On Saturday's CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon played a clip of his interview with Allen Hardage, identified as the director of America's Town Hall:
LEMON: Where was the outrage five years ago, ten years ago, 15 years ago? Why all of a sudden this outrage now? At least the president is trying to reform health care, so where did the outrage suddenly come from?
ALLEN HARDAGE, DIRECTOR, AMERICA'S TOWN HALL: Don, this is the second town hall he's done in the last week that I actually saw real Americans get up and ask questions. It wasn't a pre-selected group or a --
LEMON: But hang on, before you do that. Real Americans, that's another term that really sets people off.
HARDAGE: Well, let me tell you what I mean by that.
LEMON: We're all real Americans. Everybody.
HARDAGE: Where anybody can get in and anybody can ask a question. And you have seen a completely different tenor in -- in the town hall he held on Tuesday and today, than town halls we have been seeing so far in this debate. That's what I mean by real Americans.
LEMON: OK. Or maybe you know what, the whole real American thing -- can we lose that real Americans?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.
LEMON: Because everybody in this country, who is a citizen...
LEMON: ...we're all real Americans.
LEMON: And that is part of the issue that really sets people off and divides people. So let's get rid of that real Americans. We're all -- I'm real American. You're real American.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.
LEMON: Conservatives, liberals, independents, we're all poor or rich real Americans.
LEMON: Continue your point.
HARDAGE: But here's my point. If we're going to open this debate up and have everybody come in and put their ideas forth. Virginia is absolutely right. He said it himself, this is a hard issue. So we need to -- we need to bring everybody to the table. Let's hear everybody's ideas and concerns, and come up with a consensus.
Lemon's defense of Barack Obama (at least the president is trying to reform health care) came as he asked why there's a "sudden" outrage. The outrage has been building for months, as Obama set records for unprecedented spending and deficits, expanded federal meddling in banks and auto companies, fired executives and guaranteed the government would back up auto warranties. The disastrous cap and tax legislation he's pushing through Congress will have a devastating impact on energy prices, destroy jobs, and give government even greater power.
Now the man with zero credible executive experience wants to expand his authority over an additional one-sixth of the economy.
This wasn't the only time Lemon set aside any pretense of objectivity to laud Obama. On November 1, 2006, he interviewed Michelle Obama at a birthday celebration for Jesse Jackson. Santita Jackson, Jesse's daughter, became part of the segment:
LEMON: Are you ready to be first lady?
OBAMA: No comment.
LEMON: Where's hubby tonight?
OBAMA: He's coming. He is flying in. His flight doesn't come in until late. My date is Santita Jackson.
LEMON: Santita, get over here.
OBAMA: Get over here.
LEMON: Santita Jackson and Michelle Obama. Let me get you guys right here. Daughter of the great one who's turning 65. Wife of the great one now.
The great one now. Obviously, that journalistic detachment doesn't extend to people who use inflammatory language such as "real Americans," disparaged by the anchor Saturday as "another term that really sets people off." Well, at least some people in the mainstream media. It appeared as though Hardage was merely suggesting town hall participants are average citizens, rather than, as he said, "a pre-selected group." That wasn't good enough for Lemon, who bullied the guest into an admission that every citizen is a real American.
Several mainstream media types have gone to work for the administration. Perhaps as Lemon reminds viewers that at least Obama is trying to reform health care, a White House opening for another dependable news reader will develop.