By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 12, 2023 |
By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 12, 2023 |
Our political culture is still reeling over CNN’s ill-conceived decision to host a Donald Trump Town Hall. The good news is that it only attracted 3.1 million viewers, which is actually far fewer than Joe Biden’s CNN Town Hall last year. Trump may have lost some of his ability to goose the ratings, which makes CNN’s decision to host him all the more imprudent. CNN not only hurt its reputation but it got nothing in exchange for it, and it sure as hell did not attract any long-term Fox News viewers over to the network.
Anderson Cooper, however, tried to defend CNN’s decision on his show last night. It’s preachy and sanctimonious, and I doubt even he believes what he’s saying.
Cooper: You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again. But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away? pic.twitter.com/xzVEgaGeDT— Acyn (@Acyn) May 12, 2023
“Now, many of you think CNN shouldn’t have given him any platform to speak. And I understand the anger about that - giving him the audience, the time. I get that. But this is what I also get. The man you were so disturbed to see and hear from last night? That man is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president. And according to polling, no other Republican is even close.”
And how did he get to be the frontrunner, Anderson? Would it have anything to do with the fact that your network — and others — gave him all the free airtime he could ever want leading up to the 2016 election. Then for the next four years, networks like CNN built their entire operation around his tweets. Cable news has been dictated largely by one man for the last seven years, and the news networks do not know how to cover the news unless it is in relation to Donald Trump. Cable news is a professional troll-feeding operation now.
“So, if last night showed anything, it showed it can happen again. It is happening again.”
No one needs to be told this, Anderson. No one is oblivious to it because CNN, the NYTimes, Politico, The Washington Post, and the New York Post will not allow us to be oblivious to it. We have never been given a moment’s peace. The minute Biden was sworn into office, the news media started banging the drum about 2024 and reminding us of who the frontrunner for the Republican nomination is. Every week a new poll. The news is always about how he can still win instead of how he shouldn’t win. The news industry has abrogated its responsibility to democracy as though it no longer has a vested interest in it. Another Trump victory is bad for the free press because there will no longer be a free press.
“He hasn’t changed, and he is running hard.”
If he hasn’t changed, then what news value was there in putting him on the airwaves? We know who Donald Trump is. We know he hasn’t changed. The Town Hall was not news. It was a 70-minute Klan rally.
“You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again.”
It’s a serious consideration, Anderson, all due respect to you. You’ve done some great work. Some real journalism. Defending your network’s ill-advised decision to host a Donald Trump Town Hall does not fall within that category.
“But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away? If we all only listen to those we agree with, it may actually do the opposite.”
These echo chambers of which Anderson speaks barely exist anymore, particularly for liberals. People like Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and Tucker Carlson are inescapable because, again, the news industry so often allows them to set the agenda and because they use their money to buy the channels of communication. It’s no longer about policy — it hasn’t been for years — it’s about winning or losing, or watching winners lose, or losers win. Trump has spent years pitting two sides against each other, and the news industry has gone right along with him because it’s good for the share price.
“If lies are allowed to go unchecked, as imperfect as our ability to check them is on a stage in real-time, those lies continue and those lies spread.”
Everyone knows that Trump lies, even the people who support him. MAGA has chosen to believe his lies anyway, and no amount of fact-checking will change their mind. The rest of us don’t need fact-checking because we already know the man hasn’t told the truth since 2009.
“If you’re angry or upset, I understand, but you have the power to do something about it.”
Yes, we can stop watching CNN.
“You can actually get involved. You can make a difference, whatever side of the aisle you’re on. After last night, none of us can say, ‘I didn’t know what’s out there. I didn’t know what’s coming.’”
Do you think we’re blind? Do you think that we weren’t aware that Donald Trump — the most omnipresent figure in politics — wasn’t out there? We try to block the man out. Oh god, do we ever try. But y’all won’t let us because you refuse to treat him like the deranged lunatic fascist that he is. This man belongs in prison. His ravings belong on a Times Square sidewalk. He should be shunned by the news media; he should not be given a platform. He’s the frontrunner for the Republican nomination because he is given a platform. Read the man’s screeds on Truth Social. He is not well. Treat him as such. Stop giving oxygen to politicians who are clearly unfit for office because it might provide a temporary boost to the ratings.
Donald Trump is not a serious person. Do not treat him seriously.