Don Lemon Doubles Down on Media Activism Despite New CNN Leadership

Photo by Jason Mendez/Invision/AP

It appears CNN Anchor Don Lemon didn’t get the memo that the network’s new leadership sent out shortly before taking over. The host, who is more activist than journalist, recently went on a tirade justifying the apparent bias of folks like himself and his peers at other activist media outlets. But with the new direction articulated by CNN’s new CEO Chris Licht, can Lemon’s ilk survive?

Despite Licht stating last month that he wished to decrease the level of partisanship at the network, Lemon recently indicated he would continue doing his typical far-left activist schtick on his show. During a conversation with fellow media activists Brianna Keilar and John Berman, Lemon said he could not cover Republicans like Democrats because the former are “very dangerous.” He said:

“Speaking very soberly about the realities of America and American politics right now — we sit around and we talk about these things and we want to give this false equivalence to Democrats and Republicans. That is not where we are right now. Republicans are doing something that is very dangerous to our society and we have to acknowledge that. We have to acknowledge that as Americans. We must acknowledge that as journalists because if we don’t we are not doing our jobs.”

This is not the first time Lemon has justified using his supposedly journalistic platform to play the role of hyper-partisan hack, nor is he the only one to do so. But if he is serious about continuing to play the role of propaganda minister for the Democratic Party, he might just run afoul of his new bosses. Perhaps it could cost him his career if Licht and the rest are serious about their declarations.

Axios reported earlier this year that the new CEO is “evaluating whether personalities and programming that grew polarizing during the Trump era can adapt to the network’s new priority and be less partisan.”

Multiple sources with knowledge of the new shift told Axios that if on-air talent is unable or unwilling to adopt a less partisan tone, they could lose their jobs.

However, it was clear that Licht was not just going to come in and immediately clean house. He said he would give these personalities a chance to adapt to the new mission first. It seems that Lemon might be seeking to call Licht’s bluff.

The new direction comes as CNN continues to pull abysmal ratings, constantly being beat out by Fox News and other networks. The once-respected news company has been suffering ever since it went full Orange Man Bad in 2016. Even with former President Donald Trump out of office, the outlet has been emulating its contemporaries, acting as a propaganda outlet for the progressive movement and Democratic Party. Licht and his leadership team wish to move CNN back to the days when it was actually a respected source of news and not just a fancy arm of the Democratic Party. He reiterated this point after CNN’s streaming services tanked after only a month of programming.

“Extremes are dominating cable news. We will seek to go a different way,” Licht said. “We intend to challenge the traditional philosophy of cable news.”

He indicated the network would revamp its morning programming:

“First, we will reimagine our morning show, leveraging our correspondents and unmatched resources in the U.S. and around the world to provide news that viewers need to know as they start their day. I’m going to be honest here: We are seeking to be a disrupter of the broadcast morning shows in this space, and we believe we have the people and resources to do that.”

If Licht and his team are serious about what they say, Lemon and his ilk had better tone down the on-air activism or they might find themselves out of a job. But I think it’s worth pointing out that folks like Lemon can’t help themselves. Their objective is to push the progressive agenda, not inform their audiences on the news of the day. One thing is clear, it won’t take long to find out if CNN’s new leadership truly wishes to pursue a different direction, or if they are just telling folks what they want to hear.


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