CNN’s Lemon Dons Tin Foil Hat: White House ‘Staged’ Confrontation Between Intern and Jim Acosta

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Posted: Nov 14, 2018 4:00 PM
CNN’s Lemon Dons Tin Foil Hat: White House ‘Staged’ Confrontation Between Intern and Jim Acosta

During CNN’s Tuesday night broadcast of “CNN Tonight,” show host Don Lemon voiced his opinion that last week’s now infamous confrontation between CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta and a White House intern was “staged” by the Trump administration.

Lemon made the comment after NYU law professor Burt Neuborne suggested that the White House should have treated Acosta as a heckler and cut the microphone’s sound off instead of sending in the intern to take it back from Acosta:

LEMON: By the way, you didn’t need the microphone. People yell out questions all the time.

NEUBORNE: Well of course. And you know what -- I mean, I’ve been in enough crowds where there are hecklers. You wanna control somebody —you turn the microphone off. You don’t send some poor intern-

LEMON: Right.

NEUBORNE: -into a crowd to take the microphone away.

After agreeing with Neuborne that it was the wrong move for the intern to try to take the microphone back from Acosta, Lemon interjected: “I think that was staged. I think they played that up.”

Lemon did not explain how the White House or the intern coordinated with Acosta to have him tussle with her over the mic and push her arm away from it, as unedited live video of the incident clearly shows. Instead, Lemon moved on to talk about how there have always been White House correspondents who “were irritants to presidents,” thereby suggesting that Acosta’s behavior was within the norms of journalistic conduct.

A clip with the full context of Lemon’s comment can be found via Mediaite. A short transcript of Prof. Neuborne and Don Lemon’s exchange follows below:

(…)

BURT NEUBORNE: I don’t think this is a particularly complicated and difficult case. They -- there is a hearing tomorrow afternoon at 3:30. The federal judge scheduled it on an accelerated basis for something that -- it’s a temporary restraining order, but it is essentially, it could be the whole case. If they restore Acosta’s press credentials, I don’t think we’ll hear anything more about it. I don’t think the government will appeal it. I don’t thi- -- but, but the hearing is at 3:30, and there’s a very powerful argument to be made that the president simply -- if he wants to hold a press conference, then it’s gotta be a press conference. If he wants-

DON LEMON: He’s gotta take the tough questions.

NEUBORNE: Yeah! If he wants a kept group of people that will just do whatever he wants then he can go to Fox, but if he wants to hold a real press conference where people hold his feet to the fire then he can’t get petulant and say: Oh, I don’t like those questions, get out of my White House!

LEMON: By the way, you didn’t need the microphone. People yell out questions all the time.

NEUBORNE: Well of course. And you know what -- I mean, I’ve been in enough crowds where there are hecklers. You wanna control somebody —you turn the microphone off. You don’t send some poor intern-

LEMON: Right.

NEUBORNE: -into a crowd to take the microphone away.

LEMON: I think that was staged. I think they played that up.

NEUBORNE: There are plenty of ways to control it.

LEMON: Yeah, yeah.

And it’s -- listen, Helen Thomas, Bill, Sam Donaldson, I mean, they were irritants to presidents. I’m sure those presidents wanted to tell them to sit down. And then, this wasn’t a press conference for -- but do you remember when Reagan said: I paid for that microphone. Right?

NEUBORNE: [laughs] Yeah, that’s exactly right.

LEMON: I mean, there are these moments, right? And so, I don’t understand even now though with that —we’re talking about the removal of the microphone, or whatever they were doing with the microphone —this is distorted video, Bill, of -- defended Sarah Sanders, she tweeted this out, she said. It didn’t show the whole back and forth. It appears edited. So, I mean, this is from InfoWars.

(…)