TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2021
You can't run a press corps this way: What follows is going to be somewhat unkind. What follows will also be accurate.
In what follows, we're going to focus on Don Lemon, who hosts the two-hour nightly program, CNN Tonight.
In Sunday's New York Times, Lemon was the subject of the weekly "By the Book" feature. He was interviewed about his reading habits. We were struck by this exchange:
NEW YORK TIMES (3/21/21): What’s the most interesting thing you learned from a book recently?
LEMON: I learned from “Four Hundred Souls” that my ancestors arrived here on a slave ship before the Mayflower. Just because I went to a Black Catholic elementary and middle school, which drilled Black history into us, I thought I knew more about our history than most. Alas, I was wrong.
Presumably, Lemon didn't learn in that book that any of his own particular ancestors arrived here before the Mayflower. Presumably, he meant that he learned that the first captive Africans were brought to these shores at that time.
That's true, and there's no wrong time to learn something. Having said that, good lord!
The New York Times launched its widely-discussed "1619 Project" back in August 2019. The project was very widely discussed. Its title refers to the fact that the first captive Africans arrived here in 1619.
In early discussions of the project, it was widely noted that the Pilgrims didn't arrive on the Mayflower until the following year. But even if a person missed that part of those discussions, there had always been Lerone Bennett and his famous book.
The book was published in 1962. Quite literally, its original title was this: Before the Mayflower: A History of the Negro in America, 1619-1962.
(In later editions, the title was changed to Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America.)
Bennett's book was always a bit controversial. There were always questions—questions we can't answer—about the caliber of Bennett's scholarship.
That said, the book never stopped being at least semi-famous. When Bennett died in 2018, the New York Times offered this overview at the start of its obituary:
GENZLINGER (2/16/18): Lerone Bennett Jr., a historian and journalist who wrote extensively on race relations and black history and was a top editor at Ebony magazine for decades, died on Wednesday in Chicago. He was 89.
The cause was advanced vascular dementia, Ebony said on its website.
Mr. Bennett was both lyrical and outspoken in his writing, arguing that the history of black people in the United States had been ignored or told only through a white filter.
His best-known book was “Before the Mayflower,” drawn from a series of articles for Ebony and first published in 1962. (Revised editions were still being published decades later.) In it he noted that the first blacks arrived in the colonies in 1619, the year before the Mayflower did, on a ship that reached Jamestown, Va. He wrote of that same arrival in a 1992 article in Ebony.
“No ship ever called at an American port with a more important cargo,” he said...
Why didn't Lemon know about this? We have no idea. That said, we can tell you this:
Along the way, it's been blindingly obvious that no one has ever cared about any of this. Our press corps cares about their careers. There has long been exactly zero sign that they care about anything else.
In his earlier days at CNN, Lemon hosted a weekend show. At that time, he tended to take the more conservative-ish position on various racial issues.
In recent years, a different attitude has gripped our highly performative press corps. Lemon's attitudes seem to have changed, perhaps for reasons which are fully sincere.
Then again, it's very important for people like Lemon to remain aligned with prevailing attitudes within the corporate/celebrity guild. People like Lemon are paid extremely well for the very poor work they perform. Their access to their swollen salaries is predicated upon their ability to adopt the attitudes which are currently in favor.
Lemon's changes have kept him on the air. He and Chris Cuomo treat their viewers like fools many evenings, saying how much they love one another. We the people are simply too gullible to suspect this for what it is.
One thing it is is very profitable, both for the network and for people like Lemon. Until recently, Lemon didn't know the first freaking thing about the history he's always cared about, but he may have known on which side his bread is buttered. In this piece, the Los Angeles Times reported his recent real estate sale:
FLEMMING (2/25/21): CNN anchor Don Lemon has sold his three-bedroom condo in New York’s Harlem neighborhood for $1.525 million—about $37,000 more than he paid for it in 2013.
The sale comes a few years after he picked up a place near the Hamptons, paying $3.1 million for a quaint cottage in Sag Harbor in 2016.
The condo is the smaller of his two properties, with three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms in just over 1,400 square feet. According to the listing, Lemon configured the space as an open-concept layout with two bedrooms during his stay.
For oodles of photos, click here.
