Don Lemon’s Apology Proves He’s A Liar And A Coward As Well As Biased And Unprofessional. Now What?

CNN? Hello?

CNN’s Don Lemon’s joking and guffawing with his panel about the rubes and yokels who support the President has been an immediate source of criticism, and not only from conservatives. The RNC also quickly made a TV ad out of it,and if I were in charge, we would see it all year. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!

For anyone who has  been paying attention, and definitely who’s been reading Ethics Alarms, this is all poison frosting on the cancer cake. It has been undeniable for years that Lemon is a foolish, juvenile, arrogant, unprofessional progressive hack who has become more reckless over time, convinced as he is that he would have to sexually assault Anderson Cooper on the air before CNN would even consider firing a black, gay favorite of the woke and Trump Deranged.

Nonetheless, it would hard to concoct a more damning statement than what Lemon gave his audience yesterday, as he pretended to apologize at the end of his show. He said:

“This is personally important to me to address this. I don’t believe in belittling people, belittling anyone for who they are, for what they believe, or where they’re from. During an interview on Saturday night, one of my guests said something that made me laugh. And while in the moment I found that joke humorous, I didn’t catch everything that was said… I was laughing at the joke and not at any group of people.”

Let’s see, where does this verbal offal fit in the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale? Ah! Here it is…waaaay down at the bottom:

10. An insincere and dishonest apology designed to allow the wrongdoer to escape accountability cheaply, and to deceive his or her victims into forgiveness and trust, so they are vulnerable to future wrongdoing.

Lemon’s statement is also an example of The Pazuzu Excuse, usually heard when public figures who have been recorded or videotaped saying hateful, bigoted, or otherwise offensive things claim that they “didn’t mean” what they said and that the sentiments “are antithetical to my real views.” thus expecting us to believe they were possessed, like Linda Blair in “The Exorcist.”  Lemon really said “I don’t believe in doing what I did repeatedly on a live broadcast, while encouraging others to do the same.” That’s what he said. If it really wasn’t what he believed, why did it take him three full days to realize it?

Then, to make it worse, he lied outright, claiming that he didn’t realize what was going on. If that were true, then this would be an admission of gross incompetence, which I suppose he thinks is less offensive in a CNN star than gross bigotry.

Lemon is a coward. I would have more respect for Lemon—admittedly not a particularly high bar to clear— if he had said,

This is personally important to me to address this.  I’m not going to apologize for joining my panel members in mocking Trump suporters’ intelligence and attitudes, because that’s what I believe, and anyone who has watched me with any regularity know that’s what I believe, indeed what everyone on this network believes. We want open borders, minimal gun rights, abortion right up to the moment of birth, racial quotas, convictions for sexual abuse based on unsubstantiated accusations by women, restrictions on the First Amendment, Medicare for all and guaranteed income, and we know that’s right and that anyone who disagrees is a racist, sexist, cretin. If you don’t like being told the truth, don’t watch, but I’m not going to apologize for it.

If he were genuinely remorseful and consulted me for the right way to express it, I would have recommended a real apology:

I want to apologize to my viewers, CNN, and everyone I insulted yesterday when my guests chose to denigrate American who support the President of the United States, and I joined in. I will leave it to my guests to issue their own apologies, as they should. This nation was built, and thrived on the belief that citizens of different interests, background and viewpoints could disagree and still respect each other and come together as a nation. My conduct yesterday, and indeed many times in the past, has not supported that principle, and in fact has undermined it. This I regret, and I am ashamed of my conduct. I am ashamed that I allowed my own biases to surface when I should have been doing a journalist’s and moderator’s job in a professional manner; I am ashamed that I did not admonish my misbehaving guests, and I am ashamed that I betrayed the trust of my viewers and employer. In the future I will strive to meet a higher standard of fairness, respect and professionalism, and if I find myself unable to do so, I will find another profession. What I did yesterday was inexcusable and harmful. I am deeply sorry.

