CNN host Don Lemon defended network rival Tucker Carlson after a video went viral of the Fox News host being confronted and insulted by a man in Montana earlier this week while with his daughter in a bait-and-tackle shop.
In introducing the segment, Lemon referred to Carlson as Fox’s “propaganda host” while stating that he never imagined he would be in a position to possibly defend his rival before playing a clip of the confrontation.
“It’s not every day you get to tell someone they are the worst person in the world and really mean it! What an a**hole! This man has killed more people with vaccine misinformation, he has supported extreme racism, he is a fascist and does more to rip this country apart than anyone that calls themselves an American,” the aggressor, Dan Bailey, wrote on social media when posting his video.
In the clip, Bailey tells Carlson he’s “the worst human being known to man.”
“What you have done to this state, to the United States, to everyone else in this world. What you have done to families, what you have done to everybody else in this world. I don’t care that your daughter is here,” he added.
Lemon blasted Bailey for confronting Carlson like that, adding that he had no right to get into Carlson’s “personal space.”
“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 as he brought in contributors Ana Navarro and Scott Jennings.
“I have mixed emotions because Tucker has done this to people before,” he went on. “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.”
“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?” Lemon went on before throwing it to Navarro, who defended Bailey.
After saying she thought that Bailey was acting in a polite manner and was not “aggressive,” Navarro said “he expressed his opinion in the same way that Tucker Carlson expresses his opinion” — though the Fox News host does so on his show, not by confronting people. She also said similar incidents have happened to her, recounting a recent one in Coconut Grove, Fla.
“But I don’t think that should happen to you, Ana. I don’t think that should happen to [CNN host] Chris [Cuomo]. I don’t think it should happen to me,” Lemon pushed back.
“Deal with it,” she added, noting that Carlson should understand that Americans have a First Amendment right to speak out.
“Your First Amendment right doesn’t mean invading my personal space, I’m sorry, Ana, I understand what you’re saying and I get it,” Lemon pushed back again.
“I think that what Tucker says much, much of the time is completely reprehensible and divorced from reality, but he has a right to be in a space and not be accosted and not be ambushed by anyone,” Lemon continued.
“People yell all the time at me,” he went on, citing an incident in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he said that “there were Trump supporters out there yelling across whatever.”
“They weren’t in my face. So if you want to stand across the street, fine,” said Lemon.
Jennings agreed with Lemon and disagreed with Navarro, saying he was “very uncomfortable” when he watched the video of the confrontation, describing Bailey as “aggressive.” He also noted that Carlson’s daughter was on hand, it appeared to be a small shop, and that Bailey “moved with” Carlson when the Fox News host attempted to retreat. He also said that he fears that excusing Bailey’s behavior invites more confrontation and that in the future if such incidents continue to happen, a cable news personality may eventually be physically attacked.
As for Lemon, he went on to describe how he tries to diffuse such situations.
“My response is always, ‘Thank you, thank you for watching. I’m so glad. Thank you so much, I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you,’ even if they say the worst things about me, because I really just want to defuse it and I want them to go away,” he added.
“I know people have a right, I’m on TV. I get my point of view and I say my take all the time. And so I understand it is going to happen, but do I like it? No.”
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