CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon held a spirited but civil debate Thursday night over whether guests like President Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, should be invited on their shows.
Conway was a guest on “Chris Cuomo Prime Time,” and during the transition from that show to “CNN Tonight,” Lemon told Cuomo he’s opposed to bringing her on the air because “she never answers a question, she berates you, she’s condescending.”
“For me, it feels beneath the dignity of this network to have someone on who just constantly lies and misconstrues things,” he continued.
Lemon said he believes that while guests on CNN are free to state their opinions, they “have an obligation to be honest with the American people.” Lemon added that if Conway were his guest, he would likely show less willingness to let her talk without answering questions directly.
Cuomo countered that though he understands the frustration, if he held his show to the standard Lemon advocates, “I’d have very few people on this show.”
“If you’re gonna limit who you have on the show to the people who only answer the questions and are truthful,” Cuomo asked, “are you gonna be alone a lot of the time?”
Cuomo said he believes it’s important to have Conway as a guest because she has been designated to speak for the president. “I want my audience to see that this is who he believes his best defense to be,” he said.
Lemon replied that he believes “this is about truth versus false, this is about facts versus alternative facts,” and that CNN does “a disservice when we try to give false equivalence to someone who is clearly obfuscating and clearly has an agenda to mislead people.”
Cuomo responded that as he sees it, he chooses “to call it out in real time and let people see it for what it is.”
Fortunately, the two remained friendly despite their disagreement.
“It’s not just you and I don’t mean to pick on you,” Lemon said near the end of their discussion.
“I deserve the criticism. I do it on purpose, I do it intentionally, and I do it for what I believe is good intentions,” said Cuomo. “But I do it the most and I understand that I should get the criticism.”
Watch the whole exchange below:
Cuomo interviewed Kellyanne Conway tonight. Then Cuomo and Lemon resumed their debate about whether it's worthwhile to have her on. @DonLemon: "For me, it feels beneath the dignity of this network to have someone on who just constantly lies and misconstrues things…" pic.twitter.com/OrGhdaJU2h
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 15, 2019