The article didn't explain where Lemon is going to live in town at this point, or if he needs to live in town at all. Under pre-pandemic conditions, the quaint cottage in Sag Harbor would have been too far away. Does he possibly work from there now?
How much is Lemon paid by CNN? You aren't allowed to know that.
Presumably, corporate owners of our profit-based news orgs don't want you to know how much their stars get paid. Stating the obvious, they're paid what they're paid for message obedience. Very few people ever break the rules or walk away.
The ones who do are gone forever. The ones who obey get paid.
Today, we'll repeat a point we've made many times in the past. You simply can't run a middle-class democracy with a multimillionaire press corps.
When people get paid the way these people do, they (and their owners) aren't going to tell you jack squat about certain topics. Nor will they have the first f*cking clue about when the first captive Africans arrived on American shores, under American skies.
Lemon's By the Book interview could be seen as a bit embarrassing throughout. We'll point you to one more exchange:
NEW YORK TIMES: What book would you recommend for America’s current political moment?
LEMON: I don’t mean to be self-promoting but I’d have to say my book, “This Is the Fire.” That’s why I wrote it.
Lemon didn't mean to be self-promoting as he promoted his book. But then, every time we fly by his cable program of late he seems to be pimping that book. You will never get real news from people who function this way.
In fairness to Lemon, even more money was sloshing around in the good old days of MSNBC, when Chris Matthews and Tim Russert were buying "cottages" on Nantucket even pricier than Lemon's.
Those were the days when the whole NBC crew was working for Jack Welch and against the Clintons and Gore. Somewhat comically, their "cottages" weren't far from Jack's own manse on the pricey island.
The journalists who con Our Town's occasional gullibles never discuss such scams. Dearest darlings, use your heads! Within the celebrity press corps guild, such things simply aren't done! A journalist's career would come to an end the second he or she went there.
This is the way the game is played as our stupendously low-IQ nation continues to slide toward the sea. Also, the first captive Africans really did beat the Mayflower here.
That is now an established fact. By now, one of CNN's anchors has heard!
Viewership falling at CNN: Numbers are dropping all over cable. Paul Farhi reports this post-Trump slump in today's Washington Post.
Not bad, dear Bob, not bad. Please keep documenting the atrocities; we appreciate it.ReplyDelete
"This is the way the game is played as our stupendously low-IQ nation continues to slide toward the sea."
The nation is fine, dear Bob; liberal-hitlerian establishment is the problem. But don't worry, this too shall pass.
Unless, of course, when faced with losing power they'll opt for total destruction. But hey, that would mean more ice in Arctic, Demigod Algore would love it.
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"The nation is fine, dear Bob..."ReplyDelete
Agreed. Biden has really been terrific. Especially with the $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief bill, which benefited the bottom 80% earners over Establishment elites.
Don Lemon didn't know something, therefore Somerby feels empowered to conclude:ReplyDelete
"Along the way, it's been blindingly obvious that no one has ever cared about any of this. Our press corps cares about their careers. There has long been exactly zero sign that they care about anything else. "
The unfairness of this characterization, based on the knowledge of one guy, Don Lemon, who is somehow expected to know everything there is to know about the history of black people in America, should be obvious to all. No one appointed Don Lemon as resident scholar and no one expects him to know any of this, just as no one expects him to know the stats of the Harlem Globetrotters or any black NBA player, or the Negro Baseball League, or the real name of Bojangles or anything else, just by virtue of being black.
I'll bet Somerby doesn't know the date when the first Irish person set foot in America, or where it was. That means he doesn't care at all about anything except himself. He said so himself, that is what one must conclude from such ignorance about one's people.
What an asshole Somerby is.
"based on the knowledge of one guy, Don Lemon"Delete
Did you just start reading TDH today? You should check out the archives.
Who among us doesn't care about our careers?Delete
This only seems to be a fault when Rachel Maddow or Don Lemon does it.
Somerby has never established that because he dislikes one or another cable star, they are all rotten pieces of shit.
"In recent years, a different attitude has gripped our highly performative press corps. Lemon's attitudes seem to have changed, perhaps for reasons which are fully sincere."ReplyDelete
Seems to me you can't be both performative and sincere. People do change their attitudes over time. Why wouldn't Don Lemon?
