CNN’s Don Lemon may be a ‘casualty’ of the network’s new direction, media critic says


CNN’s Don Lemon was notably absent from Monday’s “CNN This Morning” on-air lineup days after his controversial comments about former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. 

Lemon’s remarks about Haley not being in her “prime” after she announced a run for the 2024 Republican nomination were widely condemned as sexist, leading CNN CEO Chris Licht to scold the co-host for “upsetting, unacceptable and unfair” behavior. 

Author and media critic Steve Krakauer said Lemon was a “star” during the network’s coverage of the Trump administration but has since been placed on the outs. 

“Don was one of the stars of that era of CNN. He was a big primetime host. He’s already been relegated to the morning show now. And it’s sort of this relic of the old administration that’s trying to dig themselves out,” he explained Monday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”


CNN pulled Don Lemon from primetime for a new gig on "CNN This Morning" in late 2022. 

CNN pulled Don Lemon from primetime for a new gig on “CNN This Morning” in late 2022.  (CNN)

“He was like an influencer. And this is really one of the big problems of the media in general right now. You know, Don kind of bought his own hype. And I think that when he made that comment about Nikki Haley, he thought he was criticizing a Republican. He thought he was criticizing someone you’re allowed to criticize when in reality, he didn’t realize he was criticizing basically all women. And now a lot of his colleagues are mad at him.”

Krakauer told host Tucker Carlson that perhaps a few years ago Lemon’s comments might have been pushed under the rug, But now there is a new era, and a new regime is forcing him to be accountable for what he says on air. 

“I do think that there’s a new mandate there. And Don’s sort of out of favor right now because it’s just not really the direction of the network. I mean, you know, we’ve seen during the Trump era, and we’ve seen since then a total lack of introspection,” he argued. 

“They make mistakes and they don’t apologize. And then the trust in the media just keeps getting lower and lower. And obviously, CNN is trying to dig themselves out. They need to improve their ratings. It’s kind of in the tank right now. Don is kind of-[he] might be a casualty of that.”


Lemon will return to his morning show on Wednesday according to a memo from Licht to CNN staff that was obtained by Fox News Digital late Monday. The former primetime host apologized to colleagues on a Friday morning editorial call, saying he “didn’t mean to offend anyone.” 


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