CNN's Don Lemon ekes out narrow victory over Jim Acosta in second round of viral 'hack' tournament

CNN’s Don Lemon attacks Trump supporters: It’s not Donald Trump’s issue, it’s yours

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“CNN Tonight” anchor Don Lemon eked out a narrow victory against his colleague Jim Acosta in what historians could call the greatest rematch ever in the history of the “Liberal Hack Tournament.” 

Last year, the two CNN stars went head-to-head in the “Fake News” division of the tournament. Acosta, a No. 1 seed at the time, decisively defeated Lemon, a No. 6 seed, with the then-White House correspondent getting nearly 62% of the vote.

Acosta went on to face Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin in the Final Four, but was defeated in an unprecedented sudden death match after the two aspiring “hacks” split the vote. 

This year, Lemon, a No. 7 seed, was fueled by vengeance and pulled a stunning upset against the No. 2 seed in the “Fake News” division, getting more than 53% of the more than 10,000 votes cast. Experts suggest Acosta went into this year’s tournament weakened by the departure from office of his longtime foe President Trump.

“Some claim Acosta went soft when Trump left office but Don Lemon really came to play. 2021 has become a year for upsets and this tourney promises plenty more excitement in the coming rounds.” a tournament analyst from the “Ruthless” podcast told Fox News. 

Lemon will next meet MSNBC host Joy Reid, who handily defeated colleague Chris Hayes as a No. 3 seed with more than 75% of the vote. 

However, Lemon wasn’t the only would-be “Hack” who pulled an upset in the second . No. 7 seed Jake Tapper cleaned No. 2 seed Max Boot’s clock in the “Liberal Activists” division, earning 53.4% of the vote. Tapper, who was eliminated in the second round last year, will next compete against another CNN colleague, political analyst Ana Navarro.


CNN’s left-wing media guru Brian Stelter is still the biggest threat as the returning “Hack” champion, blowing out his CNN colleague April Ryan with 92.6% of the vote. Many believe he will certainly return in the Final Four and some are convinced he will hold onto the title as the biggest “Hack” in the biz. 

But #HackMadness is far from over, especially with new blood competing for glory. New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones and PBS NewsHour Yamiche Alcindor will also be heading into the “Liberal Hack” Sweet 16. 

Matchups in the “Establishment” and “Way-Too-Online” divisions will conclude on Tuesday. CNN’s chief legal analyst and No. 16 seed Jeffrey Toobin is still charging ahead amid the fallout of his Zoom masturbation scandal. Also Bulwark editor-at- Bill Kristol appears to be holding a steady lead over MSNBC star Rachel Maddow, a Final Four participant in 2020. 


The tournament, sponsored by “Ruthless,” is a viral NCAA-style contest pitting members of the mainstream media against each other in the ultimate fight to become the supreme hack. The matchups are conducted on Twitter by conservative personality and “Ruthless” co-host Comfortably Smug. 

“Ruthless,” is also co-hosted by Josh Holmes and Michael Duncan, is described as a “variety progrum” that “brings the next generation of conservative talk to the next level.” New episodes are released every Tuesday and Thursday. 

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