But it’s nice to know that some people at CNN now know how Billy Bush felt.
A website called FTVLive obtained video of CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux talking to her crew and her producer before going live on CNN, as they waited for Trump’s press conference. His plane to yet land.
On the video, a producer can be heard saying “When I do this, it means his plane’s landed’ and later, she seems to be saying, dead-pan”That means his plane’s crashed….just kidding” There is some incomprehensible chatter briefly after that.
Thanks to some websites like Mediaite on a slow news day, this gourmet “nothingburger” was widely and critically circulated. “The crew decided to joke around about a pretty grisly topic,” intoned Mediaite’s Justin Baragona.
This, believe it or not, prompted CNN to issue an apology! This…
“An unfortunate and inappropriate remark was made by one of our producers off camera yesterday. We have apologized to the Trump transition team, and the Producer has been disciplined.”
Oh, balderdash. There was nothing “unfortunate and inappropriate” about that comment, which was not an expression of hostility to Trump, or anything else but on the job self-mockery. I would make that joke. I have made essentially that joke in various settings. At a surprise party for my mother, for example: “OK, I’ll make this sign when she’s coming up the walk, this sign when she’s at the door, this sign if she trips at the door and falls down the stairs, and this sign if she’s attacked by the neighbor’s dog.” So what? (It got a big laugh by the way. Would Justin have laughed? I don’t care.)
If CNN punishes a producer for joshing around harmlessly like that, then it is essentially agreeing that if anyone is offended by any comment by anyone, about anything, in private, in a workplace setting where public scrutiny is not reasonable expected, there should be dire consequences. I’ll give them points for consistency, but they will be endorsing a terrible principle, stretched to the extreme. Donald Sterling was nationally humiliated and lost his basketball team after a conversation with his mistress was unethically recorded and publicized, but at least what he said was vile, and the bell couldn’t be unrung. The same may be said of Trump’s “pussy-grabbing” banter with Billy Bush, though the primary miscreant got the Presidency, and his mostly innocent audience lost his career.
This comment, however, was nothing. By no fair interpretation was it anything but benign and harmless, except for people who get the vapors at any black humor, even of the mildest kind. Well, those people weren’t supposed to be listening in, and their silly sensitivities shouldn’t be the standard for workplace conduct.
I rate this is another canary dying in the mine of political correctness. Now a mild joke vaguely relating to Donald Trump, who disdains even simple civility, is deemed so offensive by a news network that it warrants professional discipline. The joke didn’t denigrate the President-Elect or wish him ill. It would be wonderful if the producer defied the network and refused to apologize or accept any discipline. Who wants to work in an environment where one gets punished for that?
Who want to live in a country where we get punished for that?
This is getting to be like a speech police version of the Reign of Terror, when the French Revolution went bananas and started beheading people indiscriminately. Pretty soon, jokes will have to be whispered in lead safes, with the doors closed.