Don Lemon Suggests Sexism at Play in Criticism of Clinton’s Email Conduct

July 6, 2016

CNN host Don Lemon suggested Tuesday that sexism was in part responsible for the criticism of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, commenting that as the first woman with a "real shot at winning the White House," the "men at the top" would have a lot to say about her.

Lemon compared the tumult over Clinton’s emails to fireworks on the Fourth of July, in a clip flagged by media watchdog NewsBusters.

"This is CNN Tonight. I’m Don Lemon. When you’re the first woman with a real shot at winning the White House, you know at least one thing is for sure," he said. "The men at the top are going to have a lot to say about you. First, I want you to listen to the FBI Director James Comey’s blistering assessment of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal."

That is how Lemon led his report on FBI Director James Comey’s 15-minute statement Tuesday in which he did not recommend charges be brought against Clinton for her conduct at the State Department. Comey also called Clinton "extremely careless" with her handling of classified information and refuted her talking points about never sending or receiving such information on her private server. The Washington Post subsequently published an article discussing how Comey "systematically dismantled Clinton’s email defense."

Lemon also played clips of both Donald Trump criticizing Clinton and of President Obama emphatically praising her while on the campaign trail. Trump and Obama are both men, playing into Lemon’s narrative that sexism may play a role.

Clinton’s gender was not brought up at all in Comey’s remarks about her and the investigation into her private email server, nor did they play into Obama and Trump’s commentary about her. It is unclear why Lemon would make such a remark about an issue having nothing to do with gender.