Andrew Klavan responds to CNN anchor Don Lemon's opinion that "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett is not to blame for his lack of support in the court of public opinion on Thursday's episode of "The Andrew Klavan Show." Transcript and video below.
When I was as a reporter, I once said to a cop, “You know, you and I, we both work for the people.” He said, “No, you work for a corporation; I work for the people.” That’s right. The police are the ones looking for fact, the news organizations work for corporations and are selling a point of view that the corporations want you to believe. If you don’t believe this, let me show you an amazing, amazing cut. I’m going to play this first and comment on it afterwards. Don Lemon… Now I understand picking on Don Lemon is picking on a guy who can’t think very well, but still. Don Lemon is reacting to this thing that he was trying to sell as symbolic of what America is like during the tyranny of the Trump administration, and now it’s been caught out. He’s talking to Joey Jackson, their legal analyst. He’s talking about what has just happened to Jussie Smollett as he gets charged.
Lemon: A good lawyer can get you off just about anything, right? Or reduce whatever it is that you’re going to suffer. In the court of public opinion, Jussie has lost. He’s lost the fight in the court of public opinion. That’s where his battle is. Legally, if he has to go, whatever he has to serve, if it’s jail time, probation, whatever. But in the court of public opinion, it matters. He’s lost that because of how, and it’s not his fault. Maybe people were… I don’t know what they were saying to him. Maybe because of his representatives, who knows. But it was handled poorly.
Jackson: I don’t know if it’s not his fault, Don. I mean, he went out and he gave the interview. Understand this, now let’s talk from a defense perspective. There’s two things to think about. Number one is the law and whether it makes sense legally to be out there speaking and everything else. From that perspective, it’s damning. All those things you heard him say on TV are going to be played in a courtroom. From a public relations imperative, people say get in front of the cameras, express what happened, show some real anger, show some this, that or the other. The fact is that works from a public relations perspective, but it doesn’t work in this perspective.
I just wonder… I wish I could read Joey Jackson’s mind in that moment. This is the guy, he’s trying to explain to him the difference. He says, well it’s not his fault that he lost in the court of public opinion. Joey Jackson says, the facts, now he’s dealing with people who deal with the facts. When you're in the courtroom, yeah there’s emotion, but basically you’re dealing with cops, you’re dealing with the courts, you’re dealing with fact. Allegedly he made this whole thing up. He hired these guys to basically attack him and make him into a victim because he was tired of being a successful TV star. On the left, who wants to be a successful TV star if you can be a victim?
More than that, he was trying to impose his imagination on to the world. He imagines that under the tyranny of Donald Trump, he imagines he’s persecuted. He imagines the world is a terrible place. He’s just not getting the love. They’re also saying he may have sent that threat to himself through the mail and that could be a federal crime. He could really be in trouble there. Basically, he’s got this thing, this image in his head, and when the world is not living up to that image in his head, he’s going to impose it on the world. Unfortunately, he’s dealing with the cops who don’t like when you do that. The cops like the facts. Don Lemon doesn’t know the difference.
What’s the problem with what happened in Don Lemon’s mind? It’s not that he got the world wrong, it’s not that he jumped on this false story because he has a false perception of the world which would be what I would be asking myself. Why did I make this mistake? That’s what you ask. When you make a mistake you say, why did I make a mistake? What did I do wrong? Where did I get this from? Where was I coming from? Where was my bias? Not if you’re Don Lemon. Here’s the problem with this story blowing up in Lemon’s face.
Lemon: Sean Hannity is going to eat Jussie Smollett's lunch. Every single second. Tucker Carlson is going to eat Jussie Smollett's lunch. Every single second. The President of the United States is going to eat his lunch. And who does the President of the United States watch? Cable News.
The Republicans! They’re pouncing! That’s the problem! The problem is that he might lose the battle for the imaginations of the public because his imagination doesn’t represent the world, instead of changing his mind.