It’s a rather predictable formula for MSNBC: Whenever a high-profile person says something with racial overtones, the network brings on a person belonging to the race in question to confirm that what the person said was indeed racist.
So it’s not a surprise that in light of Roseanne Barr’s controversial Twitter post earlier in the day — Barr “joked” that former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett’s physical appearance was the byproduct of combining the “Muslim brotherhood” with the “Planet of the Apes” — MSNBC would bring on its own Joy Reid to confirm that Barr’s comments were offensive to African-Americans.
But perhaps segment host Andrea Mitchell has a very short memory, because one of the questions she posed to Reid certainly did not put her guest in a very good light.
During the interview — conducted prior to the announcement by ABC that is was cancelling Barr’s sitcom in light of her comment — Mitchell almost certainly made Reid squirm when she asked, “What do you have to do on social media to get fired from a top-rated show on American broadcast television?”
Reid dutifully answered the question, saying Barr’s comment about Jarrett’s appearance was proof that the message was racist. “I’m not surprised,” Reid said. “This is the kind of humor that Roseanne does.”
But for those whose memories stretch back more than a few months, the irony of Mitchell’s question to Reid was too rich to ignore.
It wasn’t that long ago that Reid stirred up a controversy of her own because of things she wrote on social media. A Twitter user uncovered blog posts and other tweets authored by Reid more than a decade ago that slammed gay marriage, accused people of being gay who had not come out as such, made suggestions that certain politicians had engaged in homosexual acts with each other, and other homophobic remarks.
Reid apologized in December when some of the first blog posts were uncovered. But when more were exposed in April, she didn’t apologize. Instead, she claimed the posts were not written by her, but rather they were the work of a hacker who gained access to her site.
Her hacking claim was quickly all but debunked by several cybersecurity experts, prompting Reid to admit on her weekly MSNBC show that even though she couldn’t prove she had been hacked, she assumed she was because she can’t ever imagine herself saying what she said.
“I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things,” Reid told her viewers. “The person I am now is not the person I was then.”
The notion of Mitchell asking Reid about offensive social media posts was one several media pundits had fun with.
“What the hell does someone have to do to get fired from a network these days? To help me answer this question I’m bringing in Joy Reid & Brian Williams,” Fox News contributor Stephen Miller joked, referring to two MSNBC hosts who have been accused of bending the truth about themselves.
Others noted that Reid called for Barr to be fired for her posts, even though MSNBC never disciplined Reid for her homophobic comments, let alone the seemingly false hacking claim.
Joy Reid: Roseanne should be fired for her social media posts
Also Joy Reid: I honestly do not believe I wrote those hateful social media posts people found on my blog…
— Jack Posobiec?? (@JackPosobiec) May 29, 2018
Looks like the only network Roseanne could work at now is MSNBC, they’ve had a host accused of racist posts, anti-gay posts, and anti-muslim posts and don’t cancel their show, if they apologize: https://t.co/mtFU3DCt82 #Roseanne
— MARK SIMONE (@MarkSimoneNY) May 29, 2018
Despite Barr’s apology for what she described as a joke about Jarrett, ABC announced it was cancelling “Roseanne” — one of the network’s biggest hits of the past TV season.
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC said.
Disney CEO Bob Iger took to Twitter to say of Barr’s firing, “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.