The Washington Post’s Jeremy Barr reports for those of you who found something better to do on a Wednesday night than listen to ex-President Donald Trump fictionalize recent American political history for more than an hour:
During a roughly 70-minute-long forum with likely Republican voters in New Hampshire on Wednesday night, CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins attempted to correct inaccurate claims made by former president Donald Trump about many topics — but she found her rebuttals falling on deaf ears.
As the crowd cheered throughout Trump’s boasts and falsehoods, Collins repeatedly pushed back when Trump said the 2020 election was “stolen.”
“The election was not rigged, Mr. President,” Collins said. “You can’t keep saying that all night long.”
But he did…
Instead of nailing Trump to the wall once and for all on the historic amalgamation of lies and prejudice that fueled his rise to power and defined his chaotic presidency, ending in removal from office tainted by an attempted insurrection, CNN appears to have demonstrated again how accountability is basically impossible to extract from an unflappable liar like Donald Trump. Even when host Kaitlin Collins was able to follow up with a fact-check, it didn’t matter, because the pro-Trump audience preferred to believe Trump. Politico captured the moment well:
Steamrolling his way through a made-for-primetime spectacle, Trump maintained his lie that the 2020 election was rigged, refused to pledge to accept the results of the 2024 election and called his interviewer a “nasty person.” And he had the crowd on his side for all of it, cheering his answers and laughing at his jokes…
The crowd applauded, laughed and cheered as Trump discussed his decision making on Jan. 6, said he was “inclined” to pardon “many” of the defendants from that day, continued to call the 2020 election “rigged,” and suggested former Vice President Mike Pence should have done more to overturn the election.
There was laughter in the room when he belittled E. Jean Carroll, the former magazine advice columnist to whom a jury in Manhattan awarded $5 million in damages.
In the end, Trump turned this “town hall” event into a campaign rally at the expense of CNN’s airtime and (more importantly) reputation, and proved correct critics who warned that giving Trump any kind of platform would result in a net disservice to the truth CNN is nominally dedicated to reporting. Colorado’s “Ultra-MAGA” go-to Rep. Lauren Boebert rejoiced this morning that “President Trump destroyed Kaitlin Collins.” We have no doubt that CNN attracted a large audience of disaffected Fox News viewers, but the total failure to counter Trump’s serial falsehoods brought CNN’s credibility to the level of Fox News.
With Trump enjoying a commanding lead in Republican primary polling and once-favored challenger Ron DeSantis sputtering before his campaign even launches, last night did a great deal to cement Trump’s status as the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee. Republicans who already harbor contempt for the mainstream media were thrilled to see Trump effortlessly powering through fact-checking attempts. The same lies that repel a majority of Americans resonate with a majority of Republicans.
There’s no sugar-coating it, folks. Last night was a bad night for American democracy, but even worse for Republicans who want to move on from Donald Trump. Sources keep insisting to us that such Republicans exist, but today they have never seemed less relevant.
I don't fault CNN for putting the asshole on the air. He is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, has a track record for better or worse (IMHO, overwhelming worse), and was a one-term president. The time for the media to ignore him was 8 years ago.
I do fault CNN for the audience. Whose brilliant idea was it to pack the crowd with MAGAts? I say put him on CNN with an audience selected by the Squad.
CNN can do as they like of course, but I think it's destructive to the truth, to the media, and to democracy to give a platform to such a vile human being with no other goal for the evening other than to distort reality to his liking. CNN allowed themselves to be used by Trump to distribute a pack of lies that doubt many of his followers will act upon, and as we all now know is a very bad thing. He loves these events because he can endlessly lie without being checked in real time, and the result is it ends up looking like a difference of opinion instead of the truth versus lies. Nobody should give this man oxygen anymore. One man's opinion…
It would also be a fine opportunity to repurpose a large quantity of recently expired produce. I will gladly volunteer time and treasure.
“sources keep insisting to us that such Republicans exist. But today they have never seemed less relevant.”
Pols forgets the narrow victories for Biden in AZ, GA, WI, in 2020. At the time, between 10 and 15% of the GOP rank and file were Never-Trumpers. It was really simple to withhold a vote for president; or hold one’s nose and vote for Biden; and then vote for down-ballot Republicans.
Pols shouldn’t allow itself to be distracted by Biden’s landslide win here in Colorado.
Agreed. Trump has the inside track to the nomination, and a very real chance at winning a second term, which would devastate the nation.
America won't be done with Trump until he's started a civil war, gets locked up for good, or goes to the giant McDonald's in the sky.
Good advice to Pols CB. Nobody should be distracted by how badly Republicans lost in Colorado in 2018, 2020 & 2022. They shouldn't be distracted by the abortion rulings or indictments. Stay focused on scaring the shit out of us with the prospect of a 2nd Trump term.
So, CNN should offer a similar platform for Joe Biden (the sole Democratic candidate) in front of an audience of supportive Dem South Carolina primary voters.
Not sure if Biden would accept, though.
That is precisely what CNN should have done. Back in the day – when we had the fairness doctrine – a network would have been required to give the opponent equal time.
The thing is … if CNN was hoping for a ratings bonanza from this circus, they are going to be sadly disappointed.
So they traded their journalistic standards and integrity for a short-term ratings boost. Which then fell short.
Gosh … what a pity.
Exactly. I think CNN is now embracing the Fox model. Ratings over truth and journalistic integrity.
CNN does not need Trump's help in being trashed. They are doing a really good job of it themselves.
They are being criticized for giving Trump a soapbox. My criticism of them is they not only gave him the soapbox, but then proceeded to bait him. What little I saw of the town hall (I can't stand to actually watch Trump talk) was the CNN staff directing the conversation, whether it was to Trump or to the Trump supporters who was the "viewer jury." I was actually in full agreement with one the jurors who was pointing this out.
Once again, I beg for CNN to return to being a NEWS source rather than a political commentary channel.
Best reaction I saw was advice for what the "moderator" should have done.
"There was laughter in the room when he belittled E. Jean Carroll, the former magazine advice columnist to whom a jury in Manhattan awarded $5 million in damages."
The "shoulda" comment to the moderator — walk up to one of those laughing men and ask … do you have a daughter? a sister? a wife? Would you want them to experience the actions a jury in a court of law determined Trump did?
My favorite question when folks laugh at insults "Why do you find that funny?"
Because when the moron leader laughs, they laugh. When the moron leader cries, they cry. When the moron leader picks his nose and farts, they pick their noses and fart.
Monkey see, monkey do.
I would like to see an interview with Trump where the interviewer keeps asking clarifying questions whenever Trump gives a flippant answer or insults someone.
I know interviewers have multiple subjects they want to get through in a relatively short amount of time but I'd rather hear one substantial answer to one subject instead of superficial slogans and lies on multiple subjects. The "you're not answering the question but we have more questions so lets move on" interview strategy benefits Trump because he has no substance.
Totally agree Chickenheed. Fat Donnie's pattern is to lie, move on, lie, move on, lie again, move on, and drown out/talk over/insult the interviewer. Cover each subject in 30 seconds or less – nothing new and nothing learned. Such irritating, completely tedious horseshit.