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Fox News can always be counted on to lie. More dangerously they can be counted on to speak some truth completely out of context to promote a destructive narrative. When one builds a story or rant off of said out-of-context truth, it immediately gives the bad context plausibility to the willfully ignorant.

Don Lemon committed that sin on Saturday. He used a truthful rant with an out-of-context narrative by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly to justifiably castigate some in the Black community. The problem is that in using Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he provided the wrong context. He will become the poster boy for many on the Right who as opposed to looking for the causes of the problem will be punitive in asserting that these problems are self-inflicted.

Don Lemon agreed with the recent Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points Commentary without expanding that absent the correct context adds to the problem. O’Reilly said, “The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African American family. Raised without structure, young black men often reject the education process and gravitate towards vice. Nobody forces them to do that. It is a personal decision.”

While partially true the causes of the disintegration of the African American family is not discussed. Lemon allowed himself to fall into a Right Wing trap that this country has fallen into. It is no different than the Mitt Romney 47 percent comment. It is not different than telling a truth about how little taxes many pay without stating the fact that depressed wages for most and exploding wages for the top makes that the mathematical reality that has nothing to do with one’s value, worth, or productivity to society.

More on Don Lemon, including video, below the fold.

Absent in O’Reilly’s narrative is the complicity of the justice system in criminalizing black men which over time destroys the family. Absent in O’Reilly’s narrative is the racism in employment that makes families poor and insecure. Absent in O’Reilly’s narrative is simply what racism does to the esteem of many that manifests itself as dysfunction in all aspects of life.

Don Lemon simplistically says there are five things Black people should think about if interested in fixing the problem; (5) Pull up your pants, (4) Stop using the N word. (3) Respect where you live. (2) Finish school. (1) Stop having out of wedlock babies. Really?

Most because of prevailing culture are more comfortable with the norm of wearing pants above the waist. Most agree that the N-word should really be excised from the vocabulary because of historic hurt it inflicted on many.

Lemon’s assertion about trash is rather baffling and insulting. He sees littering as a racial problem as opposed to the socio-economic problem it is most of the time. Maybe he should visit some middle and upper class black neighborhoods in Houston and other southern cities and some lower class white neighborhoods in Appalachia.

Lemon’s assertion about finishing school is on point. But yet again he fails to take into account poverty and access to higher education. Lemon’s assertion about having out of wedlock babies is also on point. What he fails to acknowledge is that you cannot fix dysfunctions with assertions. You must find the underlying problems. Much of the out of wedlock problems for teens is caused by a lack of education, poverty, lack of options after school, and lack of options in the summers.

There is a lack of investment in people in America. As the middle class continues its decline, the same problems that afflict the black community because it is generally poorer will afflict a large percentage of the white community in the not-too-distant future.

Lemon has a platform where he could have used Bill O’Reilly’s rant with an intellectually honest narrative. He could have used it to define why O’Reilly’s statements were partially true and where his inference was wrong. He could have then provided the socio-economic narrative of this cancer spreading to the entire population absent fixes to the basic American economic contract.

The video follows.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Forget poverty and higher education. It's poverty (4+ / 0-)

    and K-12 education that's the issue.  Witness Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Sacramento, everywhere a Broad Center trained corporate hatchet person has taken over the schools.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:43:28 PM PDT

  •  Don Lemon is a tool (7+ / 0-)

    I really can't stand him as an anchor or investigative reporter.  He is such a light head when it comes to reporting news that it's almost as if he's looking for fame more than anything else.

    If Soledad O'Brien were to be in Lemon's shoes, she'd actually make a substantial argument.

  •  What a complete idiot. (3+ / 0-)

    Don Lemon doesn't know wtf he's talking about.  By his own admission he grew up relatively well off.  It might be nice if he could admit that he just doesn't have first hand knowledge of what blacks in poverty live with.  It might be nice if he put that broadcast journalism degree to use and worked to find out.