Don Lemon, of course, could not say that, because he’s Don Lemon—biased, a bigot, a partisan, a liar, and a coward who feels, with some justification, that he is privileged to be as unprofessional as he choosed. If CNN keeps him employed, and it will, this will confirm what kind of journalists it thinks the American public deserves.


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26 thoughts on “Don Lemon’s Apology Proves He’s A Liar And A Coward As Well As Biased And Unprofessional. Now What?

  1. From The National review:

    ” 63 million Americans voted for Donald Trump. Are they all slack-jawed yokels motivated by hostility to geography, and facts? Do they all — or even most — have strong Southern accents? And, irrespective, is a Southern accent a predictor of stupidity? Many of my neighbors have strong southern accents. One of them is a surgeon. Whither nuance?

    This particular clip has landed with such a bump because it also serves as an example of how inaccurately mediocrities tend to see themselves. Rick Wilson’s joke was second-rate and obviously pre-written, and yet Don Lemon reacted as if Wilson was Dave Chappelle — even going so far as to say he “needed” it. This behavior is learned. Since Donald Trump was elected, a certain set of political “strategists” — many of whom aren’t actually strategists, Ana Navarro — have come to see CNN as a clearing house for their bad one-liners, each sitting at home preparing zingers that they hope, once delivered, will go viral. This one has gone viral, of course, but for the opposite reason than its architects hoped: Because it is pathetic.”

  2. ”Ah! Here it is…waaaay down at the bottom.”

    Reminds me of George Webber (Dudley Moore in 10) describing Bo Derek’s Jenny Hanley:

    “On a scale from 1 to 10, she’s an 11!”

    Desperate times call for desperate measures!

    You may have to consider going past 10 on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale just like the Trump Derangement Syndrome Scale needs to consider going past 12.

  3. “…an admission of gross incompetence, which I suppose he thinks is less offensive in a CNN star than gross bigotry.”

    At this point, one couldn’t be blamed for inferring that gross incompetence is an absolute requirement for a CNN star. Has there been any week in the last three years that has gone by without some CNN personality or another showing their ass in some way?

  4. Can anyone imagine any news anchor even 15 years ago keeping his job after such a shameful, embarassing, unprofessional segment like that got aired?

    Wasn’t really listening, my foot. He knew exactly what was being said and had no problem with it. That he still has a job means that CNN agrees wholeheartedly with him on this.

    This is what we get for allowing newspeople to violate the Jim Lehrer Rule about not being entertainers. My newsfeed is filled with stories about what Trevor Noah or Stephen Colbert or SNL had to say about this government official or that one. When did we accept these clowns as the equivalent of journalists? All it did was drag journalists down to the gutter.

    • Believing you’ll be issued the unconditional Lefty Pass, (a Force Field reserved for those mocking/pissing off the right people), does not provide immunity from the Law Of Unintended Consequences.

      Ask Kathy Griffin.

  5. If it is true, as I say (and I do believe), that we have to begin, as a first step in remediation, to begin to tell the truth about things, even when that is painful, even when it hurts; and if we can refer to ‘dumbed down America’, and if this really does refer to something and mean something, then we have to be able to make some hard and definite statements about the general condition of the people: we have to be able to speak about what is making people so stupid.

    To make such a statement requires some sort of *perch* though, doesn’t it? Obviously the one who makes the statement (about the ‘dumbed down’) assumes, by virtue of having the opinion and stating it, that he or she is in a *superior position*. But here we have to face some curious, and some difficult, facts.

    If we consider that we are capable of defining who is *stupid* (dumb & dumbed-down: not exactly the same but certainly related, though the latter implies the remediable) we have admitted to the existence of hierarchy. But here we have to face an unwelcome fact squarely: the very populace — that multitude of the dumbed-down — will not stand to be put in such a place and category. That is, they have been taught that such is unfair, unjust, wrong and unethical.

