Don Lemon is convinced CNN was never “liberal.”
“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert mentioned Chris Licht, CNN’s new boss, during an interview with Lemon Monday evening.
He asked Lemon, “Word on the street is that you guys aren’t allowed to be liberal anymore. Is that the case?”
Lemon replied, “I don’t think we ever were liberal.”
Colbert reacted, saying, “What?”
He added, “That’s not me saying that, that’s the people out there saying he’s not letting you be liberal anymore.”
Lemon then explained, “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.”
He continued, “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.”
The CNN host suggested 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.”
Colbert replied, “So accountable but not confrontational.”
According to Lemon, “Sometimes one must be confrontational.”
Watch the conversation below:
CNN Anchor Don Lemon claims CNN was never liberal. (Video: CBS) pic.twitter.com/b23WXfpF2x— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) November 29, 2022
The argument went on, “Look, I don’t think that a conversation on television should be any different than a conversation in person. Listen, I have confrontational conversations with people I love and I have unconformable conversations with people I love and I think it’s necessary.”
Lemon declared it is also “necessary to do that on television, on CNN, but you can do that without being vitriolic. 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.”
Licht was named CNN’s new boss in April.
Last week, he pushed back against criticism of his new approach to the network’s strategy.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about my vision is that I want to be vanilla, that I want to be centrist. That is bulls—,” Licht said. “You have to be compelling. You have to have edge.”
Licht argued, “In many cases you take a side. Sometimes you just point out uncomfortable questions. But either way you don’t see it through a lens of left or right.”
On Monday, it was reported the network had announced new roles for reporters covering the White House.