    Does he really think a different choice of style, a different way of speaking (not that different from Paula Deen), and personal choices are the underlying root causes of substantially higher than average poverty, poor education, and crime in inner city populations?

    Please explain to me how pulling up your pants (something that I do agree with on an aesthetic level) is going to combat disproportionately lower funding of public education in the inner city.

    •  I think he was inferring that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, zett

      baggy pants, or low ride pants, is the reason for a stop and frisk. That because it originated in prison culture, it was automatically an expression of "gang culture."

      The clear implication was that if you pull your pants up, the police will no longer target and harass you, and look for an excuse tho shoot you.

      His equivalent for girls would be to suggest that if young women don't want to be raped they should cover up their bra straps.

      There is a high school on my neighborhood. While I think teen attire is pretty silly looking, I can vouch for the fact that it is a fad. It's a pretty recent fad. Teens love to irritate their parents and other authority figures. They love to dress in ways that are considered rebellious.

      It's just a fad. It will pass, and they will look back and cringe at their fashion choices, the same way my generation looks back and cringes at the perms and the big hair and shoulder pads that were in fashion when we were young.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 03:36:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  O'Reilly and Lemon BOTH missed the mark. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Williston Barrett, sandbox

    At the very least, there are a couple of people from different viewpoints that are trying to address something that they BOTH see as a problem.

    "You must find the underlying problems."

    Have you? Have you honestly looked in the past and TRIED to figure out how this downslope started? 70+% out of wedlock children doesn't just happen overnight! Do you have any clue how this started? If not, then why are you lambasting any people that would like to address it?

    I'm not even a fan of O'Reilly, but I was clapping when he started talking about this subject. Not necessarily about his actual words, but the subject itself. Now Lemon has addressed it?! That is awesome. I'm not a fan of these media personalities, but if they can get a good discussion going, then I'm all for it.

    To me it feels like you want to dodge the discussion. I may be wrong, though.

    •  if they both missed the mark (0+ / 0-)

      then how is it a good discussion? Just bringing this up with the wrong context only serves to demonize black people and continue the narrative that we like the way we live, we choose the way we live, and we simply aren't civilized enough to do better, when the opposite is true. Talking about these problems without addressing systemic oppression isn't helpful, and I'd rather have no conversation at all than one that feeds the negative stereotypes so openly.

  •  I think he missed an opportunity by mentioning (0+ / 0-)

    ...Bill O’Reilly. Everything he said from that point on stood no chance of being considered valid. I think his intentions were mostly ratings-driven. I also thought he seemed a tad too pleased with himself for upsetting people he apparently thinks are not worth responding too even as he acknowledges Geraldo's  congratulatory tweet.

    So very sad. He could have done a much better job with the entire topic but he went with headline over substance.

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 01:47:19 AM PDT

    •  Wait... (0+ / 0-)

      ... why did he miss an opportunity by mentioning O'Reilly? Because you don't agree with O'Reilly on most of his views? You think that deters others from listening? Or is it possible that people with a very limited view would think that it wasn't constructive for Lemon to mention O'Reilly? Isn't it possible that this O'Reilly guy is right about some of the things he said, and that it resonated with Lemon, and he wanted to give accolades? I mean, come on, man! Even if I disagree with Ed Schultz most of the time, if he says something right on, I will give him props. It doesn't take away from something that might have some truth to it.

      I don't know, maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree here on Kos with trying to have this discussion that I think is VERY worthwhile.

      •  Wow,I don't know why you came at me like that but (0+ / 0-)

        ...screw you! Try responding to what I actually said instead of being outraged at what you imagined I said. If you have a question, then ask it straight-up and not as an accusation in response to your own bluster.

        If you really wanted a discussion, then I would be happy to engage in one. But I see nothing in your reply to my comment that suggests that you wanted anything other than to demonstrate your outrage. So hope it that helped you.