    I suggest that this is really a tragic flaw. In the best of all possible worlds even the *drooling idiot* would know that he or she is such a one. That is, they would be able to recognize hierarchy and in recognition of it they would appreciate the distinction. That means that they could aspire to the higher. But here we have to face a fact: the disease of equalitarianism and the disease of democratization is itself an infliction of stupidity, of leveling-down, of reducing, of samenefying. But it is (obviously) not the upper echelon of the hierarchy that has been given the right to make the definition, but rather the common man (or the common brute if you were to allow yourself to be cruel). How has this come about?

    I have to get this out in the open: I have been reading Renaud Camus’ book in which he explains his theory of ‘replacement’. It is an elaborate theory, and it is not a *low-brow* set of ideas. His argument is lucid and valuable. Now, this fits into almost everything, if not everything, that I encounter in the Dissident Right and the more genuine ‘Conservative Right’: a will to conserve.

    But what is to be conserved? Well there you have it: the upper echelons of value and distinction of course! And since this seems to be so, one then has to then identify, at least partially, the *corrupting element*. That is, that which dumbs down, that which has been dumbed down, but in a more abstract sense the possibility and the eventuality (in a metaphysical sense of course) of being dumbed down. And one has to recognize, therefore, its opposite.

    What this means in Europe (Camus’ argument is a European argument), of course, is that Europe has suffered Americanization. Now don’t get mad at me! I said, and I believe that you believe, that determining, and correcting, what has been ‘dumbed down’ is necessary. If we hadn’t been dumbed down — follow this through logically — we would not be in this terribly, and terrifying, quandary (socially, culturally, politically).

    You see the application of solid reasoning leads us, inevitably, to these conclusions. The product that America sells — I mean the ‘cultural product’ — is in fact, is in truth, a general, creeping stupidity. It is the raising up of the lower brute level to the common level. The entire ethos of Americanism gives value and privilege to the under-elements, to the crass & the vulgar. It raises that up and places it, grossly, right next to the high and the noble, which must never be done.

    To put it more honestly Americanism drags all high and noble things down into the banal mud. It all fits together then, it is all *of a piece*. Democratization, leveling, equalization, putting everything and everyone on the same plane; destroying necessary hierarchy. Batching unalike peoples together in a plebeian social soup and forcing them even to mate: these are in truth the values of Americanism.

    I honestly think I could go one here. It would not be an exercise in *feeling superior* (because only the genuinely superior have that right). But at the very least I can recognize what is superior and noble.

    And this is sort of my point: making that distinction is not something (most) Americans can do. Who recognizes and truly values what is high and noble? But think about it: Is Don Lemon a member of such a class? (He is not). He is a human cockroach with an over made-up face. He is a grotesque, and uniquely American, poseur.

    The thing is that neither of the three who appear in that CNN segment have any qualifications to any level os social or cultural superiority of any sort. But no one who appears in any media, anywhere, really does either. There literally is no *intelligent conversation* in America. There is squabbling among the dumbed-down.

    I suggest that no matter what we are not witnessing a time of ascent or even the possibility of ascent. Every day it is more of the same: evidence of sinking & shrinking. This can’t end well.

    • “*drooling idiot*” & “*low-brow*”

      I humbly submit that you consider (respectively) bespawling addlepate, and jimber-jawed; by the time they finish with Herr Google, they may forget you were questioning their brain pan capacity.

    • I am not sure I follow your point as it relates to Lemon and his guests. Maybe this comment is better suited to Jack’s most recent post on cultural suicide.

      From my perspective, Lemon and his guests are symptoms of a cultural elitism that dismisses everything else as pedestrian and banal. They demonstrate that those who don’t share their beliefs or opinions are beneath them. They echo Hillary Clinton’s Basket of Deplorables” comment. They have contempt for Trump voters. Lemon’s laughter is indicative of what he thinks. Watch his show for one week. He lives in an echo chamber or cultural bubble. He can’t fathom that others don’t believe that same-sex marriage is the pinnacle of a free society. He can’t wrap his arrogant head around the notion that some actually think that forced multiculturalism is inherently self-contradictory.

