CNN anchor Don Lemon bid farewell to his nightly audience on Friday evening during his last CNN primetime broadcast.
It marks the end of a CNN era filled with the host’s sensational, out-of-context, and flat-out untrue statements, sometimes uttered to attack conservatives or advance a liberal agenda.
During his final show, Lemon aired highlights of his nearly-decade long primetime run. He noted the challenges that came with the job, some of which he admitted he did not rise to meet as well as he could.
“I was not always perfect, because no one is perfect. There are immense pressures that come with this job and in particular this time slot at, 10:00 o’clock, when people are going to bed,” he said.
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The liberal host has spent years on the primetime slot bashing conservative lawmakers, Republican voters, Trump supporters, coronavirus vaccine shirkers and climate change skeptics as conspiracy-peddlers and purveyors of misinformation.
Despite trying to appear as a proponent of truth and journalistic integrity, the anchor has contributed his own fair share of questionable information to the air waves.
Here are five times Lemon was caught spreading misinformation of his own.
Lemon ‘lied’ about Joe Rogan using ‘horse dewormer’ to treat COVID-19
Last fall, the anchor embroiled himself and his network in controversy after claiming that podcast host Joe Rogan was taking a horse “deworming drug” to treat his case of COVID-19.
Rogan, who had mentioned on his podcast that he was taking Ivermectin for his bout with the virus, was accused by Lemon on air of taking a “horse dewormer,” as it has been used to treat horses dealing with parasites. During a guest panel on his show, Lemon claimed Rogan “took the deworming drug Ivermectin that’s been touted by fringe right-wing groups.”
CNN chyrons during Lemon’s coverage of the subject also claimed, “Joe Rogan announces he has COVID, is taking horse dewormer Ivermectin,” and “Joe Rogan, controversial podcast host, says he has COVID, taking unproven de-worming drug.”
It was clear Lemon’s point was to smear Rogan as a “fringe right-wing” figure, though even CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta was forced to admit that Ivermectin has human applications – though unproven for COVID treatment – and that CNN was not honest about Rogan.
Speaking to him on his podcast, Rogan asked Gupta, “Does it bother you that the network you work for out and out lied, just outright lied about me taking horse dewormer?” He responded, “They shouldn’t have said that.”
Substack journalist Glenn Greenwald torched Lemon and CNN for the incident at the time, tweeting, “They told viewers he took horse dewormer: a 100% lie. He took the human version of ivermectin prescribed by his medical doctor. But as I said, lying is not frowned upon at CNN: it’s encouraged.”
Lemon tried and failed to get British Royal Family commentator to admit U.K. owes indigenous people reparations
During CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” coverage in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September, Lemon was stunned into silence by British Royals expert Hilary Fordwich after she pushed back on his narrative that the British crown owes descendants of the people it colonized reparations.
Lemon addressed Fordwich, saying, “you have those who are asking for reparations for colonialism, and they’re wondering, you know, ‘$100 billion, $24 billion here and there, $500 million there.’” He added, “Some people want to be paid back and members of the public are wondering, ‘Why are we suffering when you are, you have all this vast wealth?’ Those are legitimate concerns.”
Though Fordwich wasn’t buying the narrative. She turned it back on Lemon, saying there are plenty of Africans who sold their own people into slavery that owe descendants reparations, if paying reparations becomes a policy. She said, “Well I think you’re right about reparations in terms of – if people want it though, what they need to do is, you always need to go back to the beginning of the supply chain. Where was the beginning of the supply chain?”
She continued, “That was in Africa. Across the entire world, when slavery was taking place, which was the first nation in the world that abolished slavery?” It was “the British,” Fordwich said, adding, “In Great Britain they abolished slavery. 2,000 naval men died on the high seas trying to stop slavery. Why? Because the African kings were rounding up their own people. They had them [in] cages, waiting in the beaches.”
Summing it up, Fordwich said, “I think you’re totally right. If reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, ‘Who was rounding up their own people and having them handcuffed in cages. Absolutely, that’s where they should start.”
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National Hurricane Center director throws cold water on Lemon’s claim that Hurricane Ian’s size is due to climate change
Last month, Jamie Rhome, the acting director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center, refuted Lemon’s insistence that the intensity and large size of Hurricane Ian was caused by climate change.
At the time, the Florida-bound hurricane had been intensifying to near Category 5 levels. The anchor spoke to Rhome about the “period of rapid intensification” and specifically asked if “climate change” was causing this.
Though Rhome was not interested in pinning the phenomena on climate change. He told Lemon, “We can come back and talk about climate change at a later time. I want to focus on the here and now. We think the rapid intensification is probably almost done. There could be a little bit more intensification as it’s still over the warm waters of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, but I don’t think we’re going to get any more rapid intensification.”
Though Lemon was undeterred. He said, “Listen, I’m just trying to get, you said you want to talk about climate change. But what effect does climate change have on this phenomenon that is happening now? Because it seems these storms are intensifying. That’s the question.”
Rhome dismissed the climate change idea in regard to Ian, saying, “I don’t think you can link climate change to any one event. On the whole, on the cumulative, climate change may be making storms worse. But to link it to any one event, I would caution against that.”
Still Lemon would not dispose with the climate change angle. He asked whether the populated and developed areas on Florida’s coastline were contributing to bigger storms. “Florida’s coastline has been massively developed. Is this impending storm a warning about that, given the strength of the storms that we are now seeing, as I said before, much bigger in intensity than in my 50-something years on this earth growing up on the Gulf Coast?”
Don Lemon blasted for claiming Biden ‘lying’ about Georgia voting law was just him ‘misspeaking’
The CNN anchor was slammed last year for claiming that President Joe Biden misspoke when he made false statements that a major Georgia voting law ends voting on election day hours earlier than before.
Though the Washington Post gave Biden’s claims “four Pinocchios” – its rating for the most egregious misinformation – and CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale admitted Biden wasn’t being truthful, Lemon insisted that Biden had accidentally said the wrong thing and that conservatives were making a big deal of the remark.
Dale explained Biden’s error, writing, “First, the new law does not change Georgia’s Election Day voting hours, which still end at 7 p.m. Second, while the law does set a default end time of 5 p.m. for early voting on weekdays and on Saturdays, counties were already allowed to end early voting at 5 p.m. under the previous law. The new law gives counties the option to offer early voting as late as 7 p.m. if they want to.”
While covering the story on his show however, Lemon defended Biden’s patently false assertions. He stated, “Get this, Republicans have a new talking point, trying to turn Trump’s big lie onto Joe Biden, saying Joe Biden is lying about what’s in Georgia’s new voting law that restricts ballot access.”
A corresponding chyron stated, “New GOP talking point: Trying to turn Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ on to Biden for misspeaking about Georgia’s voting law.”
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On air, Lemon wonders if Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared into ‘black hole’ in Indian Ocean
Near the beginning of his primetime CNN career, Lemon may have uttered his most fantastical and devoid-of-facts claim ever. In 2014, the anchor wondered on air if the infamous disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 happened because of a “black hole” in the Indian Ocean.
During a CNN panel in March 2014, Lemon earnestly asked his guests whether it was “preposterous” that a black hole could have absorbed the commercial aircraft. The segment even featured a chyron stating, “The theory of black holes.”
During the bit, Lemon read from a series of tweets theorizing that a “black hole” could have swallowed the plane. One user, clearly fascinated with the prospect, tweeted, “Just like in the move LOST?” Lemon read that tweet and then addressed Mary Schiavo, the former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation, asking, “Is it preposterous, you think, Mary?”
Schiavo debunked the theory in a split second, responding, “A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it’s not that.”
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