The segment that got Don Lemon fired was everything wrong with cable news
If you think this was a good interview, you have worms in your brain.
Tucker Carlson was fired today, and it prompted me to make a lot of wonderful jokes on Twitter, but I don’t actually have any substantive thoughts about it, so this post isn’t about that. This post is more an obit for Aldous Huxley running under the important news that JFK had been assassinated sort of thing, which is to say, it’s about the second biggest cable news story of the day: Don Lemon getting fired.
There were many bricks on the pathway to Lemon’s exit, some more important than others, but according to the New York Times, the one that sealed the deal had to do with an interview last week.
Last Wednesday, however, Mr. Lemon made headlines again after a highly contentious on-air exchange with Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential candidate. The segment deteriorated as the men fiercely debated questions of Black history and the Second Amendment; Mr. Lemon’s co-anchor, Ms. Harlow, could be seen sitting silently beside him, at times casting her gaze elsewhere and scrolling through her smartphone.
The incident left several CNN leaders exasperated, the people said.
Here is the clip.
This interview captures basically everything that I hate about cable news. Vivek Ramaswamy makes a very questionable assertion about the NRA’s role in civil rights history. Don Lemon gets some sort of note from his producers and then loses it and screams at them. He returns to Ramaswamy and asks him to say it again so he can hear it. The Republican candidate then makes the point again.
Lemon disagrees with this point, which is fair. I disagree with it too. But instead of conducting any sort of productive back-and-forth about the subject, Lemon lets the whole thing devolve into a screaming match. The following few minutes are not only hard to follow as a viewer, but even if you can follow it, you gain nothing from it. No information is imparted to you. It’s just one person making a broad claim, another person saying that’s not true, and then engaging in a sort of meta-argument about whether Indian-Americans should be allowed to make claims about the African American experience.
Vivek Ramaswamy does two things in the segment that I think are bad:
his entire point about the NRA is ahistorical
He at one point says to Don Lemon something like, “This is offensive to everyone, including Black people.” Telling a Black person how they should feel about something because of their race, or telling a Jew how they should feel about something because of their religion, or telling a woman how they should feel about something because of their gender is something people shouldn’t do. It is not helpful and is unnecessarily provocative. Women shouldn’t do it to men! Dogs shouldn’t do it to cats! You can make whatever point you want without doing that.
But Vivek Ramaswamy comes off far better than Don Lemon in this exchange.
Don Lemon is the host. It is Don Lemon’s job to think of the viewer. It is Don Lemon’s job to make sure the discussions are informative for the viewers.
At this, he fails spectacularly. Instead of a productive discussion, it becomes a screaming match about things unrelated to the actual subject at hand.
Judd Legum took to Twitter to say:
“I'm not a Don Lemon fan, but this was a pretty good interview. The idea that the NRA played a critical role in securing civil rights for Black Americans is insulting.”
I’m sorry, but it was not a good interview!!! Only a crazy person can think it was a good interview!!!
BAD INTERVIEW WAS BAD
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