CBS This Morning on Friday floated the idea that the disgustingly vulgar attack by Samantha Bee against Ivanka Trump might be a case of “whataboutism.” Reporter Vladimir Duthiers waded into the tortured waters of comparing the awfulness of Bee’s comments vs. Roseanne Barr’s vile remarks: “Others say Bee was talking about Trump's character. Roseanne Barr was talking about Valerie Jarrett’s race. And that’s different.”
How is calling a woman a “cunt” a discussion of “character?” Duthiers dismissed: “My social media feed has blown up with a case of whataboutism.” According to Merriam-Webster, whataboutism is “a reversal of [an] accusation, arguing that an opponent is guilty of an offense just as egregious or worse.” Is it not possible to walk and chew gum, to think that both Barr and Bee said awful things?
CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King actually made this point, dismissing her colleague’s assumption: “I just think the vulgarness and the vileness is so, so upsetting to me. I think if someone said that about the Obama girls, the Bush girls, Chelsea Clinton, people would be marching in the street.”
Admirably, King offered no excuses for the liberal TBS host:
At some point, we need to take responsibility for the words that we use, comedian or not. I like Samantha Bee and like her show, but I... do think she crossed the line. Now we're setting up a tit for tat situation.
At one point, Duthiers turned to Washington Post journalist Emily Heil for comment. She said of the White House response to the comments: “It's just an unprecedented level of engagement on these kinds of things that they perceive to be slights.” Perceived slight? How could the attack be seen any other way?
At least Duthiers, at one point, stated the obvious: “Some conservatives argue the incident is further proof of a double standard in Hollywood.”
A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more:
CBS This Morning
7:31:40 to 7:35:07
NORAH O’DONNELL: President Trump says comedian Samantha Bee should be fired for the obscene and sexist comment on her TBS show directed at his daughter, Ivanka. In a speech last night receiving an award, Bee reportedly said, “There’s power in saying without apology and sometimes you also have to apologize.” The President tweeted this morning, “Why aren’t they firing no talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show? A total double standard.” Vladimir Duthiers of our streaming network CBSN has more reaction. Vlad, good morning.
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS: Good morning. We should note that Bee's show is taped at a CBS station here in New York. Now, the controversy has cost Bee at least two advertisers. Autotrader and State Farm. The TBS host has said that segment crossed the line and apologized, but some conservatives argue the incident is further proof of a double standard in Hollywood.
SAMANTHA BEE: Tearing children away from their parents is so evil.
DUTHIERS: The sexist comment that started the controversy came during an appeal to Ivanka Trump Wednesday night to end the administration's policy of separating some migrant children from their parents.
BEE: Let me just say, one mother to do another, something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless [bleep ]! He listens to you.
DUTHIERS: Though the backlash didn’t stop the comedian from accepting a television academy award for her show Full Frontal. No cameras were allowed inside the ceremony. But in her speech, Bee reportedly suggested the criticism was overblown, saying in part, “We spent the day wrestling with the repercussions of one bad word. When we all should have spent the day incensed that as a nation we are wrenching children from their parents.” Earlier yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sara Sanders called the language “vile and vicious.” She added, “The collective silence by the left and its media allies is appalling.” Emily Heil writes about media and politics for the Washington Post.
EMILY HEIL: It's just an unprecedented level of engagement on these kinds of things that they perceive to be slights.
DUTHEIRS: Sanders forceful response to Bee contrasts with her reaction to Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet, which she said was inappropriate. The comedian had likened a black Obama administration official to an ape. Are you surprised that TBS has not taken any disciplinary action against Samantha Bee? Whereas ABC immediately cancelled Roseanne’s hit show.
HEIL: The remarks that Samantha Bee made, those were scripted and part of a team effort. I think there's less of an ability for the network to completely distance itself from this.
DUTHIERS: TBS has apologized for Bee's comments and removed the uncensored clip online. But there's still no signs that it will be removing the show from the air. Guys, my social media feed has blown up with a case of whataboutism. Some people say, as the President has said, that there’s a double standard. Others say Bee was talking about Trump's character. Roseanne Barr was talking about Valerie Jarrett’s race. And that’s different.
GAYLE KING: But it’s still vulgar.
KING: I just think the vulgarness and the vileness is so, so upsetting to me. I think if someone said that about the Obama girls, the Bush girls, Chelsea Clinton, people would be marching in the street.
KING: I mean, at some point we need to take responsibility for the words that we use, comedian or not. I like Samantha Bee and like her show, but I think that was a very — I do think she crossed the line. Now we're setting up a tit for tat situation.
DUTHIERS: That’s right.
O’DONNELL: I agree with you. There has to be a line.
KING: There has to be a line.