Given that Somerby is unwilling to state that someone has told a lie, because he cannot know their mental state, why does he feel comfortable accusing Don Lemon of being performative when he cannot know Lemon's mental state either? Is it OK to make attributions about those you dislike, as Somerby obviously dislikes Don Lemon?
"The article didn't explain where Lemon is going to live in town at this point, or if he needs to live in town at all. "ReplyDelete
Why is this anyone's business?
Lemon's apartment was very modest in NYC terms. If he subsequently bought a Sag Harbor cottage, so what? This isn't the way the rich live. It is the way middle-income professionals live in NYC. A $37,000 increase isn't much in today's real estate terms.
These transactions don't scream "multimillionaire" the way Somerby wishes to pretend. I know computer programmers living in similar condos on the upper west side.
"Lemon didn't mean to be self-promoting as he promoted his book. But then, every time we fly by his cable program of late he seems to be pimping that book."ReplyDelete
Good Lord! A guy writes a book and he isn't allowed to promote it? Everyone else on the planet does this. Why isn't Don Lemon permitted to do so, without some creep like Somerby calling him names?
It probably isn't the best word-choice to say "pimping" about a black author. It reveals too much about Somerby's unconscious word-associations.Delete
Anonymouse 4:12pm, the article about Lemon’s apartment reports that he sold because he’s in the market for a larger place.Delete
It’s very heartening to see Lemon advance from the typical professional’s apartment in NYC and home in Sag Harbor.
Generally media members with their own weeknight show have to settle for three bedroom/two and a half baths in the city and a weekend country house.
It’s good to see that Lemon has broken the barrier and is headed for an upper middle class NYC existence.
As opposed, 4:13, to a nameless creep like you calling Somerby, a man whose blog you are unhealthily obsessed with, a creep?Delete
Don Lemon bought a cottage on Long Island (a large place) so he is just like Jack Welch!ReplyDelete
Is Somerby aware that Lemon is not Irish and thus cannot be part of the Irish Catholic media cartel he used to rant about a few decades ago?
Just because Somerby says "In fairness to Lemon..." a few times, he cannot disguise that he hates this guy. Today's rant has the flavor of someone complaining that all those uppity black guys are spending all their money on flashy clothes and cadillacs instead of staying in their place, like the good ones do. Apparently the Hamptons are off-limits to the likes of Don Lemon.
Somerby should be ashamed to write this stuff.
First Somerby complains about Blow, then about Lemon, along with several days denying racism as a motive in the killing of 6 Asian women by a man targeting Asian massage parlors.Delete
Were there no other cable stars to criticize, no other articles to talk about?
I'll be Somerby couldn't even spell racist if you gave him a set of refrigerator alphabet magnets but he sure knows how to behave like one.
Somerby has complained about two black media members in the space of one day.Delete
A hate crime for sure.
"That is now an established fact. By now, one of CNN's anchors has heard!"ReplyDelete
Being an anchor means you can read copy on TV. It doesn't mean you know anything in particular, much less everything.
Anonymouse 4:24, you can take that to the bank.Delete
I saw Broadcast News.Delete
Anonymouse 8:01pm, I wish Blogger was like Disqus and came with a “Like button” .Delete
From Amanda Marcotte (Salon):ReplyDelete
"The grim reality is that the entire nation is in the thrall to a minority of extremely insecure mostly white men who, drunk on decades of NRA-fueled propaganda, have decided that having the ability to commit mass murder at a moment's notice is a crucial component of maintaining their manhood against the ever-encroaching threats from de-gendered Potato Heads and lady video game players. Most of these men claim exoneration because they don't personally grab one of their many overpriced killing machines to lay waste to a grocery store or high school. Grotesquely, some even use these mass shootings to indulge in public fantasies about how they would totally stop an active shooter, though somehow they never seem to actually get around to doing it. But ultimately, they've become complacent in the face of mass murder from decades of being told by right-wing media that there's a binary choice between preventing murder and watching Michelle Obama personally run off with their testicles in her handbag. Worse, the right has cultivated an overall suspicion of the very concept of concern for the lives of others at all."
