Samantha Bee’s monologue on her show Wednesday night involved excoriating the Trump administration’s goal of separating every child from their parents if they commit the moral sin of trying to cross the border. She also referred to Ivanka Trump as a “cunt.” Naturally, everyone—from the White House on down—focused on litigating how Bad the second thing was, until Bee and her network, TBS, apologized for the remark on Thursday afternoon and the clip was pulled from YouTube.
We could’ve seen this entire outrage cycle coming. Any time the pundit and Beltway journalist class has the chance to virtue signal in an effort to look “objective” by going after a liberal, they seize on it by overcorrecting and turning themselves into incorrigible scolds. I’m not going to spend time weighing whether Bee should’ve used That Word—it doesn’t bother me personally, but the bit felt extremely calibrated for maximum shock value in an otherwise strong monologue about Trump’s atrocious immigration policies—because that’s not the point.
What matters now is that, once again, the scolds won the posturing war.
(Someone should tell Chris Cillizza about Chris Cillizza’s personal compilation of his favorite bullying Donald Trump nicknames.)
But lucky for us, he wasn’t quite done, pulling his sanctimonious quote retweet routine on Kathy Griffin, who knows a thing or two about manufactured outrage vis a vis the Trumps.
Which led to this good and true tweet:
Unfortunately, Cillizza was far from alone on this, even on his own network:
There is simply no winning at this game if you opt to play. What you—a thought leader who doesn’t like mean words—consider a goodwill effort to maintain civility will absolutely always be weaponized by the worst actors:
After all of this—and no, we’re far from done—no one has won, and no one has been converted. The entire incident will be read by most of the country as another media blip about nothing material to their lives. The large cross-section of Americans who hate the media will undoubtedly continue to do so despite the punditry’s best efforts at defending Ivanka Trump’s honor. In a week dominated by news of Roseanne Barr finally losing her ill-conceived comeback show over a new spate of racist tweets, conservatives were desperate for retribution. They got their incident gift-wrapped for false equivalence and Bee, by capitulating to the outrage machine, has only empowered them to do it again and again, no matter the content. I hope everyone got what they wanted to off their chests!