And, as on Fox, the “us” and the “them” on CNN are alarmingly narrow in scope. 63 million Americans voted for Donald Trump. Are they all slack-jawed yokels motivated by hostility to geography, and facts? Do they all — or even most — have strong Southern accents? And, irrespective, is a Southern accent a predictor of stupidity? Many of my neighbors have strong southern accents. One of them is a surgeon. Whither nuance?
This particular clip has landed with such a bump because it also serves as an example of how inaccurately mediocrities tend to see themselves. Rick Wilson’s joke was second-rate and obviously pre-written, and yet Don Lemon reacted as if Wilson was Dave Chappelle — even going so far as to say he “needed” it. This behavior is learned. Since Donald Trump was elected, a certain set of political “strategists” — many of whom aren’t actually strategists, Ana Navarro — have come to see CNN as a clearing house for their bad one-liners, each sitting at home preparing zingers that they hope, once delivered, will go viral. This one has gone viral, of course, but for the opposite reason than its architects hoped: Because it is pathetic.