Tag Archives: Don Lemon

‘Obligation,’ no; prerogative, yes!

CNN anchor Don Lemon is not among my favorite TV journalists/talking heads.

He is the one who once asked — reportedly in all seriousness — whether the Malaysian Airlines jetliner that disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had been swallowed up by a “black hole,” apparently not realizing that such an event would have consumed the entire solar system.

I got that out of the way.

Now we hear that Lemon says it is his “obligation” to refer to Donald J. Trump as a “racist.”

According to The Hill: “Critical thinking is important as a journalist. If you cannot surmise that this president — if he’s not racist, he’s certainly racist-adjacent,” Lemon told an audience as the keynote speaker at Variety’s Entertainment & Technology NYC Summit. “We have come to a consensus in our society that facts matter. I feel like it’s my obligation to say that.”

I beg to differ, young man.

It’s not your “obligation,” although it is your “prerogative” to say what you want about how you perceive the president’s point of view. His obligation as a journalist requires fairness and accuracy.

I am quick to agree that Donald Trump has provided plenty of evidence of racist tendencies. I keep turning to the lie he fomented about Barack Obama place of birth, as he kept alive the slanderous accusation that the first African-American president was born in Africa and was constitutionally ineligible to serve in the office to which he was elected twice.

And, yes, there was that hideous assertion that there were good people “on both sides” of the riot that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., between counterprotesters and Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Lemon’s “obligation” only is to report what Trump has said; he should let his viewers make the determination as to whether the president is a racist.

The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, of course, doesn’t prevent him from hanging the “racist” label on Trump. Indeed, it allows Lemon to say it, but it damn sure doesn’t require it.

CNN vs. Fox over this O’Reilly matter

There’s little doubt I will tire of this story quickly, but for now I’m kind of chuckling at a media war that’s flaring up over the controversy surrounding a cable news star.

You’ve heard of Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News Channel’s main man who’s been accused by several women of behaving a boorishly, of committing acts of sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, CNN talking heads and commentators have been blazing away rhetorically over the troubles at Fox.

Fox is firing back, accusing CNN of ignoring a story regarding whether former national security adviser Susan Rice outed some Trump campaign officials who might have been monitored by, oh, someone. CNN denies ignoring the story. Fox, meanwhile, is sticking with O’Reilly.

The two main-event combatants appear to be O’Reilly and CNN’s Don Lemon.

I plan to watch this tempest play itself out from the peanut gallery.

Fox is ignoring the O’Reilly matter

CNN has been covering the Rice story. It’s pretty clear, though, that Fox is giving short shrift to the O’Reilly story. I get that the stories aren’t parallel; Rice is a former government official while O’Reilly is employed by one of the feuding cable news networks.

Fight on, cable news guys.

CNN anchor crosses another line

What in the world is up with Don Lemon?

The Columbia Journalism Review rated Lemon as one of this past year’s worst journalists. Now the CNN anchor has cemented that crummy rating with a seriously bone-headed question posed to an American Muslim.

http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/01/08/do-you-support-isis-watch-cnns-don-lemon-ask-a/202056

The link is attached. Take a look.

I watched the interview in which Lemon asked Arsalan Iftikhar, a human rights attorney, if he supported ISIS, aka the Islamic State or ISIL, the monstrous Islamic cult that has beheaded captives.

What’s remarkable about the question was Iftikhar’s response, which was that he seemed unsure whether Lemon actually posed that question. He then answered it calmly and rationally.

Lemon has made a bit of an infamous name for himself lately by suggesting that Malaysian Air 370 might have been swallowed by a black hole and then suggesting to a sexual abuse victim that there are graphic methods to avoid being forced to perform oral sex on a man.

The discussion about radical Islam needs to remain focused on what I believe is the core issue: Do the terrorists’ actions represent Islam or are they the acts of religious perverts?

To ask an an intelligent, reasonable, scholarly man who happens to be Muslim whether supports the actions of ISIL becomes an immediate distraction. It focuses attention on a dimwitted question.

 

Yep, Lemon's been a lemon

Don Lemon hasn’t had a distinguished year in front of the CNN news camera.

Although I don’t like critiquing media “performances,” Lemon’s string of gaffes in 2014 is worth a brief comment.

Columbia Journalism Review has slung a barb at Lemon, one of CNN’s go-go guys, for his amazing string of terrible interviews. He made CJR’s “worst journalism” list for 2014.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/27/cjr-dart-award-rolling-stone/20940309/

They’ve made news in ways Lemon, or his bosses at CNN, ever would want.

He wondered aloud whether Malaysian Air Flight 370 vanished into a “black hole,” only to be reminded by the expert to whom he asked the question that a black hole would swallow the entire planet.

During the Bill Cosby controversy involving allegations of sexual assault, Lemon said on the air that there are ways to avoid performing oral sex, such as using one’s teeth.

While reporting from Ferguson, Mo., during the rioting in the wake of the grand jury decision to no-bill the officer who shot Michael Brown, Lemon reported he could “smell marijuana in the air,” as if that had any significance.

Good journalism requires an element of trust that must be built between the reporter and his audience, whether they’re readers or TV viewers.

Don Lemon has squandered a good bit of that trust.

Let’s hope the young man repairs it in 2015.