This is the cycle of death in the cable news industry:
*Given the medium’s 24-7 schedule, hosts are bound to say the stupidest things from time to time.
*There are various outlets, including this one, devoted to monitoring every minute of that schedule in hopes of busting those hosts for those stupid things.
*The cacophony stirred up by our ilk and by Twitter prompts cable news executives to “address” or to “apologize” for those stupid things.
*The almost inevitable insufficiency of those efforts produce another round of Internet-borne shaming, with the end result that cable news gets no better for all the oversight.
The latest example:
*Don Lemon last night interviewed alleged Bill Cosby rape victim Joan Tarshis.
*Acknowledging that Tarshis had been forced to perform oral sex on Cosby, Lemon pursued the following dialogue:
LEMON: You — you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.
TARSHIS: Oh, I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have.
LEMON: Meaning the using of the teeth, right?
TARSHIS: Yes. That’s what I’m, thinking…
LEMON: As a weapon.
TARSHIS: Yeah, I didn’t even think of it.
LEMON: Biting. So —
LEMON: Yes. I had to ask.
*People backlashed, via #DonLemonRapePreventionTips.
*Lemon this afternoon said exactly this about the situation: “As I am a victim myself, I would never want to suggest that any victim could have prevented a rape. If my question to her struck anyone as insensitive, I am sorry as that certainly was not my intention.”
*Factual problem: Whereas Lemon today states that he’d never want to suggest a victim could prevent a rape, that’s precisely what he stated last night as a premise to his question about biting. So that’s a problem. Though induction is very selective, Lemon may just get into the Insufficient Media Mea Culpa Hall of Fame with this one.