        But I will answer one of your accusations. I think Bill O'Reilly's is too toxic, in a way Ed simply isn't, to bring in to a conversation with the particular topic. Lemon could have made his points with mentioning Bil-O. Once he did, many stopped listening to him judging by the responses I saw on Twitter and headlines to stories about his comments.

        He also picked a less than optimum time to say those things as the highly emotional movie Fruitvale Station opened this weekend. Many in the African-American community, the supposed audience he was referencing, were talking about the horrible injustice portrayed in the movie and were not in the most receptive of moods to be lectured to about internal matters when clearly there are external threats that cannot be avoided even if one follows Lemon's advice.

        So, how and when you say something is just as important as what you say and to whom you say it. This is a basic concept that anyone in the public eye should know. He took a worthwhile subject and played it a way to gin up controversy and ratings (note how many teases before he actually got to a response yesterday) rather than with the care it deserved.


        The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

        by sebastianguy99 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 11:38:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I saw some maps recently that showed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    how many large cities are still effectively segregated by race and ethnicity, which affects school funding and quality of education and quality of life. We think we have come so far, but a closer examination really questions how far we have really come. It's a tragedy to see people's lives still so circumscribed by the same limiting factors.

    The Fierce Urgency of Later

    by Faroutman on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 03:24:03 AM PDT

  •  I think getting into this discussion (0+ / 0-)

    without trying to determine root causes is just an opportunity for criticism.  In both directions.

    There are exceptions to every observation, but mine is that parenting, or the lack thereof, is a big part of the problem.   Kids that respect themslves and others, and have some sense of propriety don't grow on trees.  

    If, by the time kids reach the age where their behaviors really matter, they weren't imbued with the basics of right and wrong, then they and society are in for trouble.   That's true for matter race, color, economic status, etc.  


    The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

    by Persiflage on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 03:34:46 AM PDT

  •  I have mixed feelings about this !!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First, I think O'Reilly is a racist and an hypocrite. I think he has demonstrated many times that he would like to see one race dominate over another and he has made lots of racist comments about the President, the minorities, ...etc as far as I can remember.
    Second, unfortunately I think he raises questions that the Black Community, the Progressive movement and the Country seriously needs to debate in depth. But the Black leaders need to take the lead on this issue.
    I live in NC and these past 3 months, we have been reminded again why this debate needs to happen. No, I'm not talking about the Republicans destroying the state, I'm talking about UNC's Junior Guard P.J. Hairston, who has been suspended from the team indefinitely after a summer full of stupidity.  What this young man has done in the past 3 months shows clearly why Blacks folks need to sit down and have a serious conversation with one another. This is simply unacceptable.

  •  Obama a far better messenger in 2008 than Lemon (3+ / 0-)

    Frankly, I don't care one bit what Bill O'Reilly says or doesn't say anymore. He's just a provocateur and nothing else.

    I'm also not a Lemon fan either.

    But I don't think Lemon said anything Obama didn't say in his father's day speech in 2008. It's just Barack Obama is a far better and more sincere messenger:

    "You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled - doubled - since we were children. We know the statistics - that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it...

     We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child - it's the courage to raise one. "

    There were some who criticized Obama for this speech in 2008. They felt it was Obama lecturing the black community in a cynical attempt to appeal to white votes. I was not one of them. I thought this was one of his most sincere speeches ever and echoes many sentiments he wrote into Dreams from my Father.

    This speech came from the heart from a man who practice what he preaches on this subject.

    I wonder what the reaction would be if Lemon just aired clips of Obama's 2008 speech instead?

    •  It is definitely a discussion worth having (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scamperdo, Mylies Voice, VClib

      I read recently (I'll try to find a link) that the problem is more and more becoming class over race.  The African American community is dividing between those who grow up in the middle class, finish school and perhaps go to college, wait to have children until they are older and married, and those in what used to be called the "underclass," where children have children, the role models are absent, finishing high school (much less attending college) is not seen as a virtue, and it is all too easy to fall into criminal behavior because that is where the money is.  Certainly the children of my African American law partners are growing up in an entirely different world than the child of a 15 year old girl born in the inner city.  

