CNN's Don Lemon Plays Softball With Discharged Homosexual Soldier

Don Lemon, CNN Anchor; Lt. Dan Choi, U.S. Army (retired); & Michaelangelo Signorile, Homosexual Activist | NewsBusters.orgOn Sunday's Newsroom, CNN's Don Lemon tossed softball questions at homosexual activist Dan Choi, who was discharged earlier in July from the U.S. Army under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Lemon asked Choi, "Was it worth the prize for speaking out?" The anchor also brought on Michelangelo Signorile, another homosexual activist, without bringing on anyone from the opposing side of the issue.

Lemon brought on Choi and Signorile for a panel discussion on the "don't ask, don't tell" issue, which could be repealed later this year if the U.S. Senate take up the proposed "compromise" legislation. The CNN anchor devoted most of his attention on Choi's recent honorable discharge, and first asked him his "prize" question." After the retired Army lieutenant gave his initial reply, Lemon followed up with another softball question concerning the legislation itself: "The House has voted to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,' and the Senate could do the same before the end of the year. If it is repealed, can you re-enlist? Would you be able to go back in as a lieutenant, or it's a done deal now?"

Before getting to his other guest, the anchor tossed a "what if" question at Choi: "I want to ask you this, Dan, because if it happens by the end of the year, if you could go back and do it, would you have waited until the end of this year when it was a possibility, or would you have done it when you did it?"

Signorile received only one question from Lemon: "Michael- because we want to look beyond the military- obviously, very important, but how is Lieutenant Choi's discharge resonating in the country, especially in the gay community, if you can gauge that?"

The anchor got in one final softball question to Choi before ending the segment: "Dan, I have to ask you this: what's next for you? Are you going to keep fighting? What are you going to do now?"

Lemon didn't bother to book any supporters of "don't ask, don't tell" for the segment, nor did he even bring up any of their arguments during the segment. This isn't at all surprising, given all the recent segments on CNN which have been supportive of the homosexual agenda, most prominently, their slanted documentary, "Gary and Tony Have a Baby." The anchor himself interviewed the two subjects of their propagandistic documentary on June 20.

The full transcript of anchor Don Lemon's segment with Dan Choi and Michelangelo Signorile, which began 19 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour of Sunday's Newsroom:

LEMON: He's a West Point grad, an Arabic speaking linguist, and an Iraq war veteran with 11 years in the service, but Dan Choi is also openly gay, famously outing himself on national TV more than a year ago. And this past week, he learned his military career is over because of it. He was honorably discharged under ‘don't ask, don't tell.’

And the former Army National Guard lieutenant joins us now live along, with Michelangelo Signorile, an openly-gay author and activist. Good to see both of you. Dan, you knew this was coming. Was it worth the prize for speaking out?

DAN CHOI: Don, it's really painful. As much as you can prepare yourself for the ultimate paperwork that I got, saying that I'm fired- terminating my entire service, it still hurts. But when I look at the reason why I started in the service- why I rose my right hand and stood up to fight and wear the uniform, I remembered that I did it because you have to serve other people, and I hope that if anybody hears the message that- whenever you tell the truth and whenever you say the chains of shame and self-hate can be broken just by standing up- if anybody hears that today, I would tell them, of course, it is worth it. You can have consequences. Mike and I and so many people know that sometimes it hurts, but to do the right thing- that's what makes us Americans.

DON: So, listen, Dan, I want to ask you this before I get to Michael. The House has voted to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,' and the Senate could do the same before the end of the year. If it is repealed, can you re-enlist? Would you be able to go back in as a lieutenant, or it's a done deal now?

CHOI: The legislation is not specific about that, but, as for me, my plan is to continue to serve. With or without the uniform, I have an oath to protect the Constitution. I don't intend to stay silent as long as there's discrimination going on. But if the law does change, of course, there's no reason why I shouldn't want to go back or why I'd be afraid to go back. I've been serving openly for 17 months as an infantry officer.

LEMON: I want to ask you this, Dan, because if it happens by the end of the year, if you could go back and do it, would you have waited until the end of this year when it was a possibility, or would you have done it when you did it?

CHOI: Well, the timelines of anybody's actions should not be based on consequences or benefits to anybody. You don't go and join the military in order to make money or to get a pension or to have a high status or a rank. And I tell you one thing about honor, one thing about dignity: it's not dependent on what's written on a document. That comes from standing up and being truthful to who you are.

LEMON: Okay. I want to get Michael in here. Michael- because we want to look beyond the military- obviously, very important, but how is Lieutenant Choi's discharge resonating in the country, especially in the gay community, if you can gauge that?

MICHELANGELO SIGNORILE: Well, I want to first say, what Dan did was so important, in terms of even getting the bit of movement we have gotten on 'don't ask, don't tell' repealed- this so-called compromise, which is very unclear. We don't know when there will be a date. We don't know when there will be the end to the discharges. But that movement that took place took place because Dan stood up and spoke out, and the administration did not want to move. They were pushed to move by Dan and others who were pushing on this issue. His discharge yesterday underscores the fact that after all of the discussion in Congress, after the Senate Armed Services Committee had moved to put the 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal compromise in the Defense Authorization Bill, we have discharges still happening, people's lives still being affected, careers destroyed, and no date set, and the- you-

LEMON: But are people- do people feel hopeful, though, Michael, or are they saying- are they more concentrating on what they feel has been the wrong- what Dan has gone through?

SIGNORILE: Well, people would be hopeful if we had some real leadership from the White House, from the administration, from Congress, and certainly, from the Pentagon. Instead, we've really gotten mixed messages. Right now, the Pentagon is serving troops about whether or not they want to serve openly with gays and lesbians. The survey is homophobic, the questions are leading, everybody is wondering why are they asking the troops, what if it comes back- with enormous opposition to doing this. The survey is not secure, anyone can take it. People are worried that we're really not going to see repeal, that the forces against this in the Pentagon and elsewhere are just lining up to keep this policy in place, or to even segregate gay and lesbians troops from other troops.

LEMON: Yeah, that has been a big issue. Dan, I have to ask you this: what's next for you? Are you going to keep fighting? What are you going to do now?

CHOI: Well, since the very beginnings of my service, I realized that there is far greater purpose for every single one of us. Even if we're stripped of all of our wealth or our resources- anything that we had or we took stock in, you can do everything that you can, and when you speak up for someone else, when you encourage and inspire someone else, you always feel a little bit taller, you always grow a little bit more. So, I'm going to continue to speak up for those who cannot. I'm going to continue to pressure those who purport to be our friends. Those- whether they're congressmen or senators or the President himself- if they make a promise, I will hold them to it, and as far as what I do in the next couple of days- you know, I know that there are a lot of people that are suffering, and my oath and my commitment to them- that doesn't end.

LEMON: All right. Dan Choi, Michelangelo Signorile, thanks to both of you.

CHOI: Thank you, Don.

SIGNORILE: Thank you, Don.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center