Former President Donald Trump will appear on Fox News tonight (June 1) for a town hall hosted by Sean Hannity. The taping will take place in Iowa in the afternoon and air at 9 p.m. ET. Trump canceled a previous visit to the Hawkeye State due to inclement weather. His trip coincidentally follows a few days of stumping for votes by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
According to the Des Moines CBS affiliate KCCI-TV, the former president will begin his day speaking to the Westside Conservative Club at a local restaurant. That will be followed by the Hannity taping, and finally Trump will attend a “private meeting with local pastors.”
This event comes on the heels of a controversial CNN town hall, which garnered a whopping 3.3 million viewers. These are numbers CNN has never seen in its ratings column. Still, CNN CEO Chris Licht took a ton of heat for the program, which juxtaposed a MAGA-friendly audience with a pit bull-style female host. Kaitlan Collins seemed to believe with every fiber of her Hillary Clinton white pantsuit that she had cornered the market on truth. Her performance was nothing short of disgraceful as she repeatedly shouted down the former president and contradicted him, maintaining that what he was saying was “untrue” – at least in her book.
Trump, Hannity – A Dynamic Duo?
So what can Hannity hope to accomplish, and, moreover, what is Trump’s goal for this evening? Let’s begin with Fox.
Without a doubt, Fox has bitten the hand that fed them. The businessman turned president turned businessman again was a proven ratings blockbuster for Fox. Then election 2020 happened, and cordial relations between Trump and the house that Murdoch built went south.
To make matters worse, Dominion Voting named Fox in a massive lawsuit. Fox eventually settled, but the price tag was high — $787.5 million, to be exact. But that may not have been the whole enchilada. Social media is awash with those who have speculated that Fox made a quiet side deal to eliminate their uncontrollable star and proven ratings winner Tucker Carlson. There is no hard evidence, and it remains just theory and conjecture at this point.
But there is hard evidence that the rift between 45 and Fox has cost the news outlet dearly. Conservatives are tuning out in droves. All one need do is read Sean Hannity’s Twitter feed. When he announced tonight’s town hall, he was served with a super-sized order of anti-Foxxers who claim they wouldn’t watch the Murdoch network if their lives depended on it.
So theory one is that Fox is having Trump on merely as a ratings boost. Theory two is that it’s difficult to maintain you are the “fair and balanced” cable news outfit if you completely ignore the man who is polling highest in the race for the Republican nomination.
Turning to possible Trump benefits: He will finally have an opportunity to speak without a host interrupting him constantly and calling him a liar. That’s not a bad start. He will also be able to talk to a large audience of people who lean into his message of America First. While Fox is not the only conservative media game in town, it is still far and away the big man on campus in the world of cable TV news. Lastly, it will give the former president an open forum to express his views on where he wants to take the country and how he plans to get there.
One benefit of a televised town hall is that it provides more thorough answers from the candidates because they have more airtime. American political debates have become opportunities for ambitious news talent to strut their stuff, and, in doing so, the candidates are subject to incessant interruptions and buzzers going off to indicate their time is up. “Mr. Trump, how can you fix the US economy? You have 15 seconds to answer.” This type of theater of the absurd is more the rule than the exception these days, and the American people are all the poorer for it.
It’s unlikely the former president will have much new to say, but that doesn’t really matter in the end. At the very least, the viewer can expect a civil discussion. As well, Trump is a proven draw simply because he’s a blunt instrument unabashedly saying what many think, not to mention that he’s just plain fun to watch.
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