Don Lemon at CNN isn't interested in being told what an "automatic" rifle is. He's decided what it is, and the truth doesn't matter. Even after recognizing after the fact that the person correcting him was right, he has no remorse for his demonstrated ignorance.
On Wednesday, as Charles C. W. Cooke noted at National Review's The Corner blog the next day, Lemon claimed that “most people can go out and buy an automatic weapon,” because he was able to do so "within 20 minutes" in Colorado two years ago. Radio host, CNN political commentator, and author Ben Ferguson corrected him. It didn't matter, because as Lemon lamely explained, "For me, an automatic weapon is anything that ... can shoot off a number of rounds very quickly." Video is after the jump, followed by Lemon's vain attempt to recover the next day.
First, the video:
Now, most of the transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):
FERGUSON: The gun law says that you and I can't just randomly go out and buy an automatic weapon. So let's deal with the facts here. A semi-automatic weapon is a gun that you and I are allowed to own, and in different places they have different rules. But to imply that anyone can walk out and buy an automatic weapon is just not true, Don.
LEMON: What do you mean, anyone can't go out? Listen, during the theater shooting in Colorado I was able to go and buy an automatic weapon, and I, you know, had maybe shot a gun three, four times in my life. I don't even live in Colorado. I think most people can go out and buy an automatic weapon.
FERGUSON: Don, what is your definition of an automatic weapon?
LEMON: Well for me an automatic weapon is something you can shoot off a number of rounds, a number of rounds very quickly. I was able to buy an AR-15 within 20 minutes in a state in which I am not a resident.
FERGUSON: Don, in all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about. An automatic weapon is when you pull the trigger one time and it continually shoots off one after another after another. A semi-automatic weapon, you have to pull the trigger —
LEMON: I can do that with my A-R 15. You're getting into semantics here. ...
... LEMON: Let me finish, Ben. I think you are getting into semantics. Regardless of what you want to call it, automatic or semi-automatic, I can shoot off many rounds —
FERGUSON (attempting to interject) It's the difference between breaking the law and not breaking the law.
LEMON (shouting): Will you let me finish, Ben, before we — I can shoot off number of rounds very quickly and have the capacity to take, to harm someone's life in an instant. I think that is what's important here, that's what we're talking about. No one is saying to take away anyone's Second Amendment rights, but that we should examine it ...
The next day, in what he must think was a defense of Lemon, Tom Kludt at liberal blog Talking Points Memo carried Lemon's claim that he knows the difference between the two types of weapons — it sure didn't look like that was the case to me — and that the definitional issue wasn't the "central point":
Lemon didn't exactly seem humbled by his pratfall. In an email to TPM on Thursday, he chalked up his error to a simple verbal slip and insisted that he does indeed know the difference between automatic and semi-automatic guns. His central point about access to weapons, he argued, still stands.
I mis-spoke in our discussion of guns with Ben Ferguson ... I do know the difference between a semi and automatic weapon. And it doesn't change the point I was making - that sales are through the roof and we as a nation should decide if that's a good thing or not.
So the "central point" turns out to be about stronger controls on guns in direct violation of the Second Amendment, despite what Lemon claimed at the end of the video segment above. Glad we're at least straight on that.
Memo to Don Lemon: You don't get to decide what words mean. For him, it all seems to come down to how guns are icky — a commonly held establishment press belief.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.