Guilt by association

There is no doubt that the racist tweet launched by actress-comedian Roseanne Barr against former top Obama aide Valerie Jarret deserved swift action by Barr’s superiors at ABC, where she had been raking in huge ratings with the reboot of her hit sitcom, “Roseanne.” Following the ugly social media faux pas, the majority of the secular media, including ABC executives themselves, have been all too eager to lump anyone and everyone who not only watched the show, but also whom Barr supported, in the same category as Roseanne. That’s not a fair approach when it comes to the challenges we face in this country regarding racism, nor is it accurate. But that doesn’t stop the media from piling it on, nonetheless.

I noticed this almost immediately after the story on the tweet began making major headlines. It’s no secret that the news media are not exactly fond of conservative values, in particular the values of the current administration. And since Barr has long been a supporter of our current president, a similar sentiment also expressed by Barr’s character on the TV show, the media were quick to try and convince their viewers that the president and every single viewer must share the same racist opinions as the star.

Case in point are the stories written by the secular news outlets. Here is just one example of a story the morning after the now infamous tweet. Note how this major news service goes out of its way to try and connect the dots between Roseanne’s racism and the show’s most well-known viewer:

“ABC is cancelling ‘Roseanne’ after its star Roseanne posted a racist tweet. ‘Roseanne’ premiered to huge ratings just three months ago and had millions of fans, including President Trump, who gave a shout out during a speech in March.”

Interestingly enough, at the same time as the Barr story was taking on a life of its own, another story involving another public person with a different yet very serious issue was also developing. Ironically, or maybe not so ironically, something was missing from that coverage. Media mogul Harvey Weinstein was indicted in New York on charges of rape. Notice in this story from the same news service how Weinstein’s highly publicized political connections with liberal elites are never mentioned:

“Manhattan’s district attorney says a grand jury has indicted media mogul Harvey Weinstein on charges of rape. He surrendered to police last week on charges of rape, criminal sexual act and sex abuse over accusations from two women.  He was later released on bail. District Attorney Cyrus Vance said today’s indictment brings Weinstein one step closer to accountability. Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women.”

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In all fairness, if the president and millions of other “Roseanne” viewers are being thrown into the racist category, then what about the politicians, media personalities and major Hollywood stars seen hanging out with Harvey Weinstein? Why aren’t they being thrown into the category of sexist, misogynist or predator? None of his associations or interests are mentioned. Why? Because those associated with Weinstein share the same liberal views as the media and liberal views can never be associated with anything negative, as it would cast shadows on their agenda.

Years ago, I heard one Church leader say that Catholics need to know how the media work, so that they don’t work on us. The media’s narrative on the Barr story is the latest example of why Catholics, and all media consumers, need to take that wise warning seriously.

Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio, and the author of “Beyond Sunday: Becoming a 24/7 Catholic” (OSV, $14.95).