CNN anchor Don Lemon tore into NBC over the network’s plan to host a town hall Thursday with President Donald Trump.
Lemon referred to the town hall — which will be in direct competition with a town hall with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on ABC — as an “embarrassing ratings ploy” and accused NBC of allowing President Trump to dictate their programming. (RELATED: Chris Cuomo And Don Lemon Pump Each Other Up With Matthew McConaughey Hum-And-Chest-Thump)
Lemon began his show Wednesday with a brief discussion with fellow anchor Chris Cuomo, saying that people he knew were expressing outrage over the fact that President Trump and Biden would be holding simultaneous events on competing networks.
“The dueling town halls,” Cuomo replied.
“Yes. Why on Earth would NBC agree to do that?” Lemon asked.
Cuomo pointed out the fact that networks were required to give the candidates equal time if they asked for it, but Lemon was not convinced.
“You can do equal time on a different night,” he protested. “You can do equal time at a different time. You don’t have to do it at the same time and then divide the country further by having them choose — the whole point of it was to bring them together.”
Cuomo then said that Trump had told NBC that was the only time he would do the event, prompting Lemon to ask, “So he is controlling the programming schedule at NBC?”
Lemon went on to call the president a “super spreader,” alleging that the only reason they were holding town halls instead of the planned second debate was Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that he himself had tested positive in the days following the first debate.
“They’re giving him — they’re rewarding him with primetime on a major network on cable and on their Spanish speaking network. Someone who made all the wrong decisions and someone who backed out of a debate. How does that help the American people? How does that inform the electorate by putting those two people on at the same time? And making people choose from one to the other?” Lemon asked.
“Don’t give me that BS about well you can tape one,” Lemon continued. “That is not what it’s about. This is an outright embarrassing ratings ploy on behalf of NBC. And I am shocked and surprised that they would allow the President of the United States to do their programming and manipulate them into doing this. It is embarrassing.”
Lemon went on to say that he had spoken to friends at MSNBC — particularly people of color and those within the LGBTQ community — who were “incredulous” and couldn’t believe that the network would allow the president a platform.
“I don’t understand it. I am outraged by this,” Lemon added. “And for all of my brothers and sisters who are over at that network and are afraid to speak out because they think that they’re going to lose their job or lose their standing or there is going to be repercussions for it I will speak out for you. It is outrageous. And I cannot believe NBC is doing it and I am sorry for you.”
“It is absolutely ridiculous, NBC,” Lemon concluded. “It is a pure ‘D’ as we say down south ratings ploy and you should be embarrassed.”