As CNN reporter Don Lemon was reporting live from Ferguson, Mo., on Monday night after it was announced that police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for killing Michael Brown, he made an odd observation to the viewers at home and his colleague Anderson Cooper.
In describing the scene around him, Lemon said, “… obviously there’s the smell of marijuana in the air as well.”
When Lemon said it, my fiancee and I both sat up straight in our chairs.
And while Lemon and other reporters in Ferguson were under significant stresses on Monday evening, what he said makes no sense — and it wasn’t taken out of context either. The full text:
“We have heard gunshots this evening, a couple during the prosecutor’s announcement — Bob McCulloch’s announcement — and then just about maybe about a minute, two minutes ago, just before you went to (CNN reporter) Jason Carroll, we heard a gunshot, and then people started scattering and then now they’re moving back. And we’re watching people, they’re on top of roofs, the tops of cars, obviously there’s the smell of marijuana in the air, as well. But again, gunshots here, but police are on the scene. From our vantage point, that’s what we’re seeing, Anderson.”
From our vantage point, Lemon’s off-the-cuff filler was tonedeaf and troubling. And we weren’t alone. Amid the hoards of furious and befuddled CNN viewers on Monday night was hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who gave a strongly worded WTF to CNN:
Anderson Cooper/ CNN reporters putting this is perspective "almost everyone is peaceful".. Don lemon "obviously I smell Marijuana " wtf
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) November 25, 2014