11

When I read the news about Roseanne Barr insulting Valerie Jarrett, I checked Jarrett's Wikipedia page to see who Jarrett was. As far as I can tell, she was a member of the Obama administration at the level only politics nerds hear about (can you name the previous Director of the Office of Public Liaison, or the current one?). But not only is Roseannne tweeting about her, but Skeptics.SE has a popular question about a forged image libeling her.

Why has Jarrett come to sudden prominence?

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    Note that the question on Skeptics.SE was only asked after Roseanne Barr's tweet, so it's more of a popular question because of her having been thrusted into the current news cycle. – Jimmy M. May 31 '18 at 14:35
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Valerie Jarrett is prominent because she is a long time friend of Barack Obama's (she hired Michelle in 1991). Her title in the White House was smaller than her role in the White House. She was more like Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump in that regard. All three have or had titles that were somewhat blah, but they also have or had the ear of their respective presidents.

There are probably many people around the country who don't know who Valerie Jarrett is, but that's not because she did not have impact. It's because most of her impact was in her communication with Obama in private rather than communicating with the public.

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    Any insight on what put Valerie Jarrett in the news on this particular occasion? Or was she attacked out of the blue? – default locale Jun 2 '18 at 13:04
  • While just a footnote in history now, she was Obama's preferred choice to fill his vacated senate seat when he won the presidency. Rod Blajojevich wanted something concrete in return. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – userLTK Jun 2 '18 at 14:08
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+50

Why has Jarrett come to sudden prominence?

Apparently, she was put in the news mainly by Roseanne Barr's tweet. The tweet itself was published in the discussion about President Obama's alleged interference in the US and French elections. Valerie Jarrett was targeted as a prominent member of the Obama administration.

Here's the original conversation on Twitter (source):

enter image description here

Now, I can't say for sure why @MARS0411 decided to single out Jarrett as a person responsible for helping to hide "Obama's secrets". @Brythan and @hszmv already explained why one might consider her an influential or controversial figure.

The first tweet was seemingly inspired by the allegations of CIA involvement in American and French elections during the Obama administration. Allegations resurfaced on May 23, 2018, in the Twitter conversation between President Trump and Wikileaks.

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    The question was why was Jarrett in the news. This answer is circular. – K Dog Jun 3 '18 at 17:03
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    @KDog The question boils down to "Why Barr is tweeting about Jarrett?" My answer is that she was mentioned out of the blue in the random discussion about Obama on Twitter. I couldn't find any relevant news before Barr's tweet (although Denis de Bernardy's findings look interesting). – default locale Jun 3 '18 at 17:10
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    Your comment actually is more factual, the question is based upon an invalid assumption. – K Dog Jun 3 '18 at 19:37
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    I think this is the correct answer. Jarrett was in the news because Barr tweeted about her. Barr tweeted about her in a discussion that mentioned Jarrett. That probably is all there is. – Thern Jun 4 '18 at 7:46
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Valerie Jarrett's name doesn't seem to appear much or anywhere in Google News in the week or two before the tweet, except for her name getting dropped in an interview by Newt Gingrich on Fox News (and a few articles that echoed it). If the Fox Radio summary is anything to go by, Gingrich predicts the Spygate scandal will be so big it'll reach Jarrett and Obama. (There might be more stuff on her on sites that relay conspiracist crackpottery, but they don't appear in Google News search.)

It seems plausible that Jarrett was on a few conservatives' minds recently because of that.

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I'll try to be neutral. I am sure this will upset both people who wish that I was more critical of the right and the ones who wish that I was more critical of the left on this. But I will only answer the question of why Valerie Jarrett's name is better known than that of her predecessors or successors.

Valerie Jarrett's fame or notoriety (depending one's point of view) resulted from Glen Beck hammering at her during the initial years of Obama's administration.

Glen Beck had a very highly-rated TV program in which he DAILY attacked a few of the top Obama administration officials for some statements which they made at one point or another. Most of those people saw their names brought into public light much more than their positions merited. A number of them (Van Jones for example) even capitalized on this newly-found public recognition to take their careers in public life to a new level.

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Valerie Jarrett had some news media presence on CNN during the Lame Duck Period of 2016 where she said that Obama's presidency was remarkably "Scandal-Free". This has been a minor talking point in conservative media as there were numerous scandals that arose during the Obama Administration (Wire Tapping of Media, Fast and Furious Gun Running, the IRS Audit Targeting of Conservative Organizations) that they point to to suggest that her statement was misleading.

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    Comments deleted. This is not the place to discuss which presidency had worse scandals. – Philipp May 31 '18 at 20:35
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    Comparing political scandals as equivalent to actual criminal activity is somewhat soft, factually, even if we don't want to delve into whether those scandals were somewhat overblown for political reasons, or outright fabrications. So, -1. – PoloHoleSet May 31 '18 at 21:35
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    When look at other administrations, we had scandals that resulted in criminal charges, convictions and sentences. The Obama administration is the only one, post-Watergate, with no criminal indictments of any of its top officials or appointees, or as a result of policy from the top. That's an objective metric, unlike "this scandal was bad, because I don't like them." So, when Jarrett and Brooks note that the Obama administration was relatively scandal-free, that's accurate by least opinion-based metric we can find. – PoloHoleSet Jun 1 '18 at 13:03
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    If you claim any of those "scandals" you listed show that they are not more scandal-free, then, yes, you are comparing political hype to activities that resulted in criminal indictments, since every administration since and including Nixon's, except for Obama's, hand criminal charges against administration members. – PoloHoleSet Jun 1 '18 at 13:04
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    @AndrewGrimm - the answerer claims "there were numerous scandals" - not that there were claims by others to this effect, or that some viewed as such. If answerer is making a claim as fact, then, yes, whether they were genuine would be the basis for down-voting. The "scandals" named are also factually mis-characterized, as well. Facts kind of matter in an answer. If the answer is edited to moderate, I'll be happy to re-assess. – PoloHoleSet Jun 1 '18 at 13:07

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