If you had predicted three years ago, or even three months ago, that Donald Trump would appear during primetime on a channel he famously and endlessly characterized as the poster child for “fake news,” you might well have been escorted to the nearest mental health facility. But sure enough, in these times where all our assumptions about politics have been challenged amidst the ever more divided and fragile state of the nation, the 45th president of the United States on Wednesday evening actually appeared on – gasp! – CNN. Yes, it was Donald Trump on CNN – let that sink in.
Now, if you are looking for the reason the former president was granted a platform – for a full 90 minutes in the coveted 8:00 PM slot, no less – on a channel that unleashed a near-religious crusade against the man, sacrificing its journalistic credibility at the altar of Trump derangement, it can be summed up in one word: ratings.
Trump on CNN – Stranger in a Strange Land
One day after a five million dollar judgment against him in the E. Jean Carroll civil trial, Trump’s appearance on the struggling cable channel began with a rousing ovation from the audience of Republicans and undeclared voters in New Hampshire, the GOP’s first presidential primary state – Democrats have moved their initial contest to South Carolina. Host Kaitlan Collins immediately launched into questions about January 6 and tried to get Trump to admit he lost the 2020 election, and to answer to election officials in Georgia, Arizona, and elsewhere who concluded that Joe Biden won fair and square. Trump pulled out a paper with his exact quotes from January 5 and 6 to dispute the notion that he had incited the Capital riot.
Collins continued to interrupt him repeatedly, and when Trump had finally had enough, he called her a “nasty person” as only Trump can – likely a badge of honor for her among her fellow legacy journalists protecting Joe Biden while pretending they are not. The 31-year-old Collins, acting every bit the youngster, behaved as if her job was to contradict everything Trump said. Why CNN would select someone so clearly wet behind the ears to host such an event instead of a veteran like Wolf Blitzer is anyone’s guess.
Trump discussed how strong the economy was during his time in the Oval Office before the onset of the pandemic, contrasting it with the country now caught between the bookends of inflation and an impending recession. He said the nation was “rocking and rolling” under his economic stewardship, and he urged Republicans to stand firm in the debt ceiling debate, predicting Democrats will cave if the GOP does not buckle. And in a declaration that will undoubtedly serve as yet another subject of alarm in the political establishment, he even expressed an openness to allowing the country to default if Biden and the Democrats remain inflexible in addressing the once-unthinkable $31 trillion national debt. On the issue of abortion, he was sure to remind the audience of his appointment of three Supreme Court justices who turned the tables on Roe v. Wade, but uncharacteristically sidestepped questions about whether he would support a federal ban on abortion.
A Lost Cause?
Ratings are what pays the bills, and Trump’s appearance represents a naked, though admittedly clever, attempt by CNN to bolster its rock-bottom viewership. Evidently, any extra viewers will now do when you are last in the ratings and drawing a pitiable 122,000 in primetime, even Trump supporters. It is a transparent effort to restore CNN’s image as a credible news operation, like the good old days, which now seem long ago, when we didn’t actually laugh or curse at the self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news,” a slogan they quietly dropped while Trump was president. But after being roundly criticized for providing billions of dollars in free media to Trump in 2016 and thus contributing to his victory over Hillary Clinton, CNN has gone right back to the well, much to the chagrin of leftists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said CNN should be “ashamed of themselves” for inviting Trump.
The majordomos at CNN were desperate for the ratings boost this one event is likely to provide, to the point that they were reduced to handing primetime over to a man they have treated with utter scorn and contempt. But Trump won the night, simply by showing up, by itself a demonstration of how far the once-respectable cable channel has fallen – far enough to ask their enemy to help bail them out. He did, but if CNN believes this one gesture will restore their journalistic integrity, we can do little but tell them good luck with that.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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