Earlier this week, host Don Lemon was fired by CNN after a series of controversies stemming from some of his on-air comments and from his treatment of women colleagues. A YouGov poll fielded in the days following his ouster finds that most Americans have heard either a lot (23%) or a little (49%) about it. More approve than disapprove of Lemon's firing by the network, and a larger share expects his removal will be good for CNN overall than expect it to be bad for the news channel. Regular viewers of CNN also are generally supportive of the network firing Lemon. The share of people who primarily watch CNN and have an opinion of Lemon who trust him has fallen in the past year.
Americans are twice as likely to strongly or somewhat approve (42%) of Lemon's firing by CNN than to strongly or somewhat disapprove (21%) of it. People who say CNN is the cable news network they watch most often also approve of Lemon leaving, by a margin of 52% to 32%.
Roughly one-third of Americans (34%) say Lemon's ouster will have no effect on CNN overall, but those who say it will have an effect are more likely to say it will be good for the network (26%) than bad (10%). People who watch CNN more than other cable news networks are even more likely to view Lemon's departure as good (40%) rather than bad (11%) for the network.
An Economist/YouGov poll conducted roughly a year ago — in March 2022 — found that Don Lemon ranked 13th out of 15 news personalities asked about, in terms of share of people who had an opinion about each one's trustworthiness and them to be trustworthy. Among this group for Lemon, 30% said he was trustworthy, 47% untrustworthy, and 22% neither trustworthy nor untrustworthy. In the days following his firing, trustworthiness of Lemon among people with an opinion of him and his trustworthiness changed little: 33% say he is trustworthy, 43% say untrustworthy, and 24% say he is neither trustworthy nor untrustworthy.
Among people for whom CNN is their primary cable news source, however, trust in Lemon has fallen in the past year. The share of CNN viewers who have an opinion of his trustworthiness and find him to be trustworthy has declined 15 percentage points, to 47% from 62%.
— Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contributed to this article
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Methodology: This poll was conducted online on April 25 - 28, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 28% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.
Image: Getty (Mike Pont)