians and conservatives off of television. The social media and Buzzfeed backed mob against Chip and Joanna Gaines was an example of this. They had done nothing to deserve it, but were clearly open Christians and Buzzfeed felt compelled to lead a mob against them to destroy their careers unless they yielded in the culture war.
This was not that. Nor was this like the Brendan Eich situation at Mozilla where the social media mob had him chased out of town for giving money to a political campaign they opposed.
This was a woman with a massive platform and a hit television show named after her going on Twitter to compare a black woman to an ape.
If you are going to be mad at anyone, be mad at Roseanne. She used the media to build her up as a Trump supporter and as a meaningful constituent of the center right. Then she handed the media the ammunition to take shots at conservatives. Roseanne was never part of the center-right coalition. She ran for President with Jill Stein as a running mate. She has been a 9/11 truther. She has wished cancer on people who eat at Chick-Fil-A. She is, at best, alt-left, but these days the alt-left and alt-right meet in a circle.
The real story here is that the media long tolerated Roseanne's batcrap crazy ideas and offensive statements, just like the media did with Alec Baldwin, Keith Olbermann, and even Donald Trump. But once Trump and Roseanne no longer seemingly affiliated with the left, they were suddenly expendable.
Again though, I want to come back to and put the spotlight on a key point. ABC, if nothing else, showed grace and mercy to Roseanne allowing her another chance at fame despite her previous outrageous statements and antics. And she let them down. She should have stayed off Twitter altogether and there is a lesson in that.
Roseanne's show mocked Trump voters. It did not celebrate those voters. That the media presumed otherwise shows how ignorant the media is. She is not worth defending. As I said when her show was announced, if you hold up Roseanne as a voice of moral authority, prepare to be embarrassed.