CNN produces another Lemon … Don that is
To change the trajectory of their plunging ratings, the new owners of CNN have promised to make changes to bring the network back from left-wing proselytizing and restore basic journalistic integrity.
Since that announcement, I have made several suggestions – and to my pleasant surprise, the new bosses seem to see the problem in a similar light. They dumped so-called media critic Brian Stelter, White House Correspondent John Harwood — and the morning team of John Berman and Brianna Keilar. They took former FOX personality, Chris Wallace, out of mothballs and gave him a weekend personality interview show – a format that Wallace excels at (even if some of his opinions do not coincide with mine). CNN had already fired Chris Cuomo before I got him on my hit list.
I am awaiting to see if they will follow my other advice and give the pink slip to weekend anchor Jim Acosta, that smarmy John Avlon — with his misnamed “Reality check” – and the contemptibly biased so-called fact-checker Daniel Dale. Or if they will take Michael Smerconish out of the doldrums of early Saturday morning programming and give him a prime-time weeknight show.
I also gratuitously suggested that they terminate Don Lemon and replace his nighttime show with a point/counterpoint co-anchored program. They seem to be trying out different in-house personalities for the various primetime programs. The 9:00 p.m. time slot is currently being handled by Alisyn Camerota and Laura Coates.
Instead of dumping Lemon, they reassigned him to co-host the morning show with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. That is definitely a demotion from his own namesake primetime program – and he is going to have to get up a lot earlier in the morning.
As I watched the first Lemon-led morning show, I came to a quick conclusion. It is not going to work in improving the ratings for that time slot. There may be a curiosity bump at first, but I believe CNN management will be looking to again rework that time slot with yet another new team in the future.
It appears that CNN is hoping to make the morning show a bit more entertaining and conversational – taking a page out of the “FOX and Friends” game book. If the first show is any indication, the new team will be reading off the same old left-wing teleprompters.
The top-of-the-hour story was the off-the-wall speculation on the attack on Paul Pelosi, hubby of Speaker Nancy. Granted, that the speculation – that Pelosi had invited a younger gay man into his home and “things’ went wrong — was both wrong and disgusting. (I will cover that more specifically in a future commentary).
Despite the obvious existence of far more meaningful and newsworthy stories with which to lead off, the Lemon team focused on the attack ONLY in so far as they could spin the bogus speculation against Republicans. It was part of the left’s dubious narrative that it is rightwing chatter that causes such violence – and that the only subject worthy of reporting is campaign year attacks on the Republican brand.
Lemon got into an argument with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, in which the host declared himself to be correct and telling the truth. Neither Lemon nor his co-host served as inquiring reporters, but as argumentative partisans. It was an example of the liberal view that their “opinions” are truth.
Lemon may have a new show and a new audience, but from what I saw on the maiden voyage was the same old arrogant and pompous Don Lemon of the evening show. That kind of reporting is NOT going to solve CNN’s problem.
The only thing different about Lemon was “the look.” Knowing how much money and effort goes into selecting the on-air personalities’ clothing and hairstyle, the “new” Lemon had to be a creature of management decision. Gone is the coat and tie. The Don now dons a sportscoat over a casual pullover. We got a hint of the new look in the promos for the new show when Lemon wore a turtleneck shirt under the sportscoat
He is now “Miami Don” – reminiscent of another Don. The look was made fashionable way back in the 1980s by Don Johnson, star of “Miami Vice”. Unless you live in Florida, that look is as outdated as the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail.
It is one of those wait-and-see situations, but I doubt the new morning lineup at CNN is going to lure views away from FOX News. They may go better with the MSNBC audience. Not because Lemon & Co. is so good, but because preachy Joe Scarborough is wearing thin even on liberal folks. CNN will not do well unless they can stop the new Don Lemon from acting like the same old Don Lemon.
So, there ‘tis.