CNN's Don Lemon had a lively debate with two conservative guests about journalists' use of the "n-word" in their reporting on Saturday night.
Lemon had previously said that journalists should use the full term when reporting, instead of saying the "n-word." His stance prompted a fiery response from some critics, including NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard.
On Saturday, he brought Sheppard and BigJournalism.com's Dana Loesch on-air to discuss the issue. Sheppard noted that CNN's Suzanne Candiotti said both the n-word and f-word in full last Sunday. "It seemed a little bit peculiar to me... that suddenly CNN seems to be saying it's acceptable to use this when in the media for a... couple of decades, we weren't allowed to say that word so why is it suddenly acceptable?" he asked.
"My point was more about political correctness run amok," Lemon responded. He said that conservatives frequently take aim at political correctness. "So Noel, speaking out against political correctness is okay when you do it, but not when I do it?" he asked.
Sheppard said that now is not the "right time" for the debate, given the Trayvon Martin case and Barack Obama's re-election campaign. "The nation is on the precipice of conceivably a very, very serious racial tension, or maybe even, heck, maybe even a race war," he said.
Lemon said that the idea of a "race war" was a stretch. Later, he clarified that he only supported the use of the word "purely in the reporting of a story." He also referenced his use of the word in a past report on the former name of Rick Perry's hunting camp. "I don't understand how understand how saying that is ginning up racism to help President Obama," he said.