- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 1, 2019

CNN’s Don Lemon blasted The New York Times this week for the “shortsighted” stance that its reporters should avoid appearances on highly partisan cables news shows.

The man who once said he has an “obligation” to call President Trump a racist or, at the very least, “racist-adjacent,” lamented reports that Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet wants a clearer line of separation between straight-news reporting and partisan punditry.

“We have always had a rule saying reporters should be wary of going on very clearly opinionated shows,” Mr. Baquet told The Daily Beast on Friday. “It’s the most sharply opinionated shows that give me pause. I’m not sure which shows we will avoid.”

The editor’s comments came in response to a piece by Vanity Fair, which claimed reporters are discouraged from appearing on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell,” along with “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.”

“I do not get the sense that they are banning reporters from my show. But, I don’t work for the Times so I can’t be sure,” Mr. Lemon told the Daily Beast via email. “It would be extremely shortsighted if they are when journalism is under attack. We should support each other. Period.”

Mr. Lemon is not likely to see eye-to-eye with Mr. Baquet anytime soon. The CNN host told Variety’s Entertainment & Technology NYC Summit in May 2018 that objective analysis of the White House should lead reporters “to nothing else but this president being racist.”

“He’s certainly racist-adjacent,” Mr. Lemon, the keynote speaker, added. “If you have the evidence that shows you, that leads you to nothing else but this president being racist, then I feel it’s my obligation as a journalist to say it. On [Jan. 11 when] I said it, and I don’t regret saying it. I believe that to be true.”

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