Don Lemon: Breitbart Took Racism Charge Out of Context

CNN's Don Lemon blamed Breitbart News for allegedly quoting him out of context on remarks he made this weekend regarding how President Obama's race figured in The Daily Caller's Neil Munro's behavior at a White House rose garden press announcement last week

Munro's boss, Tucker Carlson, defended his employee and compared the Rose Garden scene to some of the famous pig hollerings from good ol' Sam Donaldson to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. As Daily Caller publisher Neil Patel noted, Munro thought President Obama had finished his remarks and he was hoping to get in a question before he left reporters high and dry – yet again. 

Lemon gave the subject three minutes, and in the middle of the segment he read part of a statement from ABC News' Sam Donaldson who was pushing back against Carlson's characterization of his days dogging Reagan. Lemon made a point to include this statement from Donaldson: "Let's face it, many on the political right believe this president ought not to be there – they oppose him not for his polices and political view but for who he is, an African American!" To this, Lemon added, "Finally, the elephant in the Rose Garden. Thank you, Sam Donaldson – enough said there."

As Editor of Breitbart TV, I presented that clip to our audience so they could see it, comment on it, and refer it to their friends on Twitter and Facebook. Our headline: "CNN Anchor: Reporter Interrupted President Because He's Black."

Mr. Lemon has been under fire on Twitter ever since the story ran. Yesterday, when faced with criticism over his statement, Lemon accused this site of journalistic malpractice:

.@wdelpilartcot Not bigot, liar. That clip is out of context just like Breitbart's awful site did on Sherrod. Learn lesson. Run entire clip.

Mr. Lemon's segment was three minutes long, and it contained both his condemnation of Carlson/Munro and clips of conservative newsmakers condemning Munro's behavior. I did not include those portions of the segment not because I wanted to make Lemon look bad, but because they were not news. What was news was a CNN anchor suggesting there was an underlying racial animus motivating Munro. Including all of Lemon's segment does absolutely nothing to change the context of his statement in this regard. Watch the entire segment for yourself below.

It is also noteworthy that liberal site Crooks and Liars delivered Lemon's entire segment to their audience and came up with the exact same take-away we did at Breitbart. Their headline: "CNN Host Scolds Heckler: Obama's Race Is 'the Elephant in the Rose Garden'."  How could the liberal site reach the same conclusion about Lemon's statement without showing a selective edit, thus taking him out of context? 

This also flies in the face of another accusation that Mr. Lemon made on Twitter about his critics: "I never said that. U read it in twitter or a conservative site thus u believe it. Hmm." Of course, Mr. Lemon's critics could have read it on a liberal site, like Crooks and Liars, but that doesn't fit into his assumptions about sites like Breitbart. 

To claim that Breitbart News somehow twisted Lemon's words by selectively editing him is laughable and wrong. It would be like charging that Lemon took Donaldson's words out of context because he only cited three sentences of a four paragraph statement. Beyond the pathetic race-baiting, Donaldson also stated: "I think it is probably the result of the growing incivility of the times, the competition among reporters and news organizations to be noticed not only for the work product but for the theatrics of the gathering." Why did Lemon leave that part out? Is it because it hits a little too close to home with he and some of his colleagues like Soledad O'Brien

When my colleague Noel Sheppard from Newsbusters called Lemon out on Twitter for the his racial comment, Lemon dodged, equivocated, and stopped the conversation without answering Sheppard's polite inquiry. When I challenged him and politely invited him to set the record straight, there was nothing but silence. This seems to be a pattern for Mr. Lemon. Indeed in the segment in question, when he refers to animus toward the President solely based upon his race as the "elephant in the Rose Garden," he then says "enough said about that." Enough said, Mr. Lemon? Says who? That's not how it works these days. Based on CNN's latest ratings collapse, it must seem like no one is watching your show, Mr. Lemon, but you can count on us watching and holding you accountable for irresponsible and inflammatory statements like these. 

You don't get to decide when there has been "enough said" on a subject. Not anymore.


Follow Larry O'Connor on Twitter here.


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