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Don Lemon Is At It Again

Former NBC Chicago anchor Don Lemon is a national joke to those who follow broadcast news and still manage to have half a brain, but he's recently been rewarded by CNN with a prime-time show of his own where he can ask the really tough questions like if Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was sucked into a black hole.

And that was just the latest.

"Lemon has spent the last several days exploring every crazy conspiracy theory on the internet, like something out of InfoWars or an Art Bell broadcast," Talking Points Memo reports.

"On Sunday, he brought up the possibility that 'the supernatural' was somehow involved in the disappearance. On Monday, he floated the idea that the plane could be hiding in North Korea."

It's bizarre to think that Lemon was once seen (by some) as a news savior.

"Earlier this year, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ran a segment titled 'CNN's Don Lemon appears to not care for CNN,'" Wyatt Williams wrote for Creative Loafing in Atlanta in 2011.

The clip shows the Atlanta-based 'CNN Newsroom' anchor, not an especially high-profile presence at the network, repeatedly going off-script live on the air.

He condescends to a fluff piece about Harry Potter and laughingly complains about an overwritten bit concerning fictional superheroes, to which Stewart interjects, "That may be the nicest way I've ever heard anyone say, 'Who writes this shit?'"

The segment's big punch line shows CNN morning anchor Ali Velshi staging some sort of parlor trick involving a broom, a silver platter, and an egg dropping from a toilet paper tube into a glass of water. The vibe is unflatteringly reminiscent of David Letterman's "Stupid Human Tricks."

After the trick is executed, Velshi says, "Oh! I got to tell you, I like Don Lemon a lot. But he's going to have to work hard to top that. 'CNN Newsroom' begins right now with Don Lemon. Good morning, Don."

Lemon responds, "Good morning, I don't think I'm going to have to work that hard. What the heck was that?"

The thing is, though, that Lemon has indeed topped that. Now he's the one performing Stupid Human Tricks.


"During an on-air interview with members of Bishop Eddie Long's congregation on September 25, 2010, Lemon said that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child," Wikipedia notes.

Which makes it all the more painful to hear him say things like this on the air:

But Lemon is pehaps best known for saying that Bill O'Reilly's racism doesn't go far enough.

Lemon pulls out a lot of chestnuts here that are both wrong and confuse race with class. For example:

"I've lived in several predominantly white neighborhoods in my life, I rarely, if ever, witnessed people littering. I live in Harlem now, it's an historically black neighborhood, every single day I see adults and children dropping their trash on the ground when a garbage can is just feet away. Just being honest here."

I've lived in predominantly black and white neighborhoods myself and I can't say I've ever noticed a difference in littering habits. Just go check out Lakeview. Now, folks in the suburbs don't tend to litter on residential streets. But check out the strip mall.

Let's also understand, again, that there is no such thing as black-on-black crime. There is, however, poor-on-poor crime. There isn't a racial motive, but an economic one. It would be nice to think that poor black criminals would take the time and energy (and resources) to go to white neighborhoods and do their robbing there, but it's not a political act.

Perhaps it's no surprise, then, to learn that he was involved with the Young Republicans while in college and is a huge Ronald Reagan fan - even as he complained in his book Transparent that Channel 5 wasn't interested in covering AIDS. I don't doubt that's true, but your presidential hero wasn't interested in AIDS either, Mr. Lemon.

(And for all the torment Lemon says he's faced being gay and, for most of his life, in the closet, he sure gets a good laugh out of jokes at the expense of others who aren't even known to be gay; Lemon has also questioned why there are "so many" gay conservatives in the closet even while he didn't come out himself until he was in his 40s.)

"His controversial viewpoints, from the legitimacy of the NYPD's Stop and Frisk program to defending a White reporter's error in mistaking actor Samuel L. Jackson for Laurence Fishburne, have led to numerous Black Twitter followers branding him a sellout," Jet reports.

I'm not sure he's a sellout as much as he's not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. For all his positioning as a serious news guy, Lemon is the CNN anchor you can count on most to deliver the foibles and follies the network is now so infamous for.

Oh yeah, almost forgot:

Retweeted by Don Lemon.


Comments welcome.


Posted on March 25, 2014

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