Samantha Bee returned to the air last night for her weekly TBS show, apparently having faced zero professional sanctions for calling the president's daughter the C-word in a pre-mediated, scripted, pre-taped, unbleeped attack during the previous episode. Lauretta already walked you through the basics of Bee's 'apology,' which ran less than two minutes in length -- of which roughly 30 seconds might fairly be characterized as something approaching contrition. But her short monologue was also packed with self-righteous sneering and defiant ideological signaling, because of course it was. It's her default setting:
Sam addresses the controversy from last week's show. pic.twitter.com/RtqBOhOCVf— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) June 7, 2018
Here's what was good about this commentary: Her general apology to women. Here's what was not so good: Basically everything else (did you hear a specific apology to Ivanka herself in that clip? I don't think I did). She said she wants her show to be "honest," but one of the major developments that fueled her outraged segment that culminated in the C-bomb was the story about 1,500 immigrant children the Trump administration supposedly "lost" or allowed to go "missing." This is not accurate or honest, yet reportedly she repeated that misleading claim in a closed-press awards show appearance last week. Bee then insisted that she "never intended to hurt anyone" (seriously? the whole point was to to hurt Ivanka) -- except for Ted Cruz, that is. What wicked humor! Evidently, it wasn't even possible for her to speak for 107 consecutive seconds without taking a gratuitous shot at some Republican, lest The Tribe grow concerned about her loyalties.
Up next, Bee made clear that she was not sorry or concerned about any offense she may have stirred among a group of people who represent half the population: Men. "Many men were also offended by my use of the word. I do not care about that," she sniffed. Does this blanket dismissal also apply to Ivanka's husband, who watched his wife get called the worst anti-woman epithet imaginable on national television? I'll guarantee you this: If a male executive at TBS who was deciding Bee's fate had found her stunt insulting, she'd have cared a lot about those concerns. Alas, it seems like the suits at TBS were comfortable enough with what happened to decline to hand down even a perfunctory suspension -- which strikes me as a reasonable consequence under the circumstances. Incidentally, are only black people allowed to be meaningfully offended by Roseanne Barr's racist tweet? Or can mean-spirited ugliness directed at a human being genuinely bother other human beings, regardless of which identity boxes they may check?
Not quite through, Bee continued that she "hates" that her "potty-mouthed insult" became a "distraction" from the real issues. Yeah, guess what? When you hurl that word at the daughter of the President of the United States, it's going to crowd out whatever else you're trying to convey. That she tried to blame the media for this is especially pitiful. Imagine how the following justification from a right-wing entertainer would have gone over during the Obama years: "I'm so sorry for calling Michelle Obama a c*** because it distracted the easily-distractible, lame-stream media from my important words about our troops!" Give me a break. Also, psst, the only reason virtually anyone heard what Samantha Bee said about anything at all was the firestorm over her calculated decision to use that vile word.
Parting thoughts: First, as she ended her little chat (to loud cheers, naturally), Bee instructed civility-minded people (like...herself?) to pay more attention to actions than words. Okay, what are we to make of a person who calls another woman the C-word, then doesn't even explicitly apologize to that woman...during her (non-Twitter) apology for deploying the word? Where does that fall on the "niceness" scale? Second, via Allahpundit: "Is Bee’s show facing a quiet ad boycott? Newsbusters noticed that the number of national advertisers last night was way down from last week." Finally, what does this sentence actually mean, aside from telegraphing deep, deep caring with mere words -- which she just told us matter less than actions?
Best comedy line: “I would do anything to help those kids.”?? https://t.co/Jn98f9DdCZ— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 7, 2018
UPDATE - I discussed this controversy on America's Newsroom earlier: