Foul-mouthed insult reflects debased US media culture
Published: Jun 03, 2018 11:03 PM

On Wednesday's episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS, the fast-talking host and comedian used a vulgar, sexist and highly offensive slur. She referred to first daughter Ivanka Trump as a "feckless c***," a vulgar word used as a term of disparagement. 

Bee's comment came during a monologue when she attacked the Trump administration's immigration policy, which allows for the separation of undocumented children from their parents, including those families that are legally seeking asylum. She tore into Ivanka as the first daughter recently tweeted out a photo showing her cuddling her son. 

Bee as a host has the right to comment on the president's immigration policy in her talk show. But whether she was right to vent her outrage by insulting someone with an obscene phrase is another matter.

In many countries, hosts would be fired for making insulting remarks or defaming others. It's not an issue of freedom of speech, but a matter of media ethics and standards.

A tide of criticism prompted Bee to apologize for crossing a line, but she hasn't been sacked. Liberals and many media outlets have defended her. An article on CNN titled "Samantha Bee's message was right even if her word wasn't" argues that Bee's filthy sexist words are not the focus "when it's really the actions those words rage against with which we should take the greatest issue." The article emphasizes that Bee was attempting to point out Ivanka, a close presidential adviser, should be held accountable for her failure to influence Trump's controversial immigration policies and the words she used are "provocative and impossible to ignore."

Such logic is absurd. Since when did the US media began to tolerate foul language in reporting and viewed it an effective way of strengthening argument? Bee is not the first American media person to use vulgar words: former CNN host Reza Aslan called Trump a "piece of s***" on Twitter last June.

Media are supposed to conduct fair and objective reporting. Even if some people hold that comments can be subjective as they are more about stance, expressing one's position by flinging abuse undermines the US media's credibility.

During the presidential campaign in 2016, almost all US mainstream media tilted toward Hillary Clinton while bashing Trump. After Trump took office, there is a growing tendency that US media persons are unbridled in attacking Trump and his policies.

There have been degrading standards in the US media and among media persons. The prevalence of slurs and foul language is a further stain on the media industry.

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