      I wish there were better messengers.  And, of course, there are problems out there other than the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of role models, the expectations of a future for a child born to a child in poverty.  But I believe that this discussion needs to happen, and it needs to be part of the solution.  I wish those on the left would take it away from conservatives and lead the discussion themselves.

      •  What we need to discuss is the Stand your (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, closerange

        fucking ground law.
        What we need to discuss is how to get guns out of the hands psychopaths like the Zimmerman who killed a unarmed teenager and then declared it "God's will."
        What we need to discuss is how to get those who have taken the lion's share of the nation's wealth to reinvest in poor neighborhoods.
        What we need to discuss is racial profiling and  its roots.

        What we don't need is apologists for racists and murderers telling "blacks" how to behave so as not to get fucking killed like rabid dogs in the streets.

        Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

        by JoanMar on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 06:21:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Personally I find Obama the best messenger (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He brings up class, cultural and institutional racism in that amazing speech.

        Hawaii may not be the streets of Detroit, but he can empathize with those raised by a single mom who lived on food stamps at one time. He understands the temptation of drugs and feeling lost and not motivated. My nephew in NC worked hard at UNC in 2008 and they were amazed by black high schoolers who were inspired by his Obama to feel there is a path out for them.

        The conversation DID start with Bill Crosby's rants. Then Obama delivered this powerful speech and the talking heads all went off on it. dKos fought over it in 2008.

        It's just we start the conversations but then there's no follow up.

        •  I think O'Reilly hurt the conversation with his (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scamperdo, VClib

          rant.  He's such a divisive figure that even if he has a legitimate point in there somewhere, it's going to be dismissed out of hand because of who he is.

          The conversation did not "start" with the Cosby rant, however. The left began this conversation in 1965, with the Moynihan  Report.  Certainly that report had its problems, but it did pose the question of what the "coming destruction of the black family" would do in terms of socio-economics for the African American community.  In the decades since, instead of using that as a starting point, and addressing concerns in a holistic manner (including both societal and economic issues) much (but not all) of the left has abandoned that to conservatives to frame as they want, rather than the left framing the issues themselves.  And conservatives have framed the issue in such a way as to make it toxic to many on the left.  

          President Obama's speech was a good start. I wish there had been more follow-up.

    •  I appreciate where you are coming from... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msrevis, closerange

      ...but please do stop buying into right wing propaganda.
      When the murderer murdered Trayvon he knew nothing about him other than he was black. It wasn't about the hoodie - for crying out loud. It was about the color of his skin.
      Trayvon Martin had a mother and a loving father. His family was not unlike millions of other American families.
      Somehow we have allowed the Bill O'Reillys of the world to reframe this discussion. We have bought their bullshit hook, line and sinker and are now blaming the victim for having the temerity to get himself murdered.
      Our attention should be  focused on why the Zimmermans of the world can act with such impunity. Racial profiling, dehumanization of people of color, SYG laws and racial injustice.
      This is not about the clothes black boys/men wear.
      Henry Louis Gates wasn't wearing a hoodie when he was arrested for breaking into his own home. I doubt the black who was just shot in Florida for breaking into his mother's car was wearing a hoodie.
      This is just too convenient of a conversation for racists and their apologists.

      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

      by JoanMar on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:28:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And this is why... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the many so-called "national conversations about race" always fail, and are such a waste of time.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 06:32:32 AM PDT

  •  National Conversation Of Groupthink (0+ / 0-)

    So the country is told we need to have a "national conversation on race" and yet as soon as anyone deviates from the same old tired line that it's all the fault of the white demons and a free-market economy, the knives come out?  Way to promote an honest conversation folks!

    When a gay liberal African American newsman can be called a [sic] "turn coat" and "mofo" for advocating common sense behavior such as dressing neatly, speaking English properly, waiting for marriage to create children and (god forbid!) using a litter basket, it's obvious to almost everyone that political expediency and tribalism outweigh actual concern for a community awash in misery.

