Don Lemon, who hosts a news show on CNN, may have thought he had a win-win strategy when he asked Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke this question following the murder in Baton Rouge of three police officers:
I spoke to the heads of the sheriff department, the police department, and the state police down there and they told us how their hearts were reeling. Their message is peace and how they’re coming together in the country. What’s your message?
Either Clarke would have to echo this pap or come out against “peace” and “coming together.” Instead, Clarke responded: “You don’t believe that for one minute, do you?” Clarke then proceeded to destroy Lemon’s attempt to reduce the lessons of Dallas and Baton Rouge to mush:
Lemon: Yeah, I believe them. I was over there. . .
Clarke: Any protests over the deaths of these cops today in Baton Rogue?
Lemon: I don’t know that. I don’t know that.
Clarke: Any riots or protests over the police officers in Dallas, Texas?
Lemon: What are you asking?
Clarke: It’s a pretty simple question.
Lemon: I asked you if what your message to the people — their message is one of peace. What is your message?
Clarke: My message has been clear from day one, two years ago. This anti-cop sentiment from this hateful ideology called Black Lives Matter has fueled this rage against the American police officer. I predicted this two years ago. So what I want to know –
Lemon: With all due respect, Sheriff, do you know that this was because of that? As a law enforcement officer?
Clarke: Yes. I do. I’ve been watching this for two years. I predicted this. This anti-police rhetoric sweeping the country has turned out some hateful things inside of people that are now playing themselves out on the American police officer.
I want to know, with all of the black-on-black violence going on in the United States of America — by the way, when the tragedies happen in Louisiana and Minnesota, did you know that 21 black people were murdered across the United States? Was there any reporting on it? Was there any reporting on it?
Lemon tried to halt the rout, but Clarke was not having it.
Lemon: Sheriff, please, let’s just keep the volume down. So, I understand. . .
Clarke: I’m looking at three dead cops this week and I’m looking at five last week, and you’re trying to tell me to keep it down?
As the video below shows, Clarke did not shout. Lemon was simply trying to bob-and-weave.
Lemon encouraged Clarke to preach a “message of civility.” Clarke responded: “Don, I wish you had that message of civility toward this hateful ideology, these purveyors of hate. That’s what they do.”
Lemon broke to a commercial, after which he suggested that Clarke could leave the set. In the ensuing debate, Lemon continually cut the sheriff off and several times made faces during his comments.
Unfazed, Clarke continued with his denunciation of the “whole phony movement” of Black Lives Matter. He noted that the movement was built on a lie — the discredited “hands up, don’t shoot” line falsely attributed to Michael Brown. Lemon admitted that the line was false, but asked, feebly, “what does Michael Brown have to do with Baton Rouge, Louisiana?”
Lemon must not have been listening to his own interview. The false narrative that reached a crescendo with the phony claims about Ferguson is what Clarke argues has fueled cop killings like the ones in Baton Rouge.
Asked whether he condemns the Black Lives Matter narrative, Lemon responded that he’s just reporter and thus it’s not his job to condemn. However, Lemon was more than willing, citing President Obama, to condemn the American police departments for (allegedly) treating blacks unfairly.
Sheriff Clarke told Lemon he condemns Black Lives Matter
just like I condemn the hateful ideology of groups like the KKK. All right? I condemn it. There is no place in American discourse for that sort of vile, vitriolic hate coming out of this ideology.
This has fueled and fanned the flames towards the American police officers. There’s only one group in America, one, Don, that truly cares about the lives of black people in these urban ghettos. And it’s the American police officer who goes out there on a daily basis, put their life on the line to protect — who? Black people.
So when you say we just want to have a conversation, let’s have a conversation on the black-on-black crime, which kills more black males, which is more of a threat to any black male in the United States than a law enforcement officer.
The mainstream media doesn’t want that conversation, as Lemon repeatedly demonstrated by refusing to discuss the matter with Clarke. Better to adopt President Obama’s approach — attack the police and then, when the sh*t hits the fan, call for peace, love, and understanding.
It’s a sensible debate strategy. Just don’t try it on Sheriff David Clarke.
You can watch the whole interview below:
NOTE: I have modified the back end of this post since it originally went up.