Just in: CNN’s town hall with Donald Trump averaged 3.1 million total viewers. The event outrated Fox and MSNBC, as expected, but these are not 2015/16 level numbers for Trump — not even close.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 11, 2023
With its Republican presidential town hall on Wednesday, CNN failed journalism, the American public, and its own employees by deciding to invite an arsonist who has spent the past seven years trying to burn down their house.
We should remember that Trump regularly refers to CNN as “fake news,” and has trained his cult to see all media that is critical of him as the “enemy of the people.” As a result, CNN had to evacuate its NYC headquarters in 2018 due to a bomb threat. The next year, Cesar Sayoc, who sent functional pipe bombs to Trump’s critics, including CNN, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
In turn, CNN decided to reward Trump for his reckless and dangerous behavior by giving him a 70-minute Festivus to air his grievances and lies in front of a fawning cult of 400 sycophants in New Hampshire, which reflected the full spectrum of whiteness and cruelty.
According to NPR, CNN’s current CEO Chris Licht “told his staff they are re-establishing the channel’s original identity.” After witnessing this embarrassing town hall, one could not be faulted for assuming Licht believes that identity is one of masochism and self-immolation. [Continue reading…]
What the town hall really revealed is how committed the establishment media and the Republican party are to normalizing a political leader who has provably glorified violence against our American institutions and his political opposition. Even with all the fact-checks and critical analysis surrounding the event, what was laid bare is that even a former president under criminal investigation, one who just one day earlier was held liable for a sexual attack and defamation, will still be treated like any other popular candidate.
Media executives seem to think that if a presidential candidate like, say, Bernie Sanders were given a town hall, then Donald Trump should be given one, too. As if a chronic tendency for blatantly lying and stirring up violence on the basis of those lies shouldn’t disqualify a person from receiving live coverage where anything can happen, and frequently does.
That isn’t to say that Trump should be ignored or censored. It should not be too much to expect that a major news organization that seeks to set a high standard for credibility not provide an insurrectionist and his friends a hosted room where they all can whoop it up and laugh about sexual assault, among other things. [Continue reading…]