Now that the verdict has been returned in the Jussie Smollett case, it’s important that America address some of the root causes of the case.
In the Smollett case, elitist racism, combined with media-star arrogance, to help aid and abet CNN host Don Lemon’s alleged aiding and abetting of Smollett’s false police report early in the investigation according to reports from the court.
“Critics are angered and some are even requesting that CNN cut ties with its longtime employee Don Lemon after the award-winning broadcast journalist failed to make public his connection to actor Jussie Smollett while reporting on his alleged hate crime attack,” according to BET.
Even worse are allegations that Lemon actively helped Smollett by allegedly “tipping off” the former Empire star about what was happening in the police investigation into the case.
While not illegal, it shows that CNN big-money stars, like Lemon and recently-terminated CNN host Chris Cuomo, have no trouble crossing over from their role as journalists, into active participants, into ongoing sensitive stories with national implications.
These are stories that they then can peddle for profit and virtue as “insiders” who know things that the public doesn’t know and things they won’t disclose to the public unless it’s in some wholly self-serving co-authored memoir.
More worrisome is the concern that Lemon and Cuomo have been using their broad investigative resources provided by CNN as a means to pick winners and losers in cases, especially cases with personal consequences.
If true of Lemon, as it seemed to be for Cuomo, can this be for the good of journalism? Can this be good for America? Can this be good for CNN?
The answer to all three questions is no.
It’s impossible to say with certainty what exactly happened between Lemon and Smollett, so the CNN host at this point should be presumed innocent.
But it is incumbent upon CNN to at least remove host Lemon from his current position and appoint an outside, credible, independent group that can get to the bottom of the rights and wrongs in this case — as well as the Cuomo case — as soon as possible.
And if he’s guilty of wrongdoing, Lemon needs to be fired.
For years Americans have seethed over perceived bias by the media and that distrust has damaged journalism in unprecedented ways, including a decline in revenue, and the need for that last refuge of sycophantic, dysfunctional businesses in America, federal bailouts.
Gallup reported in October that 64% Americans have little or no trust in journalist, the second lowest mark since just before Donald Trump rocked the press by getting elected president of United States, despite press insistence that Trump had no chance of winning.
But cases like Lemon’s and Cuomo’s are cases that are beyond political bias.
They are abuses of power that are impeachable and fireable offenses by any other type of employer outside the CNN cocoon.
Americans shouldn’t have to wait for charges of sexual misconduct to be levied against Lemon, as they eventually were against Cuomo, to get CNN to act.
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