CNN's Don Lemon Scraps Objectivity Now That He's Openly Gay: 'I Hope to Change Minds'

When CNN anchor Don Lemon announced he was gay and went on The Joy Behar Show on May 16, he insisted I don`t think just because I'm gay that it makes, it takes my brain away. Or it makes me not be objective. I`ve been doing this job for a long time. And I've been objective and I think I've been fair.”

But in a new interview with the gay newspaper The Washington Blade, Lemon took a different stand: “I hope to change minds.” Conservatives must be converted. Objectivity is naturally going to suffer when there’s a socially liberal agenda to press forward:

BLADE: Being someone of high visibility — and you were honored as one of the most influential African Americans in Ebony last year and Essence this year — do you think that when public figures in the black community, like yourself, come out as gay, there’s a possibility to change minds?

LEMON: I think if you come out and you’re in a position like mine, or higher, or wherever — even if you’re just in your job, and you feel comfortable to do it — I think you have the opportunity to change minds. …

But I think — I have to be honest — I don’t know any high-profile African Americans who are out. And I always say, ‘name five who have come out in the last five years,’ and they look at me and say ‘well, I dunno,’ and I ask, ‘OK, the last 10 years,’ and they say ‘I dunno,’ and then I just say ‘one, and I’ll give you one,’ and I say Wanda Sykes, and beyond that, most people can’t really name any. And I think it’s different being a woman — she’s very brave. It’s a whole different nuance being a woman and an entertainer.

I’m not an entertainer, I’m not a woman, I work for a very credible and influential news organization. And there, frankly, aren’t many people like me ‘out’ in general, and when you break it down into subcategories like African American or whatever, then there really aren’t any people. So do I think I can change minds? Absolutely, and that’s why I’m doing it. I hope to change minds.

The Blade insisted that sexual orientation “informs” reporting, meaning it makes you a dutiful liberal. The Blade wants Lemon to “tell our stories properly,” which means “tell our stories without any conservatives ruining it with their dissent.”

BLADE: Speaking of experience, as a gay newsman, your orientation informs your reporting. Do we need more openly gay journalists to help our community tell our stories properly?

LEMON: Let me preface that by saying: I have been doing these interviews a lot, and people have been trying to compare me to other people and pit me against other journalists. That’s not my role here. My role here is to talk about me.

I think it would be helpful in any profession if people would come out. If more people could feel comfortable in any profession, from being an attorney, to being an athlete, to being an actor, to being a garbage worker, to being a cleaning lady, to being a journalist. It would be more than helpful — the more people that come out, the better it will be for the Tyler Clementis of the world.

That being said, people should feel comfortable doing it whenever they want to do it. I don’t know other people’s journeys or stories, and why they may not be choosing to come out. That’s up to them. And you’ll have to ask those people why they don’t feel comfortable coming out.

But do I think there should be more openly gay journalists? I think it would help in any profession, like I said, if more people could feel comfortable coming out. And I don’t think that’s any different in the profession that I’m in. Does that make sense?

BLADE: Definitely.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis