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Saturday, January 28, 2023
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Don Lemon Claims CNN Has Never Been ‘Liberal’

'Sometimes one must be confrontational... '

(Headline USACNN’s Don Lemon claimed during an interview with late night host Stephen Colbert this week that his network has never been “liberal,” and rejected the allegation that CNN’s new leadership is trying to make it appear less partisan.

Colbert asked Lemon about new CNN boss Chris Licht, who replaced the ousted Jeff Zucker earlier this year and vowed to shake things up.

“Word on the street is that you guys aren’t allowed to be liberal anymore. Is that the case?” Colbert quipped.

“I don’t think we ever were liberal,” Lemon responded.

Even Colbert seemed shocked at Lemon’s answer.

“What?” Colbert said. “That’s not me saying that, that’s the people out there saying he’s not letting you be liberal anymore.”

Lemon insisted that CNN has never been partisan, and has only ever tried to “hold people to account.”

“Well listen, I think what Chris is saying is that he wants Republicans – sensible Republicans – he wants us to hold people to account, but he wants people to come on and feel comfortable with coming on and talking on CNN and appearing on CNN,” Lemon explained. “So if you invite someone to your house, you want to make them comfortable but also by the nature of what we do, we have to hold people to account.

“And so that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going liberal or conservative or whatever, it just means that we are doing what we do and that’s good journalism,” Lemon added. 

Colbert asked whether that means CNN’s hosts are supposed to be less “confrontational.” Lemon responded by saying “sometimes one must be confrontational,” but claimed a conversation on television should be the same as “a conversation in person.”

“I think not being vitriolic is maybe a better way of putting it, but you can do that and not have vitriol. As people say, you can disagree without being disagreeable. And so I think that’s what our mission is,” Lemon said.

Licht took over as CNN’s president earlier this year and immediately began ousting personalities who had long been considered hyper-partisan and divisive, including Brian Stelter, Jeffry Toobin and John Harwood. He also stripped Lemon of his late night show and demoted him to co-host of the network’s new morning show, along with Kaitlin Collins.

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