‘I Am Not on the Left!’ CBS’s Dokoupil Shrieks When Called Out by Charlamagne

The tail end of Charlamagne tha God’s appearance on Thursday’s CBS Mornings ended on a deliciously uncomfortable note as the longtime radio host called out socialist co-host Tony Dokoupil as being part of “the left” and refusing to admit he’d be voting for Joe Biden. This led to a nervous Dokoupil twice shouting as the show went to break that he’s “not on the left”.

The CBS co-host found himself in this position in part due to his persistence in lecturing Charlamagne to not just vote for Joe Biden, but endorse him and encourage listeners to participate in the democratic process.

Dokoupil began by acknowledging the unease around the election and unpopularity of both President Biden and former President Trump and, after pointing out Charlamagne has said he’ll vote for but not wave pom-poms for Biden, he lectured the Breakfast Club host to do more to encourage voting:

You are saying that you are not endorsing Joe Biden, but you will vote for Joe Biden. And you point out in the book that a lot of people are on the couch. They don’t like either candidate. You’ve called them trash choices. Don’t you think you have a responsibility as somebody in the public eye to excite young people to get off the couch and make a choice because sitting out is a kind of a vote in its own way, it supports one or the other?

Thinking like any sane person would where politics isn’t central to their being, Charlamagne replied he “can’t lie to my audience” and thus, “if I’m not excited, why would I you know, lie to my audience and try to get them excited and I don’t think it’s my job, you know, to get people excited” but rather “the candidates”.

“[I]f they want people to be excited about voting, they probably should run better candidates,” he added, to which Dokoupil and Burleson wondered if this meant not voting at all, down to the state and local level. Unsurprisingly Charlamagne said that’s not what he meant.

Only then did the radio host give them what they were looking for with regards to bashing Trump as “a threat to democracy” and, in turn, a vote for him would mean supporting the end to your system of government (click “expand”):

CHARLAMAGNE: But it’s not even just about, you know, participating in democracy. This election is about protecting democracy —

GAYLE KING: Ahhh.

CHARLAMAGNE: — and you know, it’s funny to me, because, you know, I come on these programs and a lot of the left leaning programs, y’all just don’t know how to push narratives, because I’ll come on these program and say, I think Donald Trump is a threat to democracy. I’ll say that he, you know, suspended — he wanted to suspend the Constitution to overthrow the results of an election, you know, he led an attempted coup in his country, but you never lead with that. But if I say Joe Biden and the uninspiring candidate, that will be the headline.

DOKOUPIL: How about —

CHARLAMAGNE: — the right does a great job of pushing their narrative regardless.

DOKOUPIL: — yeah, but democracy dies if people don’t participate in it at all.

CHARLAMAGNE: I’m not telling people not to participate, I am voting. I’ve consistently said I’m voting and I’ve told you who I think the threat to democracy is, which is Donald Trump.

(….)

CHARLAMAGNE: [I]t’s three choices you have this year. You have the Republicans who are the crooks, the Democrats who are cowards because they don’t fight enough, and the couch, which is voter apathy. It is the candidate’s job to energize people to get off the couch. Only thing I can do is constantly tell you what I think and I think that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy. 

He added this kicker: “Now, Tony with me saying that, who do you think — who would you vote for with me saying that?”

Dokoupil insisted he’s “thinking about…democracy dying because people do not engage with it,” but Charlamagne kept pressing Dokoupil and rebutted the claim he’s not “engaged” in the democratic process.

Dokoupil then became nervous: “We’re — we’re going to get — we’re in trouble now on this commercial break. I’ll sell your book and then pay some bills.”

When Charlamagne said “I want Tony to answer the question” and Dokoupil kept ducking, he frustratingly declared this was emblematic of how “the left sucks at pushing” narratives.

This led to furious shouts from Dokoupil before reading a tease about a CBS Mornings Deals segment: “I am not on the left! I am not on the left.”

To see the relevant transcript from May 23, click here.

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