The instant cancellation of ABC’s “Roseanne” following Roseanne Barr’s unfortunate tweet on Tuesday carries with it a hefty lesson for celebrities, comedians, politicians, actors, journalists and others whose professional work environment includes a social media presence. It can be fraught with peril at times.
“If you’re going to do something stupid on Twitter, just put your phone down and walk away. That’s my advice,” said Fox News anchor Dana Perino in the immediate aftermath of ABC’s swift decision to cancel the newly rebooted series, which had been a prime time ratings bonanza for the network.
Miss Barr has indeed walked away. After apologizing for the offending tweet, she announced she would be leaving Twitter, where she had 688,000 followers.
“You can destroy your own career,” Fox News host Greg Gutfeld told Ms. Perino when the pair discussed the situation — which topped the national popularity trend on Twitter itself for many hours.
Mr. Gutfeld suggested that those who perceive social media sites as totally freewheeling environments could adopt a certain recklessness and express themselves with, uh, abandon.
“Comedians when they talk, it’s like they’re jumping off a cliff,” he said. “Comedians have this thing. They see a cliff, and they jump off it. In the old days you could get away with it, but no more. Everything is permanent. Twitter is the bathroom wall for Planet Earth and you can’t unscrub it.”
Social media, while presenting the possibility of vast audiences and infinite outreach, still has practical parameters.
“Free expression is a human right. Everyone has a voice and the right to use it. On Twitter, you should feel safe expressing your unique point of view with every tweet — and it’s our job to make that happen,” Twitter says in an official statement that spells out “hateful conduct” policy and other guidelines.
Reality also has entered the fray.
“Will doing the right thing hurt? That’s what the entire TV industry will want to see after ABC canceled its biggest hit, its revival ‘Roseanne,’ over its namesake star’s racist Twitter rant,” writes Ad Age analyst Jeanine Poggi, who predicts the network would be “scrambling” to replace the show and deal with the loss of advertising revenue that is at stake.
SOCIAL MEDIA HAZARDS, PT. 2
A number of journalists and public figures were upset by a photograph circulated on social media of “caged immigrant children” at a U.S. border facility; those who were offended shared the image on Twitter with their critical commentary. The images, however, were taken at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, — during the Obama, not the Trump, administration.
The troubled observers amended their response, including Jake Silverstein, editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine.
“Correction: this link, which was going around this morning, is from 2014,” tweeted Mr. Silverstein. “Still disturbing, of course, but only indirectly related to current situation. My bad and a good reminder not to Tweet things while distracted with family on the weekend.”
SOCIALIST PARTY EYES CALIFORNIA PRIMARIES
The Party for Socialism & Liberation has a deep interest in California as primaries loom on June 5. Eight candidates have filed to run for statewide office in the Golden State, running on the “Peace and Freedom Party slate,” the organization advises, describing this designation as “California’s feminist socialist political party.”
The eight include Gloria La Riva for governor, Nathalie Hrizi for insurance commissioner, Jordan P. Mills for the 49th Congressional District, Gayle McLaughlin for lieutenant governor, John T. Parker for U.S. senator, C.T. Weber for secretary of state, Kevin Akin for state treasurer and Mary Lou Finley for state controller.
“California is the fifth largest economy in the world. Yet, the No. 1 and 2 cities with extreme poverty in the U.S. are Fresno and Bakersfield,” says Ms. Riva, who also ran for president as a socialist in 2016.
“The corporations, banks and war profiteers get billions in tax breaks as they amass profits, while the workers and poor are struggling to get by. This is why Peace and Freedom Party’s program and socialist ideals are gaining popularity,” she notes.
There are 27 people running for governor in California, including five Republicans, a dozen Democrats and a wide assortment of third-party candidates. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome leads all the hopefuls in popularity, according to a University of Southern California-Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Friday. Among Republicans, businessman John H. Cox has drawn the most support, the poll found.
But what about those third-party candidates, who include Libertarian and Green Party hopefuls? The poll found that Ms. Riva is the most popular of independent hopefuls, drawing as much as 2 percent of the vote among some demographics, which bests more than a few of her Democratic and Republican rivals.
The primaries are arriving at an interesting time in California, which finds at least two “exit” groups calling for the state secede from the United States and become a new country. In April, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla cleared a ballot proposal for the secession idea to be included in the 2020 election. Advocates are already at work gathering the 366,000 voter signatures needed to have the proposal placed on the ballot.
ON THE JOB, OR MAYBE NOT
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is considering cancelling the Senate’s month-long August recess in order to get more work done. If there’s one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on, it’s that Congress spends too much time away from Capitol Hill,” advises a new Rasmussen Reports survey.
America is watching. The survey finds that 72 percent of likely U.S. voters think Congress spends too much time on vacation. Twelve percent disagree, while 16 percent are not sure.
POLL DU JOUR
• 40 percent of Americans say it is “not very likely” President Trump will be impeached if Democrats regain control of the House in November’s election; 43 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 41 percent of Democrats agree.
• 24 percent say impeachment is “not likely at all”; 36 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats agree.
• 24 percent say it is “somewhat likely”; 17 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.
• 12 percent say impeachment is “very likely”; 5 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted May 20-22.
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