CNN pundit Don Lemon questioned White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre this week on if President Biden is capable of running for re-election.
“Does the president have the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think to continue on even after 2024?” Lemon asked on Monday.
DON LEMON: "Does the president has the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think to continue on even after 2024?"
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: "That is not a question that we should be even asking" pic.twitter.com/dUfQil9qKp
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 14, 2022
Lemon questioning Biden’s abilities to run in 2024 is out of character for someone long devoted to providing softball questions to Democratic administrations.
So is Biden so bad at his job that he lost the support of Don Lemon?
Perhaps, but there’s more to this. Lemon is playing a journalist on television to show new management he belongs.
Last week, Axios reported that new CNN President Chris Licht is evaluating each partisan pundit and will consider firing those who cannot pivot to a news-first edict.
“Licht wants to give personalities that may appear polarizing a chance to prove they’re willing to uphold the network’s values so that they don’t tarnish CNN’s journalism brand,” Axios writes.
The report didn’t name names, but it’s not hard to deduce who fits in the hyper-partisan category at CNN.
The other partisans at CNN have yet to adjust. Jim Acosta, Oliver Darcy and Brianna Keilar have continued to carry on the fight in the name of Jeff Zucker.
So give Lemon credit for trying.
However, I remain skeptical that Lemon can consistently act like a journalist. He has spoken in tiresome cliches to fire up the progressive base for his entire career. He’s a propagandist by trade.
And even if Lemon can pivot, his ratings remain a concern for the network. Right now, more people are watching reruns of Friends at 10 am than Don Lemon Tonight in primetime.
Cable News Rankings Mon Jun 13
— RoadMN 📈 (@RoadMN) June 14, 2022
If you didn’t find Lemon’s ratings, look deep into the second page. They are there, we promise.
Ultimately, Lemon has the summer to make his appeal to new management. Licht says he will name a new 9 pm primetime host by the fall, a position for which Lemon is aiming.
Licht wants to put his stamp on CNN’s credibility ahead of the 2022 midterm elections by deciding which left-wing talkers to keep on the air. It is hard to imagine a quest for credibility could include Lemon, but Licht will decide.
The good news for Lemon is that Joe Biden is making it easier to criticize a Democrat…