Don Lemon calls Tucker Carlson's 'meltdown' over Chauvin verdict 'a ratings grift'

Stephen Proctor
·2 min read

On Wednesday's CNN Tonight With Don Lemon, Lemon called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for his reaction to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd. On Tuesday night following the verdict, Carlson claimed the jury only voted to convict Chauvin because they were scared, and questioned if we can “trust the way this decision was made.” Later, Carlson got confrontational with a former New York City deputy sheriff who criticized Chauvin and abruptly ended the interview.

“George Floyd's brother Philonise tells CNN Derek Chauvin's conviction is historic. Attorney Ben Crump calls it a victory for equal justice. But that’s not what Fox viewers heard from Tucker Carlson,” Lemon said. “He had a meltdown over the verdict, accusing jurors of caving, afraid riots would break out if they acquitted Chauvin. Seriously.”

CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter joined Lemon and said he believes Carlson’s message is meant for certain types of Americans who are fearful of the cultural change taking place in the country.

“We are seeing a form of radicalization in the GOP, and he [Carlson] is leading the way,” Stelter said, before referencing something Democratic strategist Paul Begala said to the New York Times. “He said, ‘As white power diminishes, white supremacy intensifies.’ Meaning, the attempt of certain types of white Americans to hold on to power is getting more and more intense in this multicultural, diversifying country,” Stelter said. “I know Carlson denies any interest in white supremacy, he rejects all those claims against him, but it's interesting to think about his show as a broadcast version of the white-lash.”

While Carlson has risen in the ranks as a possible GOP candidate in 2024, something Carlson has said is not going to happen, Lemon believes Carlson’s rhetoric has nothing to do with political ambition and is actually quite simple.

“I don’t buy the political aspirations thing,” Lemon said, “I just think this is just about wanting more ratings and power in television. But, you know, I could be wrong. I just think it’s a ratings grift. That’s it.”

CNN Tonight With Don Lemon airs weeknights at 10 p.m. on CNN.

Watch Tucker Carlson abruptly end an interview after arguing with his guest who criticized Derek Chauvin: 'Nope. Done.':

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