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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