On Tuesday night, speaking with fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, CNN anchor Don Lemon went on a rant in which he compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler and argued that the media should not give Trump a platform for his “propaganda and lies.”
I also think there’s a lesson in there for all of us. If you are a Trump supporter do you continue to fall for the okey-doke? Do you continue to use as an excuse that everyone is out to get him and everyone else is wrong and he’s always right and that you’re right and there is no compromise on that side? If you’re in the news media, in the jobs that we are, do we continue to allow space for propaganda and lies that we have to go back and correct? And it’s futile when you have to go back and correct it because the lie is already out there, the damage has already been done.
Have we learned from that in 2016 or will we continue to do the same thing? And if you’re a person who doesn’t support this president, are you going to understand, do you understand what it is that you didn’t pay attention to in 2016? That you didn’t go to the polls and vote, if you thought that elections don’t have consequences, if you thought that hey, you know, this person is speaking the truth, or they’re not going to do everything that they said. You’re right; this is going to be the pivotal election, I think there is — I hate this, “This is going to be a teachable moment” — but I think there is some learning for every single person, regardless of what side you’re on and what profession.
Cuomo commented, “I think you’re going to see correction and I think you’re going to see overcorrection. We see that in most social movements, that when there’s an appetite for change often you go too far in that direction. The idea of what you have on TV; you go too far and you start censoring what you have on TV because you don’t like the ideas, because you think all of it is a lie. Very rarely is anybody all a lie, even this president. Does he lie a lot? Yes.”
Lemon interrupted, “Most of the time.”
Cuomo said, “More than anything I’ve ever seen.”
Lemon reiterated, “Most of the time.”
Cuomo added, “But not everything he says is a lie.”
Lemon then went off the rails, “But think about the despicable people we’ve had in history. Now I’m going to use an extreme example. Think about Hitler. Think about any of those people. Would you say that that person is allowed—let’s put it this way—if you could look back on in history would you say well, I’m so glad that that person was allowed a platform so that they could spread their hate and propaganda and lies? Or would you say it probably wasn’t the right thing to do to spread that because you knew in the moment that that was a bad person. And they were doing bad things. Not only were they hurting people. They were killing people. And so I just think —”
Cuomo answered, “I think that the example matters. That’s a very extreme example. Rhetoric that you don’t like, could that be a slippery slope toward violence? Maybe, maybe not. “