I am going to start with a Youtube video from 2015. I was not yet concerned about Trump winning the presidency, but I wasn’t going to count him out. I certainly did not find the possibility as laughable as The Very Sensible and Serious Minds of the Discourse found then Minnesota Congressperson Keith Ellison’s statement that Trump could win:
Note that Overly Celebrated Access Journalist Maggie Haberman finds it just so damn hilarious, she can barely stand it. So LOLtastic!
Maggie a few years later:
Life comes at you fast, and all that.
The point of this, dear reader, is some in our DC media corps are not exactly the all-knowing, reading-the-pulse-of-the-nation masters of foresight they believe themselves to be. They also seem to not have the ability to learn. They do have the ability to make some horrifying decisions.
This leads us to Trump’s CNN town hall fiasco on Wednesday night. Cassandra covered the horror show yesterday quite well, and I recommend reading her take on the entire disgusting spectacle. I did not bother watching it live but did watched parts of it later. I did not need to watch it to know what would happen. And even before it started, Often Disappointing Journalist Wolf Blitzer told us all that despite asking this very same question 146,942 times and getting the same result (Trump pooping on them), Wolf keeps going to that fetid well:
wolf blitzer on tv in the year 2023 asking if trump can strike a new tone
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) May 10, 2023
Strike a new tone? I am but a silly progressive who doesn’t understand how the world works, but good Lord, anyone with half a clue knew that Trump would be a ridiculous, disgusting fiasco. He has only one tone, and that is orange stupid, and somehow this is not getting picked up by the most seasoned of CNN political babblers.
This is the most generous benefit of the doubt I can give CNN. There is a lot of evidence this is something more nefarious. I give you Exhibit A, Chris Licht. When he took over CNN, many people rightfully were suspicious of his talk of making CNN more “even-handed.” Chris proved to have very thin skin over what he called “left-wing” criticism.
Licht’s reaction to the deep criticism about the Trump townhall (even from CNN journalists) was pretty much to double down. He was quite clear at a staff meeting this morning he thought it was a huge success.
I can only imagine how dismayed this made many CNN staffers feel. Because what CNN did was host a man who was found in court to have sexually abused and defamed writer E. Jean Carroll and give him a plaform to openly mock her. To make matters worse, he was in front of a crowd of supporters who laughed loudly at his mockery and additional defaming of one of his sexual assault victims. This was deep and profound cruelty to all sexual assault survivors.
Trump also said he would pardon January 6 rioters, and attacked the Capitol Police Officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, who was trying to break through a window to get into the House Speaker’s Lobby. He spewed the 2020 election bullshit and claimed he really won. This nonsense, by the way, cannot be referred to as The Big Lie on CNN as of last year, as per Licht.
Trump also would not say if he supports Ukraine and threw full support behind crashing the global economy by blowing up the debt ceiling negotiations. This was all part of a night that Licht declared a glowing victory for CNN.
Reaction immediately after on CNN itself was overwhelmingly negative, but last night, the big CNN names snapped into compliance.
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
For God’s sake, Anderson, this is not a debate about the estate tax. This is a serial sexual predator who is under multiple investigations and is openly hostile to democracy being allowed a platform. I mentioned earlier that thinking everyone at CNN are just idiots was the most generous reading of the situation and it is possible this is all about something more nefarious. My theory has to do with cable fee-for-carriage fees.
Carriage fees are what cable networks charge cable and satellite providers for the right to carry their programming. CNN’s competitor, Fox News, receives the second highest carriage fee next to ESPN. If you have cable, you are sending around two bucks a month to Fox News, even if you don’t watch it. Related to these fees, there is a problem for CNN, Fox News, ESPN, and other cable networks.
Cable companies are hemmoraging subscribers, and this is going to have a deep effect on these carriage fees. It will be very difficult to command the same level of carriage fee. These carriage fees are a significant portion of their income. CNN is a business, and businesses facing headwinds are not exactly known for ethics. Sink democracy by giving an open autocrat a huge platform to try to boost viewership? Is there a good argument that this isn’t a possiblity?
No matter what the reason, none of this bodes well for the 2024 election. As for the emcee of Wednesday night’s shitshow, Former Tucker Carlson Employee Kaitlan Collins…well, she has a new gig. Weeknights at 9 p.m. on CNN with Kaitlan, which no doubt will be an hour of whataboutism, both-sides, and “just asking questions.” I guess Licht is counting on a star being born on Wednesday night.
Can’t wait. Actually I can, because it will be a while before I turn on CNN again.
The last word goes to Casey Bill Weldon.