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Don Lemon Pushes Back at Cuomo’s Dishonest Guests: Don’t Deserve Airtime to ‘Promote Propaganda and Lies’

Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo pushed back on each other for the second night in a row in an on-air debate about the news value of hosting a pundit or political spokesperson who brazenly lies.

“I don’t think people need the space to promote propaganda and lies,” Lemon said, pointedly. “I think that’s a disservice.”

The discussion was sparked by the appearance of Trump 2020 campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany on Cuomo’s show the night before, where she made the obviously false claim that “President Trump has not lied” while in office. Cuomo challenged her credibility over this whopper in real-time, but afterward he came under fire for inviting her on his show, knowing her track record of making false , disingenuous, outlandish, and Birtherism-like statements.

Cuomo defended bringing McEnany and others like her on as a way to conduct “vetting” of their claims.

“Well, she’s working for the campaign and he does not suffer anything short of [loyalty], Don,” Cuomo noted. “You will not be around him very long if you are in the business of exposing his flaws.”

“So you’re proving the point then. So what’s the point?” Lemon countered.

“The point is, it’s the job of us to test and expose and let people see it for what it is,” Cuomo said. “One, so that they can believe their eyes and ears. And, two, if they’re against it, they know how to oppose it.”

“That is in a normal world when it was liberal versus conservative, Republican versus Democrat. This is about truth versus lies,” Lemon replied. “I don’t think people need the space to promote propaganda and lies. I think that’s a disservice. It’s not a service. It’s not testing. It’s allowing someone who — giving them a platform that they haven’t deserved.”

In fact, many social science studies that examine how misinformation spreads support Lemon’s argument. These studies have found that airing or repeating false claims or lies in an attempt to disprove or debunk them often backfires, and only serves to further amplify the falsehood as well as entrench belief in it. This effect can be exacerbated by live TV, which makes it very difficult for journalists to fact-check claims in real-time while maintaining a coherent discussion or narrative.

“Coming on a major network like CNN, it is a privilege, it is not a right,” Lemon said. “It has nothing to do with freedom of speech or freedom of expression. It is a privilege to come on to be able to talk directly to the American people, and if you have that privilege then you should respect the American people and the host of that show and the platform and the company and the brand, enough to come on and tell the truth.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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