CNN’s Don Lemon had yet another seriously unhinged episode on Thursday when one of his panelists wouldn’t give in to his intimidating attempt to force an unnecessary apology.
In a stunning example of juxtaposed roles, the host and his race-obsessed panelists pretended to be protecting the legacy of Martin Luther King, whose stated dream was to someday see an America where people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. They simply could not abide the idea that co-panelist Jeffrey Lord wouldn’t apologize for the supposedly racially offensive act of comparing one aspect of Donald Trump’s current political strategy to that employed by Dr. King in the early 1960s.
Lord committed his perceived original sin earlier in the day on another CNN program.
Lord was reacting to Congressional Democrats’ current strategy to shut down the government unless payments of Obamacare subsidies to insurance companies continue, countering an idea Trump is considering to withhold those payments to bring insurers to the table to work on ending Obamacare’s death spiral.
Here is what Lord said, replayed on Anderson Cooper’s show that evening:
Transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post; irrelevant interruption attempts by Symone Sanders not included):
JEFFREY LORD: I want to say something here that I know will probably drive Symone crazy. But think of President Trump as the Martin Luther King of healthcare.
When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not introduce the civil rights bill because he said it was unpopular. He didn’t have the votes for it, etc. Doctor King kept putting people in the street in harm’s way to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced. That’s what finally worked.
Readers can debate the merits of Lord’s interpretation of history and its analogy to the current situation. The immediate issue in this post is Don Lemon’s disgraceful conduct that evening on his CNN Tonight show in the wake of Lord’s comparison.
Lord appeared there as a panelist. Lemon tried to cast that comparison as an insult to him and his non-white co-panelists. When it became clear that Lord wasn’t going to play along, Lemon completely lost control (HT Daily Caller):
DON LEMON, CNN: You have three people you work with, right? You work with Bakari (Sellers), you work with me, you work with Symone. Three people of color.
JEFFREY LORD: No no no.
LEMON: No, let me get the point out. Let me get the point out.
We are telling you that that comparison was insulting, and you’re ignoring it. Don’t you think you should take that into consideration whether or not you’re trying to make a point or not, even if it’s to the point of “if I offended you, I’m sorry.”
LORD: Don, Don. Don, Don. When I lived as a teenager in the South and my dad lost his job standing up for a black waitress —
LEMON: You’re not answering my question now. You’re not answering my question in the moment.
LORD: I am answering your question, Don. (repeated by Lord at least three times, to no avail)
LEMON: Don’t take me back to some before the war crap. I want to hear what you’re saying to the co-workers you work with now, Jeffrey. Answer the question now! I don’t want to hear about something from 50 dong-damn years ago!
Lord has posted a defense of his position at CNN.com. Here are his final two paragraphs:
In Dr. King’s day, the objective was negotiation that would lead to the passage of civil rights legislation. Today, President Trump is using the threat of crisis to negotiate his stated objective of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. Different goals, yes. But the strategy of creating a crisis to obtain a specific legislative outcome is exactly the same.
And there is nothing in the least wrong in saying so.
Strongly implied: “And Don Lemon won’t intimidate me into apologizing because someone else takes offense at what I said for no justifiable reason.”
For better or worse, Lord’s Trump-MLK comparison also applies to President Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. Seeing the opportunity the most recent recession was creating for the new Obama administration to implement its statist goals, Emanuel, at a November 2008 Wall Street Journal conference of top corporate chief executives, infamously said: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Cross-posted, with revisions, at NewsBusters.org.