Gun obsessions, sexist and racist power trips are symptoms to a deeper illness in society called loneliness. Our society tells you to go to work then turn on the TV or yell on the internet. That's why there are non white shooters also. Whatever happened to fraternal groups, community groups, unions? Etc. Stabilizing social forces in society all got shut down by the feds for being suspected of being commie.Delete
People with mental illness are often isolated. Union membership or joining a book club are not the answers for them. Maybe not sell assault rifles to 21year olds.Delete
Never heard of a support group have you
Never heard of a support group for assault rifle owners, no. As far as there being non white mass shooters - a definition would be in order here. The widely publicized seemingly random event involving a guy with an assault rifle or let’s say a Timothy McVeigh type with explosives is almost invariably white. Inner city crimes with multiple victims certainly occur but are situationally different, often involving gang membership, certainly not a loneliness thing. The D.C. shooter from a car trunk a few years back was black but he was picking off people one by one over time and had a driver accomplice. Otherwise name a few black mass shooters showing up somewhere with assault rifles like this week’s news. I doubt they exist. Since we can’t get rid of the guns, extreme vigilance with regard to mental health is necessary, even at the public education level. Abrupt changes in behavior usually occurring in the late teens/early twenties may signal acute schizophrenia, and antisocial personalities are identifiable in grade school. When a family says the perpetrator had delusions that is worrisome for a potential of intervention. Of course we do not have details in this case yet.Delete
Incidentally, if black mass shooters with AR 15’s began showing up and reeking havoc in the Lilly white suburbs rest assured that there would be a different Republican response to those events. Not a better one, mind you, since they are beholden to the Russian- backed NRA, unless their larger pocket donors demanded such.Delete
Don Lemon’s published salary in 2020 was 4 million. Net worth 12 million. Clearly he needs to consult Somerby about where it is appropriate for him to buy real estate.ReplyDelete
Then again, his partner-a guy named Tim Malone with a net worth of 10 million- works in real estate for the Corcoran group, so maybe no need for the advice from Bob here.Delete
Clearly Somerby’s point is that this is not a position or an income level easily sacrificed.Delete
Whether you’re the new version of former- CNN-anchor-cum-Fox-reporter, John Roberts, or the former-Fox-cum-CNN-anchor, Alisyn Camerota, you do as you’re told.
Whether you’re the new version of former- CNN-anchor-cum-Fox-reporter, John Roberts, or the former-Fox-cum-CNN-anchor, Alisyn Camerota, you do as you’re told."
Thank you for blowing-up the phony "liberal media" meme.
You’ve had Somerby showing you the metamorphosis of MSNBC for years, bro.Delete
Not sure how I missed Bob's pieces on MSNBC ownership.Delete
I still can't find them in the Archives. Can you assist?
BTW, it's not just MSNBC, the entire mainstream media is owned by corporations.
It would be awesome if the Republican Party wasn't just a bunch of morons spouting hot air, because I would definitely support any politician who will enact and enforce a law that gives me veto power over corporate board decisions.
Try searching on Jack Welch.Delete
You’re not going to get a law giving you veto power over corporate board decisions.
What you do get is a vote for politicians of either party who put up a pretense of standing up against the globalist imperatives of these companies.
So Right-wing performative narratives are the best we can expect, Cece?Delete
Speaking of Right-wing performative narratives; thanks to these gun massacres, Republicans are furrowing their brows about mental health this week.Delete
Anonymouse 12:13pm, performative narratives, yes, and certainly no Chomsky.Delete
Corporate: hey Don, we know how unpalatable this chore is for you but we have this clip of an unarmed black guy running and being shot in the back by cops- you think you can muster up some indignation?Delete
Corporate: Hey Don, we know this is getting old but we have this clip of peaceful BLM protesters being gassed and manhandled so Trump can have a photo op. Please buddy....
