CNN was confronted by its own fallibilities Friday as its latest move to scrounge for ratings had a guest of Bill Maher pouring salt in a still-fresh wound by ridiculing Don Lemon.
The exploits of the “CNN This Morning” co-host have almost seemed to be goading CEO Chris Licht into pulling him off the air after getting pulled from primetime. Now, as the network embarks on an inevitably futile campaign to compete with the new “king of late night,” Fox News host Greg Gutfeld, the “Overtime” segment of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” simulcasting on CNN left the acerbic Maher quickly moving the conversation along.
Little more than a quarter of the way through the segment where ABC News contributor Sarah Isgur, seated beside MSNBC host Ari Melber and across from actor Christoph Waltz, joined the host, the conversation turned to former UN ambassador Nikki Haley’s remarks on competency tests for prospective candidates for public office.
Haley’s suggestion that those 75 years old and up undergo mandatory screenings as part of her 2024 presidential campaign launch not only left Maher contending that should be standard across the board, it left Isgur razzing Lemon for his slight against women earlier in the week.
“As Don Lemon told us on CNN, women actually can’t run for president because he said we’re past our prime once we get to our 40s. But since you have to be 35 to run, it’s like this really tiny window between 35 and 40,” she fired off.
Lemon had caused outrage with his own co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins when he reacted to Haley’s suggestion and said, “If you look it up. If you Google when is a woman in her prime, it’ll say 20, 30s, 40s.”
“And I’m just saying Nikki Haley should be careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. Because she wouldn’t be in her prime according to Google or whatever it is,” he went on.
As previously reported, those remarks resulted in backlash across the board as not only did Harlow reportedly storm off the set but Lemon was forced to issue a public apology and was left saying on the network’s Friday editorial conference call, “I’m sorry I don’t mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone. What I said came out wrong and I wish I hadn’t said it. I believe women of any age can do anything they set their minds to. The people I am closest to in this organization are women.”
Licht himself was left hefting some of the responsibility for Lemon’s remarks as he called the comments “upsetting, unacceptable and unfair” all while sources at the network criticized his plan for CNN that had “imploded in the evenings and now the network is a disaster, a complete dumpster fire, with so many people fired, laid-off, and they’re pumping out stories about Don.”
Meanwhile, the ratings showed that “Gutfeld!” was still dominating and had averaged 438 percent more viewers overall and, for the key demographic of those ages 25-54, had wrecked “Overtime” by more than 296 percent, according to Nielsen.
Gutfeld! Super Bowl ad triggers left as CNN new Bill Maher late night launch tankshttps://t.co/KP6e8Il4Nk
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) February 14, 2023
Haley too had gotten the better of Lemon’s inane analysis that treated a woman’s peak sexual years as the same as one’s apex in their professional career by tweeting, “Liberals can’t stand the idea of having competency tests for older politicians to make sure they can do the job. BTW it’s always the liberals who are the most sexist.”
The segment can be viewed below with the conversation about Haley’s competency test remarks beginning around the 2:50 mark.
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