President Donald Trump complained Thursday that ABC operates under a “double standard” that punished comic Roseanne Barr for a racist tweet but offered Trump no apology after an erroneous story involving former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“Iger, where is my call of apology? You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response,” the president wrote on Twitter, addressing Disney executive Bob Iger, whose company owns ABC and who reportedly phoned Valerie Jarrett, the former Barack Obama adviser who was the target of Barr’s racist comment, to tell her that Barr's sitcom had been canceled.
“How is Brian Ross doing? He tanked the market with an ABC lie, yet no apology. Double Standard!” the president continued.
Ross, ABC News’s chief investigative correspondent, was suspended for four weeks late last year after he erroneously reported that Flynn, as part of his deal with prosecutors, would testify that the president "directed him to make contact with the Russians." That report proved to be inaccurate, prompting Ross’s suspension and later reassignment to a different division of ABC News where he no longer covers stories involving the president.
Despite Trump’s suggestion that the network did not apologize for the error, ABC News released a statement shortly after retracting Ross’s reporting that said, "we deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday.”
Stocks in the U.S. did briefly drop on the same day that Ross’s erroneous story broke — although it's unclear how much of that drop was the result of the incorrect reporting — but mostly recovered by the end of the day.
Trump has yet to personally condemn the remarks by Barr, who wrote on Twitter that Jarrett was the product of the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes” having “a baby,” but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did say Wednesday that the comedian’s comments were “inappropriate.”
But Sanders also read off a litany of alleged offenses committed by Disney’s subsidiary companies, including ESPN and ABC.
"Where was Bob Iger's apology for the White House staff for Jemele Hill calling the president and anyone associated with him a white supremacist, to Christians around the world for Joy Behar calling Christianity a mental illness?" Sanders said, complaining also about ESPN’s hiring of Trump critic Keith Olberman and an appearance by comedian Kathy Griffin on ABC’s “The View.” "This is a double standard that the president is speaking about.”