I’ve been seeing a great deal of social media shares declaring how “Don Lemon stormed off the set” when someone called a segment “fake news.” This “storming” was, alternatively, cheered and condemned by partisans looking to score points in the culture war.
Frankly, there are days when I think progressives and reactionaries deserve each other and should just leave everyone else out of it.
The social media commentary had me put off watching what actually happened in the video, but this morning I was finally able to sit down and digest the video.
And so I tip my hat to Don Lemon.
I don’t do this because he “told someone off,” or because he “stormed off the set,” or because he was “exposed” as being unable to deal with “truth 1.” I tip my hat because Don Lemon cut off a talking point, clearly explained why the point was neither valid nor acceptable, and then invited the guest to continue his argument using valid points. What Don Lemon did, in other words, is what news networks should have been doing for the better part of thirty years, moderating an actual debate 2. When the guest persisted with a point the moderator declared invalid, the segment was cut short. Don Lemon was absolutely correct to do so, and all of our legitimate news sources should follow suit. The current administration wants to invalidate journalism, and this is not a valid posture for elected officials to take.
- As much as I’m not a fan of progressive aggression, a Trump supporter claiming to stand up for “truth” is absurdity in high order. ↩
- In an actual debate, “fake news” statements would be tossed out the moment they were uttered. While reactionaries might point out this should also apply to the “hypocrisy” comments made earlier in the video, these actually call into question the President’s own statements. So, yes, they are valid critiques. ↩