Credit where due — give one cheer for CNN’s Don Lemon and perhaps all three to Scott Jennings for recognizing the dangers of escalating harassment. Lemon uses this segment to bash Tucker Carlson so often at first it almost feels like it’s a Trojan horse for only that purpose. However, Lemon eventually focuses, gets the key issue correct, and even digs in his heels a bit on the point.
Ana Navarro, on the other hand …
The liberal Lemon offered his surprising take during his CNN program “Don Lemon Tonight” Monday evening, when he devoted an entire segment to addressing the weekend encounter, which he said put him in a position “to maybe somehow have to defend Tucker Carlson.”
“Let me tell you this: I don’t like it. I don’t like it when people do that because I would not want it to happen to me,” Lemon began after showing a snippet of the video, going on to caution, “I have mixed emotions because Tucker has done this to people before. Tucker said some really nasty and silly things about me, and the next day there’s paparazzi in front of my house, hiding, taking pictures.”
Lemon continued: “We’re all on TV, we’ve been approached. We hear good things, we hear bad things from people. We don’t even know who they are, it’s part of the gig. Don’t you think this went a little too far, though?”
Navarro definitely thinks Carlson had it coming:
CNN commentator Ana Navarro then defended the man who accosted Carlson, identified as Dan Bailey, saying she had been through similar experiences and that the Fox personality should be understanding given his sometimes heated rhetoric.
“Deal with it,” she suggested, noting these individuals’ First Amendment right to approach them.
As Lemon notes in his response, it’s not a First Amendment issue when someone invades your “personal space,” especially at some random place outside of the commentary. Had Carlson been opining in the store, then the confrontation would not have been harassment — it would have been a legit debate. It’s even more concerning when it’s clearly a set-up to get clicks, because the inevitable attention only incentivizes more of the same, or worse.
Jennings, however, offers a thinly veiled rebuke to Navarro in pointing this out in the clearest fashion. Not only does Jennings call it an “ambush,” he also points out that Carlson was clearly trying to avoid the confrontation while Bailey was clearly trying to escalate it. To shrug it off or tell Carlson to “put on his big boy pants” — as Navarro had just done — “is to condone it,” Jennings declares.
That’s exactly correct. It’s as true for Carlson as it is for people baiting Chris Cuomo for social-media attention, too. These kinds of stunts will escalate at some point into physical injury or worse, and the people shrugging these off as necessitating big-boy pants will likely have very little to say when it does. Lemon deserves at least some kudos for airing this out on a competing network, perhaps especially given his personal dislike of Carlson.