Your nonsense that Don Lemon is a marionette and does not have indignation that ramped up during the Trump era is pure b.s. In Murdoch’s world they publicly announce their intentions to provide flack against Biden, and Murdoch’s own son has called them out on their bullshit and misinformation. So Don lemon gets called out for not knowing that African Americans predated Pilgrims on this soil. That’s rich. And as far as real estate is concerned, the rich tend to congregate. If that surprises you, that Powell chick (and her mouthpieces at Fox) has a rigged election to sell you. Somerby chooses his targets carefully and very discriminately, or else he would call out the worst perpetrators, if only rarely.Raising the obvious question of how he pays the rent. And as far as the entity called Cecelia is concerned, who knows whether his most ardent defender shares identical genetic material with this failed comic.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
“Lemon's attitudes [about racial issues] seem to have changed, perhaps for reasons which are fully sincere.”ReplyDelete
“it's very important for people like Lemon to remain aligned with prevailing attitudes within the corporate/celebrity guild.”
Somerby is apparently saying that Lemon’s current views on racial issues are aligned with prevailing attitudes within the corporate/celebrity guild. What are those views? That there is racism that ought to be reported? How exactly does that conflict with middle-class values? (“You simply can't run a middle-class democracy with a multimillionaire press corps.”)
Meanwhile, the prevailing attitude about racial matters over at Fox seems to be completely different, namely, that there is no racism. So, overall, the “guild” is presenting a mixed message, aren’t they, meaning there’s no unified message at all?
“Somerby is apparently saying that Lemon’s current views on racial issues are aligned with prevailing attitudes within the corporate/celebrity guild. What are those views? That there is racism that ought to be reported? How exactly does that conflict with middle-class values? (“You simply can't run a middle-class democracy with a multimillionaire press corps.”)”Delete
As usual, you've set up a strawman to knock down..
Here’s an article that celebrates (finesses) Lemon’s metamorphosis.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
“You simply can't run a middle-class democracy with a multimillionaire press corps.”ReplyDelete
The only journalists whose salary Somerby complains about are the “liberal” ones. That is akin to the (conservative) idea that liberals can’t be rich without being hypocrites.
Or, here, apparently Somerby means that millionaires can’t relate to the stresses and strains of ordinary middle-class Americans and will side with “their own.”
There may be some truth there, but I also think it’s a generalization.
FDR was quite wealthy, and he is still seen as a champion of the middle class.
Meanwhile, most of the founding fathers were wealthy. Washington was one of the wealthiest men in America.
Walter Cronkite made $1,000,000 per year.
One ought to judge a reporter by his or her work, and not simply assume that their wealth is an automatic disqualifier.
Besides, the majority of the rank and file reporters at the Times and the Post aren’t multimillionaires are they?
This not a new question from Bob.Delete
The rich are just the poor with more money.Delete
They aren't smarter, more moral, or better than poor people. And they shouldn't have any more say in how the country/ world work then someone with no wealth at all.
08:30 : Kevin Drum! Not THE Kevin Drum who is Bob Somerby’s favorite and most frequently referenced writer/blogger. You don’t say! What a remarkable coincidence. What are the chances that the entity known as Cecilia and Bob Somerby have ever been seen simultaneously in the same room? That might be impossible. Cecelia, you’re breaking my heart! That’s why you are so good at explaining Bob’s intentions and defending his positions. The one and only. I can even see how the non de plume of Cecelia would be quaintly appealing to Bob’s sensibilities. Bob, you can reclaim your Y chromosome now and put that thing to rest. Fess up.Delete
That’s nom de plume.Delete
Somerby has been bitching for many years, possibly even decades about Maddow's salary. And now Lemon's, saying "we aren't allowed to know their salaries". In fact, it's easy to find out, roughly.ReplyDelete
Notable that TDH doesn't complain about right wing media folks like Carlson, Hannity and Limbaugh, who make far more.
But then why should he ? Somerby is hard core malevolent Trumptard. a worshipper and defender of Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Ron Johnson, Zimmerman and Turner
'When people get paid the way these people do, they (and their owners) aren't going to tell you jack squat about certain topics. Nor will they have the first f*cking clue about when the first captive Africans arrived on American shores, under American skies.'ReplyDelete
Given that Somerby has no clue about anything except attacking liberals and worshipping Trump, and makes mistakes and lies all the time, it's naturally hypocritical of him.
And there are lots of journalists, including interns who are paid far less. Somerby attacks them viciously too. Somerby is a hard core malevolent, jealous Trumptard dedicated to attacking liberals. His only redeeming feature is that he's so obviously a Trumptard that only morons believe that he's a liberal.
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