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SNL writer gets Twitter support after suspension for Barron Trump tweet

Commentary: Katie Rich apologizes for going after Donald Trump's 10-year-old and is reportedly suspended. Yet some are on her side. Yes, there's even a supportive hashtag.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


It's Twitter, people. Twitter.

screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You might think that, however strongly you feel about a subject -- or even a president -- "leave those kids alone" is generally a fine motto.

Especially for tweeting.

Yet "Saturday Night Live" writer Katie Rich thought it amusing to offer this inauguration thought last Friday: "Barron will be this country's first homeschool shooter."

The Barron she was referring to was Donald Trump's 10-year-old son.

A Twitter joke about a child and school shootings is about as wise as grabbing the pope by his cassock and offering to show him a good time. Especially, the deeply cynical might suggest, when the the ultimate object of the joke is an executive producer of a show on the same channel as yours. And, oh, the president.

It's a kid. There are surely better targets around.

As former first child Chelsea Clinton took to Twitter to muse: "Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does -- to be a kid. Standing up for every kid also means opposing @POTUS policies that hurt kids."

This Rich herself appeared to have finally realized (or been persuaded to realize) when she tweeted on Monday: "I sincerely apologize for the insensitive tweet. I deeply regret my actions & offensive words. It was inexcusable & I'm so sorry."

She had already been, the New York Times reported, suspended indefinitely. NBC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

But we're talking about Twitter here, so there's already a #KeepKatieRich hashtag. There, the great, the good and the possibly not-so-good offered their perspective.

Famed Chicago-based comedy theater Second City, of which Rich is a member, tweeted: "Got your back."

Cards Against Humanity writer Jacqueline Felker was a little more effusive: "You can't make a joke about a child and write for SNL, but you can talk about sexually assaulting women and be the President."

Comedian and TV writer Travon Free had a reminder of times gone by: "I love Katie. Her joke was funny/harmless but talk to me when y'all can erase 8 yrs of calling the Obama daughters monkeys."

Naturally, detractors paid a visit to this hashtag too. For example, this from Trump-supporting Jennifer: "With liberals begging to #KeepKatieRich after she bullied a TEN yr old CHILD; They can NEVER cry or whine about cyberbullying EVER AGAIN!!"

"Conan" writer Laurie Kilmartin addressed one important essence: "i have tweets in my drafts folder that I'm glad I sat on. There but for the grace of me not hittin' that tweet button go I."

This was Twitter, a site of relative insignificance to most people (and most careers) that has somehow taken on a peculiar power.

Why is the need of Twitterers so great to instantly "win" the site for the day? It's a modern phenomenon that is worth far less than it pretends. In so many ways.

Then there's the issue of comedy. "Saturday Night Live" has decided to be in the anti-Trump vanguard. Some might find this a touch odd, given that Trump hosted the show in 2015.

In recent weeks, SNL has descended to the puerile, just as it's risen to brilliant social and political commentary.

The best comedy -- especially political comedy -- has, at its heart, truth. In these twisted times, every joke -- from whichever side of the political spectrum -- has to guard that truth very carefully and very wisely.

After all, if there's one thing that's being challenged more than any other currently, it's the truth.

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