The “Town Hall” that CNN foisted on its viewers this week was a fraud. It had nothing to do with helping potential Republican primary voters look behind the curtain and gain insight. It had everything to do with a circus performance by an old, tired, mean, and angry Clown.
I didn’t watch the whole thing. I watched about the first 15 minutes, leaving shortly after the hand-picked audience chortled in response to The Clown’s smirking remarks about having been found liable for sexual assault some 24 hours earlier.
One report suggested that some 3.1 million people watched the program. On the one hand that’s about five times the normal CNN prime time audience; on the other, that was about a normal Tucker Carlson night when there was a Tucker Carlson night.
I wonder how many people tuned in just to see if The Clown wore a sequined jump suit borrowed from Elvis’ closet and then tired of the act pretty quickly.
Kaitlan Collins, who was the ringmaster of the show, did everything CNN could have asked of her. She tried to talk over The Clown, tried to expose his lies in real time, tried to allow questions from the friendly audience interspersed with her questions, and tried to keep the circus moving from the trapeze artists to the elephant act.
Physically it was a mismatch. Collins weighs about a hundred-and-nothing; The Clown must go about 250. Clown towered over the diminutive Collins and, as he has done all his life tried to use his physical size to intimidate Kaitlan Collins.
She never backed up and never backed down.
Trump (I’ve gotten “The Clown” business out of my system) gets on a roll and the words come out with no filter and, in spite of her having memorized the truth about every lying answer Trump might verbally vomit, he just talked over her looking for (and often finding) applause or laugh lines that would appeal to the jokers to the right.
At one point he glared at Collins and called her a “nasty person” as (according to Forbes.com) “the audience cheered and burst into laughter.”
When you’re a star, they let you call women unflattering names. Been that way for a million years.
Going back in more recent time, CNN wants to change its image from a ATL-DCA-JFK centric network to something that Liberty Media’s boss (and big stakeholder in CNN), John Malone feels more comfortable talking about with his billionaire buddies at the club.
So, the CEO of CNN, Chris Licht, has been taking a sledgehammer to the lineup trying to remake a network into Fox-Light (or Fox-Licht, not to waste a pun). Licht is like the skinny kid in the schoolyard who is desperate to be included in the cool kids’ group but ends up losing his lunch money.
SOMEONE at CNN thought giving Trump 70 minutes of airtime was a good idea. I could have seen the logic, were it not for the E. Jean Carroll decision of the previous day.
Trump was adjudged to be a sexual predator, if not in a legal sense, then certainly in the social understanding of the term.
“Wattaya doin’ this afternoon, Donald?”
“I thought I’d go down to Bergdorfs, hang out near the dressing rooms, and and see if there are any attractive blondes to assault.”
“Have fun storming the castle!”
Who does that? Well, we know the answer.
No one in the known universe would have faulted CNN for cancelling after the unanimous verdict was announced. In fact, someday, someone who was on the call or in the meeting where this was discussed will ‘fess up to the fact that the big, bright ratings balloon was too appealing to ignore.
On the post-mortem call the next morning, Licht was reported by former CNN media anchor Brian Smelter to have said,
“We made a lot of news” and that is CNN’s “job.”
No, Licht. Making news is not CNN’s job. REPORTING the news is CNN’s job.
Or, used to be.
See you next week.