The reviews are in for CNN’s much bally-hooed and confounding Trump town hall, and for the most part, they are scathing. Full disclosure: I was employed by a Hollywood-based division of CNN in the nineties. The CNN of that era would not have staged a trainwreck like this.
In a blatant grab for ratings and relevance, CNN honcho Chris Licht had his minions schedule a town hall with former president Donald Trump. Inexplicably, Licht didn’t pull the plug on the event even after a verdict in journalist E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit was reached only the day before. The 79-year-old Carroll had alleged that Trump had sexually assaulted her several decades earlier. Never mind that the 76-year-old Trump has already been indicted on 23 counts by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg. Down the road, Trump faces the possibility of more indictments in other jurisdictions.
Even New York Times fashion editor Vanessa Friedman couldn’t resist piling on. Of Collins she wrote that her power-white pantsuit and debate prep were not “powerful enough to stop the Trump steamroller (or to stop the criticism of CNN for hosting the event).“
Behind-the-scenes power brokers reportedly gave Chris Licht a mandate to rid CNN of all liberal bias. Whether such a bias exists is debatable. In my opinion, handing Trump 70 minutes of airtime to rehash his tired lies about the 2020 election serves only to make CNN look desperate to please Trump voters.