CNN anchor Don Lemon, who has been outspoken on the issues confronting black Americans, particularly since the verdict of the Zimmerman trial, surprised some viewers this weekend by endorsing Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly’s recent commentary on black culture — and saying the commentary “doesn’t go far enough.”
On Saturday, Lemon said it was time for some “tough love on the subject,” building off of O’Reilly’s statistical breakdown of the issues facing blacks in the U.S. The host laid out five recommendations for African Americans, and others, to better themselves and their community: Pull up your pants; don’t use the n-word; respect one’s environment by not littering; finish high school; and don’t have children out of wedlock.
Later in the hour, Michael Skolnik, editor-in-chief of the pop-culture website Global Grind, didn’t take too kindly to Lemon’s previous segment. “Your comments sound like a conservative preacher on a Sunday,” Skolnik said. “Certainly Bill O’Reilly should welcome you on his show.”
Skolnik went on to argue the War on Drugs had “destroyed the black community,” while conservative radio host Larry Elder took Lemon’s side and argued that Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty was the real source of the black community’s issues.
Lemon got plenty of backlash from liberals for his comments — MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor labeled him a “turncoat mofo.” On Sunday, Lemon discussed the reaction to his comments with ESPN’s LZ Granderson and Republican Ana Navarro, who largely agreed with him.