      As to your other point, these are the fools (Lemon and his ilk) who tell us that a feces-covered religious symbol or a crucifix dunked in urine is high art. These are the fools who would tell us that some mass-produced music by marginally talented performers is superior to Mozart or Schubert. This “dumbing down” as you call it is not coming from Middletown; it is being shoved down their throats by the proverbial “powers-that-be” who think the unwashed masses only really want “Beevis and Butthead” or “Jackass”. I can understand that, now in the information/technological age, this excrement is available to anyone anywhere on the planet. Someone in Lahore with no real idea about the US is going to watch “Terminator” and justifiably come away thinking, “Whoa. Those United Statesers are some incredibly violent people. Just as someone in Omaha is going to watch a Bollywood movie and think, “Whoa, those Indian people sure like to dance.”


      • I believe that I understand why you say that Lemon represents some sort of ‘elite’. But I would argue that this is false appearance.

        What is not very attractive or acceptable in what I wrote — referring to the jimber-jawed — is that it does recognize a lower middle-class, and does not hold it in especial esteem. Why not even show contempt, genuine contempt, if it is due? The easiest way to illustrate this is to mention all of Donald Trump’s TV productions. It is all chemically-pure degraded stuff for ‘brainless masses’. I honestly apologize for using such — seemingly — mean language, but I have a point to make, and it has nothing to do with being mean. One is that there is absolutely nothing *wrong* with the lower classes. I have to spend time nearly daily with country people and the unsophisticated lower class urbanites and they are warm and wonderful people. In many ways I prefer them to *urban sophisticates*.

        But what I am talking about has to do with something peculiar that Renaud Camus brings up: the debasement of high culture by the elevation, display and dissemination of these grotesque and dumbed-down productions. They have no redeeming value. They are the elevation and celebration of that which has no value. And what has no value certainly cannot redeem!

        The point that Camus makes is that this is what has become of us. For different reasons — democratization and economic-democratization is definitely one of them — the low and the meaningless is celebrated and broadcast. Everyone is sucked into it. Think Andy Warhol (though there were some good artists that came out of that). It coincides with a turn for the worse in many other areas and senses.

        Don Lemon is one of the results of value-debasement. And if he is a member of an ‘elite’ he shows just how far sunken down is that elite. The strange thing — it is sort of intriguing and frightening at once — is that they imagine that they are bringing forward and indeed protecting ‘high values’, and certainly high and proper ethics and morality. This is all a lie. They are actively involved in debasement but — and I am aware that this is a contentious point — I regard democratization and equalitarianism not as positive goals. It is very touchy though to have such ideas and not to have it worked out how such an implied re-stratification would operate, or even if it could (in this debased present).

        From my perspective, Lemon and his guests are symptoms of a cultural elitism that dismisses everything else as pedestrian and banal.

        I suggest that it is a false and a hollow elitism. But obviously I mean ‘elite’ in the sense of genuinely having and holding to real values. I do recognize they he and they are at the top of the heap, and they make a great deal of money, and that money = access and also power. But something is definitely missing.

        As to your other point, these are the fools (Lemon and his ilk) who tell us that a feces-covered religious symbol or a crucifix dunked in urine is high art.

        Might you agree that that, in particular, is potentially more a manifestation of nihilism?

        Even if one were not a Christian in a faith-sense, what kind of brute could debase and insult the symbols around which so very much that is high and of elevated value has accreted? It is low-brow humor, something a naughty and malicious child would do. See, I think that that there shows how the vile and the low has penetrated into the middle and then also into the top, if that makes sense. A wise person would recognize in all religious symbols — Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic even — something of the very elevated.

        Only a brute would put such in urine. So, though such people might populate an elite echelon, they do not seem to be carrying or representing high values or attainments.

        “O perpetual revolution of configured stars, o perpetual recurrence of determined seasons, o world of spring and autumn, birth and dying! The endless cycle of idea and action, endless invention, endless experiment, brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; knowledge of speech, but not of silence; knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, all our ignorance brings us nearer to death, but nearness to death no nearer to God. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.” — T.S. Eliot

        You see though: my stark pretension is also somewhat ‘low-brow’ but at the least I know it 🙂 I’ll do better next time, I promise!

