There has been no shortage of bad journalism this year. It is an easy thing to flub up in the fast paced, “buzz” focused society that focuses on being first over being correct. I’ve personally found myself guilty of that numerous times, but I’d barely call myself a journalist. I have faults, though, and so do plenty of other journalists.
That’s where the Columbia Journalism Review comes in with their list of the worst journalism of 2014. A list that features plenty of flubs and flaps, but gives special consideration to one anchor in particular: CNN’s Don Lemon.
He joins a cavalcade of bad decisions, including Fox & Friends telling people to take the stairs during the Ray Rice affair and Rolling Stones UVA story. But while those focus on one festering sore, Lemon’s entry features many and forces David Uberti to go down the list. From CJR:
On March 20, he asked guests whether Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 could have been swallowed by a black hole: “I know it’s preposterous, but is it preposterous?” He later compared spanking children to training dogs and probed similarities between the release of US Army POW Bowe Bergdahl and the Showtime series Homeland. When an alleged Bill Cosby rape victim appeared on his show on Nov. 18, he lectured, “You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it…Meaning the use of teeth, right?” Less than a week later, as protests turned violent in Ferguson, MO, he described the scene: “Obviously, there’s a smell of marijuana in the air.”
That’s a bad year. A bad, bad year. But that doesn’t mean Lemon is bad at his job. I’d say he’s a victim of the direction his network is heading and the need for the news to be “entertaining” to its viewers. It all just seemed to really pile up for the guy, possibly at the insistence of some producer in his ear.
I think he’s good at being in front of the camera, he should just stop to think before he speaks or tells a potential rape victim that she should have used their teeth to stop a rapist. Put it all behind you and make 2015 a better year.