    The democratic voting plantation has lots of helpers cracking the whip!

  •  The solutions don't match the systemic problems (0+ / 0-)

    If you 'fix' the five issues that he suggests then you'd have childless, conservatively dressed, conservatively spoken black people without jobs, or hopes for jobs, living in trash free slums. Sounds like the middle of the last century to me.

  •  I agree with Don Lemon (0+ / 0-)

    The biggest problem in the black community, bigger than crime is teenage pregnancy.  Children having children and no one saying this is not right.  The female children from children who have children feel the only way out is to do what their mother did to get food stamps, a check, low income housing, and a big tax refund (most just work long enough to qualify for the EIC), the male children from children who have children turn to crime to make their money and this has become a vicious cycle.  I have been waiting for Al Sharpton, Oprah or somebody to speak on teenage pregnancy and no one will speak on it, not even the preachers in the church because their daughters are also becoming teen moms.  The only way to stop teen pregnancy is to make the parents of these teen mothers to take care of their grandchildren and I bet teen pregnancy will stop.  All the black leaders and preachers know their audience is comprised if 75% of unwed mothers, so everyone is afraid to speak on it.

    •  Interesting comment (0+ / 0-)

      One that mirrors a discussion that's going on right now at Free Republic as they discuss the issue of white poverty and the rise of teen pregnancy in the white community. Their take is to put the burden of everything on either parenting gone bad or lack of intelligence or lack of moral fiber.

      Does none of this have to do with the fact that young people, as a whole, cannot get jobs that pay a living wage? Is it all a problem of personal responsibility? Can teen parents support themselves and their children after getting a substandard education? Can they get a job in their neighborhood? Do they have access to affordable healthcare from cradle to grave? Is this a theocracy where religious and social leaders are to take on the responsibility of making public policy?

      One other observation from my personal life, unless and until parents can be with their children 24/7 or equip girls with chastity belts or force feed/implant contraceptive devices there will always be teen pregnancies. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous.

      •  Teen pregnancy has been escalating (0+ / 0-)

        The number of teen pregnancies in the black community has been escalating for the last 3 or 4 generations. I know a family where the great grandmother was married, but the three generations after the great grand parents no female has married in that family and now the great grandmother has about 25 grand children out of we'd lock and now the grandmother has become a great grand mother with children out of wedlock.  There is an incentive for people not to marry and it's called food stamps, low income housing and EIC.  There is a lot of cheating at the top of the economic scale, but there is a lot of cheating at the bottom of the scale too.  The people who really get hurt are the real working class families in the middle.  We need a third party that serves the people in the middle.

  •  ole Tom ass ^#%$& (0+ / 0-)

    no, not what you're thinking:

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:54:32 AM PDT

  •  Lemmon - Oh so much missing in his "thinking" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl

    While Lemmon's obvious concerns were about how to improve life, he completely missed his opportunity here to suggest real and substantive ideas on how to reach out and "walk in a wo/man's shoes," helping her/him to find a way out of poverty and abuse. The fact is, not many living in severe poverty have even a home to go to or parents to hold them together. That is the thing he totally missed. I believe that before becoming a "reporter" one needs to be put on a beat and forced to report about it. And I am not talking about a Wall Street beat. Same with all politicians. They need to live with the poorest people on the planet for a year before they're allowed to hold political office.

    •  For people well-entrenched in the system (0+ / 0-)

      problems that arise within the system can never be caused by the system.  Thus, in a capitalist system, poverty can never be understood as a problem produced by that system, therefore it's causes have to lie elsewhere, like in people's individual choices.

      They are all lousy sociologists, every single one of them.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. (Click on orange text to go to linked content.) Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 02:40:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When life gives you (Don) Lemon... (0+ / 0-)

    the lemonade is still gonna taste like shit.

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 08:55:54 AM PDT

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