Jenna Fischer, famous for her role as Pam on the hit TV series “The Office,” made a provocative and very negative tweet about the recently passed Republican tax plan on Saturday, Dec. 23.
The 43-year-old actress mistakenly criticized the plan for excluding a deduction of up to $250 per year for teachers who bought school supplies.
Her tweet read “I can’t stop thinking about how school teachers can no longer deduct the cost of their classroom supplies on their taxes…something they shouldn’t have to pay for with their own money in the first place. I mean, imagine if nurses had to go buy their own syringes.”
Outraged as she might have been about the dropped deduction, people who favor the plan were even more outraged—because the deduction, while eliminated from earlier versions of the bill, had been reinstated in the final version.
The actress was flooded with responses pointing out her error.
Fischer responded with values rarely associated with Hollywood nowadays: honesty, honor, and decency.
The actress not only deleted the tweet, she wrote a lengthy explanation about why she deleted it … and why she felt a need to re-address the issue with an explanation instead of just deleting it quietly and waiting for the whole affair to pass away as the news cycles ever onward.
“I’ve deleted a tweet and would like to issue an apology. Please read and retweet to help me spread the word! Thanks!” was the heading of the explanatory tweet.
I've deleted a tweet and would like to issue an apology. Please read and re-tweet to help me spread the word! Thanks! pic.twitter.com/R6CNyn4bVV
— Jenna Fischer (@jennafischer) December 27, 2017
“Last month, the House of Representatives voted for a tax bill that did kill a $250 deduction for teachers to buy classroom supplies, but in the final bill the deduction was restored. I feel genuinely bad about getting my facts wrong and I’m sorry,” she wrote.
“For a minute I thought, ‘Maybe I don’t need to delete my tweet because it started a great dialogue about how teachers shouldn’t have to go out of pocket to pay for schools supplies,” her explanation continued.
“Listen, I love a good dialogue. In fact, what I treasure most about our democracy is the dialogue we share with each other …
“But part of having a dialogue involves listening and learning and admitting when you are wrong. Tweet deleted.”
The tax plan is not really the issue here. Fischer correctly identifies what really matters: not any specific debate. but the ability for people to honestly debate, using accurate information—and the ability for people to admit when they use inaccurate information, to accept the facts, and to move on with the honest debate.
Fischer was big enough to admit that her complaint about the GOP tax plan was inaccurate. She then held herself to an even higher standard—she didn’t try to sneak away from her error, letting some people believe the misinformation, leaving a confused and unhelpful debate between fact and fiction.
Fischer stepped up and stated the accurate information, and made sure everyone who read her original tweet knew that she had been wrong.
There will always be many different points of view on any important topic. When all parties can discuss the topic honestly and factually, not trying to save face or promote a party or win a fight …. when good people honestly discuss important topics, effective plans can be made. Improvements can be devised and enacted.
The United States stays strong through, and only through, honest, fact-based discussion.
Jenna Fischer messed up—and she admitted it, corrected it, and made sure everyone knew it.
She did her part in making America great again.