Don Lemon on Thursday night claimed that he doesn’t give CNN viewers helpful context when reporting breathless stories because it takes too long.
The CNN host’s unsettling comment came after political commentator Mike Shields challenged the media’s “breathless” characterizations of an allegedly nefarious Trump-Russia connection. Shields began by dismissing supposedly breaking news about Jared Kushner as anything but. “First of all, this story was already out before, so it’s interesting that it’s in the news again.” The former chief of staff to Reince Priebus went on, “He was a transition official. Now he’s a White House official who has taken on a foreign policy portfolio. So it shouldn’t be shocking that he’s meeting with people. And so look…”
Washington Post reporter David Swerdlick shot back defensively, “It’s not shocking. It’s news though.”
Shields continued where he left off, throwing a wet blanket on the media’s consistently negative characterizations: “But why don’t we add that context? When we say, breathlessly, ‘Oh my gosh! There’s a leak! Jared Kushner’s under investigation!’…for carrying out things as a transition official that may have been part of his duties as a transition official. That’s not a hard sentence to add.”
Lemon then said mockingly, “That’s a long…that’s a long thing to put at the bottom of the screen.”
As the six almost uniformly anti-Trump panelists all laughed with delight at Lemon’s unfortunate admission, Shields lamented “Apparently too long.”
Lemon’s rationale for denying viewers appropriate context isn’t likely to help CNN’s questionable reputation of reporting the news fairly.