        • I don’t think we disagree. I pointed out religious icons as can example of the elevation of the base and banal to heights of culture. Warhol is a perfect example, as you rightly pointed out.


  6. Two comments:

    Did he apologize? That did not sound like an apology. It might not make the scale.

    His explanation is plausible (caveat: I have not looked at the video (that is time spent that I may regret upon the occasion my death; I will not take that risk), but have relied solely on the transcript you provided earlier). Rick makes a dumb joke about a U and a Crane. Rick and Ali go back and forth about maps, lines, elites, etc. Lemon tells Rick he needed that. They continue. Then Lemon repeats the U-Crane joke. Based just on that (remember the caveat), he could say that he was not laughing at the belittling of other people (he does not believe in that), but he was laughing at the image of a U-Crane. That simply reveals him as a simpleton, not a hateful person.

    Attorney for the Devil

    • His statement is male bovine excrement. If you watch the clip, Lemon at one point is head-on-the-counter laughing. Yeah, he meant it. CNN probably said, “Hey, Don. Uh, that interview is giving us some grief. So, if you could . . . uh . . . kinda apologize, that’d be great.” Lemon probably said, “Yeah, sure. I got this. Don’t worry. I’ll talk about in Monday’s show.” Management said, “Great. Thanks.”


      • The thing is: if he is head on the counter laughing, that suggests he might not have heard what was going on at that time.

        That supports his explanation.


          • Okay, because of your comment, I watched the earlier clip Jack posted (you bastard; time I will never get back).

            It does not show that. Lemon started laughing and kept doing so while the others acted like bigger jerks than he was.

            Lemon has plausible deniability.

        • As far as I’m concerned, its inexcusable either way. If he is doing his job, then he moderates, and a guest who starts making such comments about half the country gets a warning and a putdown, not approval via laughter. If he is so lacking in self control and professionalism that he allows himself to be incapacitated on the air so he can’t do his job, That’s still gross incompetence and irresponsible. “I’m not a bigot! I’m a child!” isn’t a defense.

          • That is fair, Jack.

            But, to be fair, you have to be clear about the offense as well.

            But, for what it is worth, the quality of the “apology” does depend directly upon what the offense was.


            • The offense was the entire scene, and it occurred on Lemon’s show, when he was in charge. He’s the one who narrowed the issue to try to weasel out. Laughter might as well be applause. What would happen to Tucker Carlson if a guest made an ant-gay or racist joke, and the host dissolved in laughter, saying “I needed that”? Would “I was laughing so hard I didn’t hear what else was being said” fly for a second? It wouldn’t, and it shouldn’t. I re-read my proposed apology: it works either way.

              • It may not fly, but, if it is true, the only thing he has to apologize for is the failure of decorum.

                And, that is fine, crucify him for that. That is justifiable.

                But, if he says, he was not belittling anyone, his position is defensible. He does not need to apologize for THAT.


                • No, you can’t say that. It isn’t as if someone farted or told a knock-knock joke. Again, lughter is an endorsement in that form. At what point in this sequence is laughter not belittling people?

                  RICK WILSON: Of course — of course. He’s just trying to demean her, and obviously it’s false. And, look, he also knows, deep In his heart, that Donald Trump couldn’t find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter “U” and the picture of an actual physical crane next to it. He knows that this is a, you know, an administration defined by ignorance of the world, and so that’s part of him playing to their base and playing to their audience, you know, the credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump — that wants to think that (does impersonation) “Donald Trump’s the smart one, and y’all — y’all elitists are dumb!”

                  WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You elitists with your geography and your maps and your spelling!

                  WILSON: Your math and your reading!

                  ALI: Yeah, your reading, you know, your geography, knowing other countries, sipping your latte!

                  WILSON: All those lines on the map!

                  ALI: Only them elitists know where Ukraine is! Sorry, I apologize.

                  LEMON (laughing): Oh, my God!

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