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Don Lemon Outright Lies to Viewers in Failed Attempt To Blast Trump on Race Riots

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On Sunday, The New York Times published an article titled “Record Ratings and Record Chaos on Cable News.”

As Calvin from “Calvin & Hobbes” once mused about an article he picked for the current events section of his class with the headline “Space Alien Weds Two-Headed Elvis Clone”: “Actually, there’s not much left to explain.” Nor is there here.

If you know how The Times covers the media and you’ve read the headline, you can safely skip it and come away knowing every bit as much as you would have had you have read it. (Oh, save for the fact that CNN head Jeff Zucker is considering running for New York mayor the next time around, because apparently Gotham needs even worse leadership.)

For having read it, however, I was rewarded with this chortle-worthy description of CNN’s current primetime opinion lineup, which The Times says “competes more directly with MSNBC than ever before for audience, offering Don Lemon and [Chris] Cuomo as a more emotional, less cerebral alternative to Chris Hayes and [Rachel] Maddow.”

Consider Don Lemon alone in his office reading this. That’s got to be a murder hornet-level sting. How low do you have to set the bar to be considered “a more emotional, less cerebral alternative to Chris Hayes and [Rachel] Maddow?”

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I suppose Lemon could have thought back to roughly 12 hours prior when he told his audience, as footage of Los Angeles police gearing up to deal with rioters played on the screen, that President Donald Trump had been silent in regard to the violence currently blanketing America.

Curtis Houck of the Media Resource Center’s Newsbusters division decided to catalog Lemon’s remarks and the evidence that proved him wrong.

First, Lemon:

“Many of our cities, our major cities in this country are in chaos,” he said. “There’s unrest in our cities, and so far, no appeal from the president of the United States for calm. We are waiting for some leadership instead of division. And so far — silence.”

The problem is that amid the record chaos engendered by those record ratings, that leadership and appeal for calm didn’t really get covered.

The president’s direct appeal came during remarks at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday — ostensibly for the launch of the SpaceX rocket that returned American astronauts to space aboard an American craft for the first time in nearly a decade. During his speech, Trump made a clear and unequivocal call for peace and justice in the case of George Floyd, who died May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for roughly nine minutes during an arrest.

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“Before going further on this exciting day for all America in space, I want to say a few words about the situation in Minnesota,” Trump said. “The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy. It should never have happened. It has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger and grief.

“Yesterday, I spoke to George’s family and expressed the sorrow of our entire nation for their loss. I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace. And I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack and menace. Healing, not hatred; justice, not chaos are the mission at hand.”

“The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters, and anarchists. The violence and vandalism is being led by antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings,” the president continued.

“The main victims of this horrible, horrible situation are the citizens who live in these once lovely communities. The mobs are devastating the life’s work of good people and destroying their dreams. Right now, America needs creation, not destruction; cooperation, not contempt; security, not anarchy. And there will be no anarchy. Civilization must be cherished, defended and protected. The voices of law-abiding citizens must be heard, and heard very loudly.”

Trump said that “we must all work together as a society to expand opportunity and to create a future of greater dignity and promise for all of our people. We must forge a partnership with community leaders, local law enforcement and the faith community to restore hope.”

He went on to say that he would “stand with the family of George Floyd with the peaceful protesters and with every law-abiding citizen who wants decency, civility, safety and security.”

And yet Lemon: “I am waiting for a call for calm, something to come from the leadership of this country.”

It came. You didn’t cover it.

That’s not Trump’s fault. That’s your problem.

I don’t doubt Lemon was aware of this, either, as were a multitude of other people at CNN. It’s not as if they forgot Trump was speaking at Kennedy Space Center, after all. Much like Ron Burgundy, that was kind of a big deal.

I’ll say this much for Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow: I think they’d be perfectly able to dissect Trump’s speech and integrate it into their narrative. You’d probably disagree mightily with how they did it, and it would undoubtedly be profoundly facile, misleading and riddled with tergiversations, but I can see them making the attempt.

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Don Lemon didn’t even go there; he simply pretended the president’s remarks didn’t exist at all, instead weaving a fictive web in which our modern tweet-happy Czar Nicholas II was holed up in his Winter Palace, completely oblivious to what was going on.

Record ratings? Yes. Record chaos? Perhaps. Record mendacity? Of course.

If you’re a liberal cable news junkie and can’t swallow Fox News, it pains me to even suggest this, but perhaps it’s time to change over to the — I can’t believe I’m saying this — more “cerebral” alternatives on MSNBC. At least if they’re going to lie, it won’t be this bad.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture