Reason Roundup

Roseanne Reboot Is Dead. Will Real Time with Bill Maher Be Next?: Reason Roundup

Plus: vegetarian fried chicken, lab-grown diamonds, Chinese tariffs, and a Kardashian at the White House


Nancy Rivera / Splash News/Newscom

Censors against censorship. ABC's decision to drop the wildly successful new reboot of Roseanne has spawned a social-media race to the bottom from outraged-about-liberal-outrage conservatives. The network's move comes in the wake of series star and creator Roseanne Barr making what appeared to be racist remarks about former Obama staffer Valerie Jarrett. Roseanne said Jarrett was like a cross between "the Muslim brotherhood and Planet of the Apes."

Ignoring the long and ugly history of white people describing black people as simians, prominent #MAGA cheerleaders began pretending the offensive part of Roseanne's statement was simply a matter of any person describing any other person as an ape. Armed with this self-serving interpretation, folks like Turning Point USA leader Charlie Kirk began pouting about a 2014 joke by Bill Maher on his HBO series.

In a segment discussing Donald Trump's insistence that then-President Obama was foreign born, Maher had joked that he would pay Trump $5 million to prove that he hadn't been born to an orangutan.

Led by Kirk, Twitter conservatives began calling for Maher's show to be canceled along with Roseanne. The idea seemed to be based on a theory that this would make liberals see the error of their outrage-mongering ways. But the general tenor of liberal responses was more one of eyerolling amusement.

Some pointed out why Barr's and Maher's comments were not alike. Others noted that ABC and HBO are very different outlets and argued that it's silly to see ideological bias in the different business decisions they respectively make. But the biggest refrain from liberals was, more or less: "Great!" The host hasn't been a darling of Democrats and progressives for quite some time.

What Maher has been is one of few mainstream left-of-center types with a no-nonsense attitude toward free speech. In calling for his demise, conservatives are trying to silence the very type of principled speech warrior they consistently tell (but not show) us that they believe in.

But at least Kirk and company aren't calling for the government to intervene in this Twitterized TV-culture war. That's more than we can say for some other Republican "free speech defenders" this week.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has been speaking out against the alleged "censorship of conservatives" on social media, which earned him a head pat from Eric Trump. It seems Eric Trump is so outraged by the prospect of private companies playing favorites with speech that he wants to give the federal government more control over these companies—you know, for freedom! Because if there's one thing that says Principled Defender of the First Amendment, it's using state force to punish private businesses for not promoting the speech you like in the way you like.


Vegetarian KFC and lab-grown diamonds. Sure, KFC's new vegetarian "chicken" options might make a lot of folks roll their eyes. The same goes for De Beers' new lab-grown diamond line, which is drawing some well-deserved scoffing after the company insisted for years that lab-grown diamonds were inferior. But one needn't be in the market for a diamond ring or soy drumsticks to see both developments positively. This is the beauty of free markets in action—a Poptart flavor for every taste, cruelty-free bling, and a vegan chicken-combo meal in every strip mall.