Trolling might just be an infectious disease.
How else can we explain Don Lemon?
The CNN anchor’s latest hot take of “we don’t know what happened” surrounding the brutal arrest of a South Carolina teen in a classroom almost makes you numb.
Of course, his statements attracted much blowback.
Of course, Lemon and CNN turned the reasonable criticism into another opportunity for the anchor to address his haters on-air.
“We are a news network […]” Lemon lectured during an appearance on The Situation Room Tuesday night. “The more information you have, the better it is.”
Oh. Now we get it.
So we’ll just have to forget about Lemon recklessly speculating about a black hole swallowing up MH370? Or when he essentially asked a Bill Cosby rape accuser why she didn’t bite the comedian’s penis in order to stop the alleged rape?
Or maybe when he offered up this hot take about the “obvious” smell of marijuana during a night of protests in Ferguson.
“We are a news network.” — Ok, got it.
Most of us probably cheered the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native on when he joined CNN back in 2006.
And why shouldn’t we have?
By the time Lemon joined CNN, he had won an Emmy for his reporting on the Chicago real estate market, an Edward R. Murrow Award for covering the capture of the D.C. sniper as well as other awards for stories involving the AIDS epidemic in Africa and Hurricane Katrina.
In 2009, he was even named to the Ebony Power 150: The Most Influential Blacks in America.
While muddling through allegations of sexual abuse of young boys by Bishop Eddie Long in 2010, Lemon bravely revealed that he too had been sexually abused by a man as a child. Then in 2011, Lemon, in his memoir Transparent, shared that he was gay.
With that kind of background, how could Lemon not champion the cause?
One of the first rumblings that Lemon was a complete turncoat came at the end of July 2013 as we grappled with George Zimmerman being acquitted of murdering the unarmed Trayvon Martin.
Using CNN as his bully pulpit during his then-weekend show, No Talking Points, Lemon — live on air — supported Bill O’Reilly’s statement on the topic:
The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African American family… Raised without much structure, young black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture, drugs, hustling, gangs. Nobody forces them to do that. Again, it is a personal decision.
Not only did Lemon co-sign O’Reilly, he said the Fox News anchor’s statement didn’t “go far enough.”
Lemon then went on to list five ways in which black people could improve themselves, placing black men pulling up their pants at the top of his list (he even played a clip of himself on The Wendy Williams Show a month prior explaining his rationale), along with not using the N-word, finishing high school and not having children out of wedlock.
Lemon insisted that 72 percent of black children being born out of wedlock was a direct prison pipeline but also lambasted black people embracing hip-hop music and culture. And then after himself reinforcing the very stereotypes about black people that O’Reilly and company hold sacred and reiterating that the injustices committed against us are largely our own damn fault, he, wait for it, concluded, “That said, though, the political right is not off the hook.”
Not too long ago, Lemon generated outrage by holding up an N-word sign on CNN. And then again, he turned his criticism into more on-air opportunities to defend himself — falling on the hollow sword of “stirring the pot” or “having the conversation.”
Whatever that means.
And now Lemon is once again on air at CNN doing Bill O’Reilly’s and FOX News’s job for them.
This week, faced with the video of a school resource officer overturning a desk and dragging a teenage black girl across the floor in a high school classroom, Lemon insisted that more “context” was needed.
He even got into a heated faux-debate with CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor who, like most of us, is rightly outraged by Fields’s actions, defending his position.
If only a real plan of action like that depicted in the 1994 film Drop Squad specializing in “Deprogramming and Restoration of Pride” truly existed, Lemon would be the ideal candidate.
“I don’t know if the desk fell over because she didn’t want to get up, or if he pushed over, I don’t know, so I think there’s context to everything,” he unleashed on Twitter while also saying that “it does look horrible.”
It’s not hard to see why there’s a petition to remove Lemon from CNN gaining traction online:
We, the people want a journalist and an anchor that will not be afraid to accept the facts that are occurring within the African-American community and who will encourage our people the same way that person will encourage others across the board. We, the people, have no confidence in Mr. Lemon’s ability to do that, therefore we are asking CNN to remove him from his position.
Lemon’s got the ratings. No one’s beating Fox News, but good ‘ol Don has the No. 2 spot at 10 pm solidified.
What’s perhaps even worse is that, in 2013, Lemon began officially providing commentary on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, the juggernaut radio program that reaches more black people than CNN, and is a regular guest on The Wendy Williams Show, which more black people turn their televisions to than CNN.
How Lemon has managed to ingratiate himself with key black media figures like Joyner and Williams, whose opinions and positions often differ greatly from his, and use their platforms to unleash his KKK-sanctioned assertions is a head-scratcher.
At this point, no one is sure how we got the cancer known as Don Lemon, but there is no doubt that we need to beat it.
Don Lemon has got to exit stage left from the CNN studios.
That’s not up for debate.