“I hate that this distracted from more important issues,” Bee said. “I hate that I did something to contribute to the nightmare of 24-hour news cycles that we're all white-knuckling through. I shoulda known that a potty-mouthed insult would be inherently more interesting to them than juvenile immigration policy.”
Bee fired her shot at Trump, the president's older daughter and a White House adviser, at the end of a segment about the administration's practice of splitting up migrant families trying to cross U.S. borders — not only families attempting to enter the country illegally but also those following the legal process of seeking asylum.
Bee accused Trump of wasting her power to influence the president in positive ways.
“Do something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless c---,” Bee said. “He listens to you.”
In media coverage, the comedian's message was indeed eclipsed by her crude language. There are two problems with her grievance, however, one of which she self-identified.
“I shoulda known,” Bee said, and she was right. The coverage was entirely predictable. All Bee would have had to do, to anticipate how things would unfold, would have been to remember the news cycles that followed President Trump's January remark about immigrants from “shithole countries.”
At the time, Bee herself devoted a segment to the president's comment, which she called racist. Though the White House emphasized the context of Trump's remark — “the president has laid out what he wants to see in an immigration process, and that is a merit-based system,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said — Bee, like much of the media, scrutinized his word choice.
Press priorities on such stories are debatable, but it seems tactically unwise to use a word that you know is likely to blot out everything else you say.
The other weakness in Bee's complaint is that the immigration policy she sought to highlight has, in fact, received ample attention from the media. Though recent reporting on Bee focused on one word, many separate reports have examined the practice of separating immigrant children from their parents.
It is hard to argue that the media are not interested in immigration policy related to children. In fact, when Bee revisited the immigration issue on Wednesday, her segment included snippets of coverage from The Washington Post, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, and Hugh Hewitt's conservative talk-radio show.
Bee, worried that she “distracted from more important issues,” can rest easy, knowing that those important issues have not been overshadowed entirely by her “potty-mouthed insult.”