CNN's Don Lemon Calls Young Conservative At CPAC 'Progressive'

UPDATE AT END OF POST: Young conservative in question responds to Lemon.

Just how out of touch must you be as a so-called journalist to think someone attending a conservative conference is liberal all because he or she is young?

Such a question should be asked of Don Lemon who on Saturday interviewed a couple of under-aged conservatives at CPAC and actually called one of them progressive.

Although CNN is to be commended for letting right-leaning youth discuss their views with cameras rolling, you would think someone would have clued Lemon in to the fact that the people he was speaking to - ahem, at a CONSERVATIVE gathering - were not liberals (video embedded below the fold with transcript):

DON LEMON, HOST: Of the 10,000 or so people attending the CPAC conference in Washington, a large number of them were under the age of 30. Earlier tonight I spoke with Brandon Aitchison and Kalindi Bryan about their experience at the gathering, asking whether they had enough life experience to understand the complexities of government economics.

Stop the tape!

Enough life experience to understand the complexities of government economics?

Does Lemon or anyone else at CNN understand the complexities of government economics? Do the politicians any of these folks revere for that matter?

Regardless, what kind of a question was that to ask of a guest? But I digress:


BRANDON AITCHISON, CPAC ATTENDEE: Even in high school, I had a high school job and going through college, you have to budget your money. And, yes, we're not maybe as experienced as somebody that has a family, but frankly, I don't think the federal government is doing a good job of demonstrating to us how to run a budget, how to run a sustainable fiscal path.

I think, you know, our representatives are supposed to reflect the American people and if -- and if they're -- if they're spending the way -- if they continue to spend the way they are spending now, it's unsustainable and I don't see how they can ask Americans to save and to pay their student loans and to pay their car loans when they can't -- when they can't hold up to the same principles.

LEMON: OK. So, listen, let me ask you this, Kalindi. When you -- you talked about, you know, there at CPAC, they're saying that, you know, the government hasn't set a clear path for your future, that government is too big. But there's also been this talk about bipartisanship. And Democrats are saying, well, Republicans don't want to work with us. And then Republicans are saying, Democrats don't want to work with us.

Was there any discussion -- especially among young people who tend to be a bit more progressive -- about possibly working with each other so that we can get rid of this gridlock in Washington and what we're calling here at CNN, "a broken government"?

Was there any discussion -- especially among young people who tend to be a bit more progressive?

Honestly, did Lemon not understand who he was talking to? Didn't his producers tell him that he was interviewing folks AT A CONSERVATIVE CONFERENCE?

Surely CNN knew this, for here's what was posted at concerning this video:


Apparently Lemon didn't get the message for this wasn't the last time he'd say "progressive":

KALINDI O'BRIEN, CPAC ATTENDEE: Well, I would say -- speaking as someone in the millennial generation -- that we are a group of young people who want a little bit of this and we want a little bit of that. And we are willing to cooperate, but we would like to see the progress ourselves, because it's very tough in our position. My mom raised me incredibly well and she runs her own small business, and I agree with Brandon that I actually am more aware about finances than many people give me a chance to speak of.

And I do respect the many young people who have come here today and these past three days who have sacrificed their time away from school or home to want to bring together each other, to focus on what our future is going to be like because we are all in this together.

LEMON: And, Brandon, you know, I'll ask you the same question. And I think it was a very good response from you, Kalindi.

Brandon, I'll ask you the same question. But with that question, I mean, don't you get tired of the sort of gridlock and don't you -- you know, especially, like I said, as a young person, a progressive person, don't you want to see something done? Because at the end day, it's really not about which side you're on, it's about getting things done for the American people.

[A]s a young person, a progressive person? What?

AITCHISON: Absolutely. And I think there is gridlock in Congress. There is a lot of partisanship going on. I think that if politicians can get down to the core -- the core policy, differences that they have instead of attacking one another personally, calling each other incompetent. I don't think that's the good way to start the conversation now.

I think that we need to get down to the policy differences. We live in a democracy. Not everybody is going to agree with one another and we need to recognize that and find the common ground. But, you know, to touch on young Americans, I think that not only do we want our voices heard, but we want to be participants.

I noticed here at CPAC -- CPAC made a great effort to incorporate young American's point of views. The co-sponsors did a great job at engaging young Americans and I think it's promising. You know, the Republican Party and conservatives are usually seen as old -- as old white guys. And, really, I think, this shows that it's not just that.

LEMON: Yes, you can say that there.


LEMON: But, I mean, you can say that here. I think it's very true what you're saying.

AITCHISON: Well, that and also, you know, President Obama, when he ran for -- in the '08 campaign, did a great job at engaging young Americans, and as president, yes they do have a youth outreach office and they have a Facebook page. But as far as engaging young Americans and getting them to participate, I think it's really been lacking and I'm concerned about it.


Wow. Is Lemon really this clueless, or was he having a bad night?

*****Update: I received the following message from Aitchison this morning (with permission)...

Hi Noel,

Thanks for the piece on your blog about our interview. I guess I was more focused on getting my point across about gov't fiscal policy and didn't really notice the "progressive" comment until I saw the interview later that night.

The clip online is only a portion of the interview that aired live. In the live interview he asked how could I know about budgeting when I am only 25 and don't have a family.

CNN also cut out where I say the Pres. should appoint a young American to the fiscal commission since we're the ones paying for his spending.

I'm the co-founder of Young Americans for Federal Debt Awareness.... checkout our website:


Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.