Don Lemon and Tucker Carlson: Cable news veterans get canned

CNN announced on Monday, April 24, 2023 that the network had parted ways with longtime anchor Don Lemon. (Credit: Screenshot - YouTube/CNN)
CNN announced on Monday, April 24, 2023 that the network had parted ways with longtime anchor Don Lemon. (Credit: Screenshot – YouTube/CNN)

Fate has a way of showing up when you least expect it. That’s what two prominent cable news anchors learned today after Don Lemon (and Grifter Carlson) were cut today from CNN and Fox News, respectively.

CNN announced today it had parted ways with Don Lemon amid another controversy involving Lemon. Why Lemon was let go is not clear, but the 17-year CNN mainstay took to Twitter this morning, saying:

In a statement released this morning, CNN CEO Chris Licht said the network wished Lemon well with his future endeavors and that Lemon would always be a part of the CNN family.

There has been no official word yet on why CNN parted ways with Lemon.

News of Lemon’s release today has been met with polarizing responses. Lemon has many fans in the Black community that support him, but many advocates for women, who had been calling for Lemon’s firing, were pleased with the announcement.

"Tucker Carlson" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
“Tucker Carlson” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tucker Carlson’s release from Fox News, however, is being met with a lot more celebration. Carlson has been the poster child for spreading White nationalist conspiracy theories, including the “Great Replacement Theory.” Following the information that came to light amid the damning Dominion v Fox News lawsuit — all of the propaganda peddled at Fox News surrounding Donald Trump’s election fraud claims — and the announcement last week that Don Bongino would not renew his contract with Fox News, it may be no surprise a shakeup is under way.

Returning to Lemon’s dismissal, it’s worth nothing last week CNN announced it entered into agreements with broadcast heavy-hitter Gayle King and sports legend Charles Barkley, who will reportedly host a new CNN show (aptly?) named “King Charles.” (We hate it already.) The weekly show is reportedly going to sidestep politics, which sounds like a strange fit for a cable news network like CNN, which leans toward political fodder in its regular programming.

Lemon’s release and the pending “King Charles” debut are odd timing (let’s put it that way) considering CNN just today ousted one of it’s most recognized faces, and arguably the network’s most noticeable Black anchor.

Lemon’s firing also comes a few months after Tiffany Cross — who retained a highly-rated weekend series “The Cross Connection” on MSNBC,  albeit short-lived — suddenly disappeared from the other Fox News rival in November. Cross’s exit from MSNBC and the circumstances surrounding it are probably much different from Lemon but her absence left many Black viewers annoyed with MSNBC. Why MSNBC parted ways with Cross is still not known.

Has anyone forgotten what MSNBC did to Melissa Harris-Perry’s show in 2016?

Now, people are, of course, predicting a mass exodus of Black viewers after news about Lemon’s firing today. It should be said that Gayle King, the fabulous journalist she is, is not Don Lemon. It’s hard to imagine Lemon’s diehard followers are going to shift to “King Charles” when it finally airs. This should not to be interpreted as praise or admiration for Lemon who has a history of not choosing his words wisely when the camera is on. Likewise, it’s not a criticism or derision of Lemon. Tons of Black viewers see something in Lemon, and Lemon was a valuable anchor to CNN.

Whether Don Lemon’s miffed fans tune out of CNN remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t hurt if Black viewers migrate to more Black news media sources, not just the predominately White, corporate-owned stations with a few faces of color.

There is more to this story, and we will follow it.

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