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Newly out Don Lemon not an activist, still "an old-school journalist"

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When I first read the title to this article, I thought, "Uh oh... what did he say?" After reading the article, I respect and admire him even more. Of course, this is a follow up to our post about the fun Don Lemon interview with Michael Signorile.

KG: Do you see yourself becoming a vocal activist or advocate for the LGBT community?

DL: No. I would see myself becoming one if I wasn’t a journalist anymore or if I became an activist/journalist. As much as I think journalism and the world has evolved with social media, I’m still an old-school journalist and believe in objectivity. I still believe in hearing both sides and fairness. I don’t want to be an activist journalist. I’m not saying I wouldn’t become an activist for the LGBT community or that’s not a part of my future, but right now I don’t see that.
The one issue I slightly disagree on is his insistence on being an objective journalist precluding his ability to logically disarm those who would use false debate points regarding homosexuality. I think Rachel Maddow, who is mentioned in the article, handles that particular tension nicely. For instance, there are far too many in the media who think it is their job to create a false equivalence when sometimes the debate point is just factually wrong. One can be objective but emphatically state someone is wrong when they are simply lying to make their points, or those cases when one is utilizing opinion to counter facts. It is important and responsible for journalists to gracefully point those nuances out to the audience. For instance, guests can be challenged to provide facts versus opinion, and if an obvious proven lie is being used to counter facts there is nothing wrong with asking the interviewee to further justify their position. Again, I've seen Maddow do this, and although some have falsely accused her of being an activist, I call it true objective journalism that is sadly lacking in many of her colleagues. Most journalists are just deathly afraid of challenging blatant lies and (mostly conservative) opinion camouflaged as facts. It is all in the art of asking the question and demanding an answer, and an insistence on clarification or documentation until the truth is out there.

A beneficial result of Don Lemon's coming out is he is effectively able to criticize and speak from a position of authority on the homophobia of the African American and Latino minority communities:
KG: Do you consider the black community homophobic?

DL: YES! I think there is a segment of the black community—a BIG segment of the black community—that is homophobic and it has a lot to do with religion. The church has been the backbone for so long through slavery and all of those things. You had to pray your way out of slavery. People think you can pray your way out of issues or problems and some believe being gay is one of them. In black culture, and similar in Latino and other minority cultures, it’s the worst thing you can do as a man. In both cultures you have to be a man and they equate being gay with not being a man.
The entire article is important and noteworthy. Don Lemon shares from his position of knowledge and experience on so many related issues. His personal experience being shared is an example of how one's coming out can greatly benefit our community by shooting down a lot of damaging myths and bolstering some of our best arguments.

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