CNN host Don Lemon called for White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to stop calling on Fox News reporters.
Fox News host Bret Baier took the high road… but he wasn’t happy.
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On Dec. 13’s broadcast of Don Lemon Tonight, Lemon read some text messages between Fox’s editorial commentators and Trump’s White House staff.
He singled out certain commentators for text-messaging the White House and urging the staffers to quell the Jan. 6 riot.
Lemon said, “Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, Sean Hannity. That’s the whole primetime lineup right there. They knew exactly what they were seeing with their own eyes. And they know now. They don’t say they know. They pretend something else. But they knew. They are lying. There is no other way to say it, they are just flat out lying. They are acting like nothing happened… This wasn’t antifa. It wasn’t Black Lives Matter. We all knew the mob was doing that then president’s bidding. They all knew that he could stop them, and he didn’t.”
Baier discussed Lemon’s remark with Fox News host Howard Kurz on Special Report with Bret Baier.
Kurz asked, “Here is one of CNN’s top stars, Don Lemon, saying that Fox News should be kicked out off, barred from the White House briefing room because he doesn’t like Fox. What’s your take on that?”
“It’s just silly,” Baier responded. “It’s just efforts to get clicks or eyeballs.”
Baier recounted his defense of certain reporters on CNN, Lemon’s network. In 2018, Trump’s White House banned two CNN reporters from the White House press room, and Baier lobbied for the pair to regain access.
Listen. We’re a news organization that has been part of the White House pool really since the beginning, and we’ve been advocates of fighting for other journalists there, including CNN. You mentioned [CNN reporter] Jim Acosta, where we stood up, as well as [CNN reporter] Kaitlan Collins, who was going to be kicked out of a gaggle and I tweeted out and we put out a statement supporting that, [her presence at the White House]. So, listen. I think this is all about semantics and trying to get attention, but they know that we’re working hard to do journalism every day.
Kurz nodded. He stressed the divide between Fox’s news staff and its editorial opinion staff.
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“In all the years I worked in newspapers, there were a lot of columnists who sometimes had fiery opinions, and then there were the reporters and the editors,” Kurz said.
“Here is the key thing in my view. Is there a fiction that gets perpetrated, because it doesn’t fit the narrative, that there isn’t a real news division here, that you and your special report team, and all of the journalists and reporters and hosts and anchors and producers somehow don’t count?”
Baier agreed. In Baier’s view, Lemon criticized Fox as a whole just for the text messages of commentators who don’t represent the network as a whole.
It’s really silly… The focus is all on the opinion, folks who do opinion–and they stir the pot–and sometimes they’re very controversial. But we have a news operation that’s breaking news everyday. You can’t tell me that Jennifer Griffin does, what Lucas Tomlinson does, what our White House team does, what Bill Melugin does along the border [is editorial opinion and not straight news].
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Baier also slammed CNN for devoting too little time to the crisis at the southern border.
We’re one of the only networks covering the border situation that saw the highest number of illegal immigrants crossing in November ever in the history of the country. And yet we’re the only network covering it. That is news. It’s not made-up stuff, and we’ve been fighting that battle a long time. But, just like a paper, there’s a news side and an opinion side.
Earlier this month, Lemon faced criticism for his own breach of journalistic ethics. Lemon text-messaged the criminal defendant Jussie Smollett. Then, on Dec. 6, he “reported” on Smollett’s trial without acknowledging these texts.
Watch Baier’s video here —
Over the weekend, @SpecialReport anchor @BretBaier defended Fox News and their hard news reporters from the "just silly" criticism they receive from CNN constantly. "We've been fighting that battle a long time. But just like a paper, there's a news side and an opinion side." pic.twitter.com/5PjyAz29bb
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) December 20, 2021
The Horn editorial team