President Donald Trump’s first prime-time address to the nation is scheduled for 9 p.m. tonight, but Fox News has reported that CNN’s Don Lemon suggested that networks delay its airing out of concern that the president will use his on-air time to promote “propaganda.”
Lemon made his suggestion during CNN Tonight on Monday, January 8, when he spoke with fellow CNN colleague Chris Cuomo about the president’s speech — just hours after it was announced.
All major networks have decided to broadcast the event, though Lemon was unsure how exactly network execs should go about doing so when the president “has a problem with the truth.” Lemon questioned if it should be aired live, or if it could possibly include a fact-checking component.
Cuomo, on the other hand, had an opinion as to how it should be covered.
“You let him speak and then you hold him to account,” he responded.
It was then that Don Lemon offered his idea — saying that the broadcast could have some sort of delay, in case the president’s message strays from the facts.
“Because people will believe it, the president will say what he has to say, people will believe it whether the facts are true or not — I guess that’s a chance you take with any president, but this one is different,” he explained. “And by the time the rebuttals come on, we’ve already promoted propaganda, possibly, until he gets up there and tells the truth.”
Cuomo rebutted Lemon’s suggestion and defended the president, telling his colleague that Trump has a right to make his argument for increased border protection to the country — and that “wanting barriers along the border is not propaganda.”
CNN's Don Lemon is worried people will believe Trump's speech on the southern border crisis: "But do you think it should be — I don't know — a delay of some sort, and then you can — because people believe it. Trump will say what he has to say. People will believe it…" pic.twitter.com/H91aHzuxU4
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 8, 2019
While Lemon agreed with his point, he also reminded Cuomo that he believes what is most important is not necessarily being the first to break a news story, but being accurate. He argued that his philosophy should be applied to the president’s address this evening in order to avoid exposing people to “propaganda” if it turns out to be a “political stunt.”
The CNN anchor’s commentary echoes a similar idea floated by another one of the network’s media correspondents last week.
Per CNN, Brian Stelter wrote in an edition of Reliable Sources on Thursday, January 3 that a reader suggested there be a “10 minute delay” for the president whenever he speaks — in order for networks to choose what airs.
President Donald Trump will address the nation at 9 p.m. EST tonight, an event which will be aired across all major networks. There has not yet been an indication by CNN as to whether or not they will include live fact-checking during their coverage.