Pro basketball legend LeBron James was interviewed on "CNN Tonight" on July 30. Host Don Lemon warmly congratulated him for opening a school for 240 at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. If only it could've ended there, focused just on that. But you knew it wouldn't.
Because, as they say, " This ... is CNN." It was expected that Lemon would encourage James to trash President Trump, because that's what CNN does, hour by hour, minute by minute. James said that during his childhood, he came to a better understanding of white people through sports. He said: "When you're a part of sports ... it just brings so much camaraderie and so much fun. You know, we are in a position right now in America, more importantly, where this whole, this race thing, is taking over, you know. And because I believe our president is kinda trying to divide us."
Lemon poked him: "Kinda?" James bit, responding: "Yeah — is. ... He's dividing us. ... And sports has never been something that divides people. It's always been something that brings someone together."
That might sound a little funny, since sports necessarily divides based on team loyalties, even if the whole is united in its affection for the sport. But it's also strange because athletes can often be divisive — and have recently relished that role — whether they demonstrate a lack of sportsmanship, or get on the wrong side of the law, or feel they need to use their fame to score political points that offend so many.
Why must the left always try to create the often-false impression that conservatives divide and the left unites? The national anthem, for example, is a time when conservatives call for unity. The kneelers are the original dividers.
Lemon goaded James some more about Trump: "You've heard what the man in charge ... you've heard what the president said about Marshawn (Lynch), about Steph (Curry) ..." James added, "Colin Kaepernick." Lemon asked: "Men of color who have means and a platform. What's up with that?"
Curry has publicly refused to meet with Trump at the White House, but James weirdly said of Curry, "There's no reason for anyone to ever attack him." James also told Lemon he would refuse to sit across from Trump. "I'd sit across from Barack, though," he said. Pro athletes are free to make that choice. They feel they should be immune from criticism for making it. Oh, to be coddled like that.
Lemon claimed that Trump perpetually exploits Kaepernick, saying: "Whenever there's something like he's in trouble, he can't wiggle his way out of something, he'll bring up the national anthem thing and kneeling or standing. Do you think he uses black athletes as a scapegoat?"
Do you think Lemon used Trump the exact same way?
James agreed: "At times. ... You look at Kaepernick, who was protesting something he believed in, and he did in the most calm fashion way possible." Lemon interjected, "Respectful." James added: "Very respectful. ... He did all his due diligence."
Here comes the "fake news" on CNN. In a training camp, Kaepernick wore socks with pictures of pigs dressed as police officers. How is that "very respectful"? He also said America was founded on slavery and genocide. That's the CNN interpretation of "due diligence."
When the interview clip was over, Lemon then editorialized: "I loved sitting down with LeBron today. You know what I really loved about it? Is ... his authenticity. And I was sitting down with a celebrity who didn't care about 'Oh, we're gonna offend this demographic ... or someone may not come to a game because of that."
This ... is CNN. It trashes conservatives, and it doesn't care if it offends viewers. Maybe that's not a contradiction if you presume it has no conservative viewers.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.