CNN anchor Don Lemon subbed in for Rick Sanchez on the program Rick's List on Friday, and he worked hard to be as obnoxious as Sanchez in charging that right-wing rhetoric is out of control. In an interview with former GOP congressman J.C. Watts, Lemon asked him to offer "words of wisdom or caution" to Republicans.
When Watts insisted both sides do it, Lemon insisted "we have seen it on the Republican and the conservative side much, much more than on the Democratic side. The name calling in groups, with signs, calling people, you know, epithets, comparing them to Hitler. We've seen it much more from the conservatives, from the tea party movement."
Once again, a CNN anchor completely forgets the way they handled Bush-as-Hitler-with-horns protests on the left -- as fair comment, as a "Bush look-alike."
Here's how the conversation sunk on Friday:
LEMON: Okay, listen, just for the people at home, and you said it's politics and that's the way you do it. Some people may not think that when they see some of the violence, some people take it too seriously.
Do you have any words of wisdom or caution or anything for the people at home who may be taking some of this a little bit too seriously?
WATTS: Well, I think, Don, the key there is to understand or I recognize that people have the right to be engaged, I would encourage them to be engaged. I also would encourage them to protest, you know--
LEMON: We're not talking about the protesting. We're talking about the violence. We're talking about violence and the name calling and that sort of thing.
WATTS: But I'm saying, Don, you're going to see it on both sides, and what I'm saying is, on both sides, I think we have a responsibility.
LEMON: Congressman, I have to agree congressman, you're going to see it on both sides....Let me finish my point, you're going to see it on both sides, but we have seen it on the Republican and the conservative side much, much more than on the Democratic side.
The name calling in groups, with signs, calling people, you know, epithets, comparing them to Hitler. We've seen it much more from the conservatives, from the tea party movement.
And listen, I believe in free speech and the right to protest and the right to express yourself. But let's be honest here, it's coming mostly, mainly from one side.
WATTS: Well, but, Don, I'm not arguing that. I'm saying it doesn't matter where it's coming from, if it's Cindy Sheehan, if it's people that said ugly things to Bush.
You know my point is this. We had a situation to where we had a Republican congressman calling, you know, when he said "you lied" to President Obama, that was wrong.
I brought that up with a friend of mine. He said, well, they booed Bush. It doesn't make it right because Democrats booed Bush. It was wrong for both of them to do it. That's the point I'm making.
We shouldn't just focus on one side. I think the press and J.C. Watts, we all have a responsibility to try to raise the dignity and the character of the discussion. And it doesn't matter where it's coming from. Some would try and focus on Republicans, some would try to focus on Democrats.
I think we focus on anybody that's doing it and denounce it and say, it's not -- you know, an eye for an eye doesn't get us where we need to be.
LEMON: And I think that's a good way of putting it, raising the level of discussion and civility. That's why I asked you the question. Thank you for responding.
If a viewer agreed with Watts that the media has a responsibility to uphold civility, CNN clearly failed to do that when the last president was compared to Hitler and Satan. The fact that Obama-loving anchors like Don Lemon are so obviously upset about it now just shows a partisan double standard.