Imagine if TV cameras had somehow captured Walter Cronkite stumbling around totally shitfaced and grabbing women’s asses during a CBS holiday party back in the early ’70s. Or a dead-drunk Edward R. Murrow slurring his words and losing his train of thought while reporting on the London blitz in 1940. No question about it — CNN’s Don Lemon descending into an alcoholic abyss last night was one for the books.
Lemon and colleague Brooke Baldwin were doing a light-hearted CNN remote from The Spotted Cat in New Orleans. Lemon reportedly began downing shots of tequila before 9 pm. “People are saying that I’m lit,” Lemon said . “Yeah, I’m lit. Who cares?”
Since when do network news anchors get drunk before millions of viewers? On the other hand I felt a certain sympathy for Lemon, who had apparently decided to throw decorum out the window as…what, an expression of nihilistic fuck-all despair over the coming reign of Donald Trump?
Imagine the shame that Lemon must be feeling now — the shame and the feeling of last night’s poison coursing through his veins and the “wow, what the fuck did I do?” confusion. Imagine the look he gave himself as he stared into the bathroom mirror at 7:30 this morning.
Lemon was ready to submit to a nipple-piercing after Times Square co-anchor Kathy Griffin suggested this (he actually began to unbutton his shirt), but Baldwin talked him out of it. He also lamented that he was too work-oriented and pledged that he might be more open to a relationship in the coming year.
A sloshed Chet Huntley speaking to an equally hammered David Brinkley during New Year’s Eve coverage in 1966: “You know, David…sometimes I wish I was single. I’m fairly wealthy, I’m famous and there are all these women around. I’m telling you it’s a tragedy. And my wife and I, to be honest…all right, I won’t go there. But God, would I love to sew a few wild oats before it’s too late! I mean, let’s face it, David…we’re both gonna be dead some day.”