May 21, 2021

CNN's John Berman asked Don Lemon about something he said this week on a podcast.

"You were asked what the brand essence of the Democratic party is, and your answer was, weak. Why?" he said.

"Because I believe our democracy. I don't believe, I know, our democracy is in trouble. The republic is in danger. I believe we're in danger right now," Lemon said.

"Voter suppression. People who are lying, bending reality to fit -- bending the truth to fit their own reality. We have people who think it's okay now to yell at lawmakers, congressmen through the doors, call them babies. We have people who believe in Jewish space lasers. We have people who are trying to basically, now, have minority rule in the country. I'm talking about one particular party.

"I'm not a partisan person. People are like, they're not going to believe that. I don't believe in belonging to a political party. I'm an independent. But our democracy is in danger because of the Republican party. In order to save this democracy, we need to stand up and be stronger. They can no longer operate by the rules they did before. These are pre-Trump rules that they need to operate by, that they are operating on and they need to operate now in a -- for the rules that apply, a post-truth, post-fact world. That's what we live in, in order to save the democracy that we so love."

"What do you think they're doing that's weak?" Berman said.

"I don't hear them standing up enough for this madness that's in Washington. For the lie. We have people now, it is okay in this country now to be an indecent, immoral person. It is okay for adults to act like what we tell children not to do. It is okay to lie to journalists' faces and to the faces of American people. To tell people one thing one day about an insurrection and another thing the next day about an insurrection," Lemon said.

"Or say it didn't happen," Berman said.

"Or say it didn't happen. I don't see Democrats standing up strongly enough for that. They need to become more cunning and realize what is at stake. And what's at stake is really America at this point. And I do not see them doing it," Lemon said.

"I think that their morals are great. I think the Democrats are the party -- is the party of morality. I don't think the Republican party is. Maybe in the old days they believed that they were. But they're not. And if you look at what's happening, it is basically, John, white grievance is what we have now. I had Matthew Dowd on last night who really dropped jewels last night. he said, 25 to 30% of the population, white males in this country. 80% to 90% of the representation that we have in Washington and the people who hold power are white males. And what they are operating on now is white grievance, white fear. Trump capitalized on that. The country is changing, and they are afraid of it. What are they essentially saying? that they don't trust people who don't look like them? That people who don't look like them should not have the amount of power and the equity and equality that they have?

"I don't see Democrats standing up for that or understanding the danger in that. So in order for us to move forward, when we have one party who is operating on lies and not living in reality, we need a party to stand up and be stronger and operate on truth and live in reality and show the world that America is better than Jewish space lasers. What else do I have to say? It is the God's honest truth."


Where to begin?

There is a tendency for media figures when discussing politics to revert to the role of theater critic, and that's all Lemon is doing here. You'll notice what's missing in this impassioned proclamation, right? The role of the media. The one that's made Don Lemon a multimillionaire.

Lemon is, of course, above the fray. He's an independent! (Noble Don!) When really, he's just one more acolyte of what NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen famously calls "the View From Nowhere."

Democrats are in a classic bind, one created by people like Don Lemon's employers. "Be stronger!" Sure, that works. Look what it did for AOC! The media helped recreate her as a parody of herself, and turned her into some kind of crazed monster. That way, when they cover Marge Green, they can point and say, "Both sides!"

We could talk about the transition of Lemon's news industry from a public mission to a profit-making infotainment enterprise. Do you think maybe that had something to do with the state of our democracy, Don?

This is already too long, so I'll point to Twitter.

Doug J. Balloon is a Balloon Juice blogger who calls his feed "New York Times Pitchbot." Progressives frequently attack him because his tweets are so pitch-perfect, so close to the reality of Times coverage, that they don't understand it's parody. Here's are some classics:

Now, if I hadn't already told you this was a parody account, would you have known? Of course not. Because this is what passes for journalism these days!

Don Lemon should know that. He should know his industry will always cover the Republican clown show to the detriment of the principled Democrats he seems to have trouble locating. He should also know that most Americans think if they see something on TV, it must be true, and treating Democrats as peripheral has its consequences.

Maybe he should put some effort into cleaning up his own damned side of the street.

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