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Anderson Cooper Now Thinks The Trump Town Hall Shouldn't Have Happened

By Andrew Sanford | Politics | September 6, 2023 |

By Andrew Sanford | Politics | September 6, 2023 |


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I love The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” episodes. Now that it’s officially spooky season (I start early; You don’t have to.), I’ll begin marathoning them as much as possible. A segment of “Treehouse Of Horror VI” has always stuck with me. It’s called “Attack Of The 50-Foot Eyesores,” and in it, giant billboard monsters come to life and attack the town. They’re only defeated when Lisa and Paul Anka remind people they can thwart attention-seeking monsters by ignoring them. It’s silly, but it makes a lot of sense. Some people, bullies, in particular, run on attention. Like former President of the United States and Man With All The Indictments, Donald Trump (less than lovingly known as TFG).

TFG appeared on a CNN Town Hall back in May. He pulled all his usual dirty, cowardly tactics that his voters love and had a massive audience to do those tricks for. The asshole was found to have raped E Jean Carroll by a jury of his peers, and in 24 hours was given a microphone and platform. Viewers were rightfully upset that TFG was given any time at all. I remember arguing with my father, someone who identifies as liberal, for essentially hate-watching the Hall. It’s a pointless endeavor. Hate is attention, and like most gaudy billboard monsters, attention makes TFG stronger.

The Town Hall happened thanks to former CNN head Chris Licht. Licht was fired by everybody’s least favorite CEO, David Zaslav, less than a month after the Town Hall (about a year into Licht’s tenure). Still, before Licht was taken into Central Park and left for dead, members of CNN defended the decision to air the Town Hall. Anderson Cooper went on air and gave a full-throated endorsement of the event. He looked at the CNN audience and said, “I know you’re angry, but this makes us money.” OK, I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist. Despite the occasional “I hear you,” it was clear that Cooper supported the decision.

The most egregious part of Cooper’s defense is his claim that after TFG got to spew his lies, people could no longer act like TFG doesn’t do that. There was an implication that we were learning something new about TFG. We weren’t. He’s a liar who lies. A lot of people make money off of those lies, even the people who claim to detest them. CNN knew that and gave attention to the monster regardless, leaving TFG free to destroy Springfield with his giant donut.

Now that Licht has been fired, would it surprise you to learn Cooper is claiming he was against the Town Hall? It shouldn’t! In a sitdown with the New York Times , Cooper claimed that he wouldn’t have offered TFG a Town Hall for his first return to CNN, insinuating that TFG should have been offered a different way to lie to viewers. Hindsight is 20/20, after all. He’s not entirely flip-flopping here. That Cooper would still be willing to give TFG a platform of any kind proves that he learned nothing from the incident.

I don’t expect Cooper to apologize. He has no need to. His job, seemingly, is safe. It is, however, deeply funny to me that he is dancing on Licht’s grave like this. A chunk of the interview is Cooper performing a kind of post-mortem on the CNN head’s tenure. He can do that now. He’s safe from the repercussions. Meanwhile, the rest of us just want Homer to lose interest in the big, loud monster.