Deja Dude How Can You Be So Stupid?

I don’t really know if I can call today’s subject matter the most important American political event of the week just passed but it was certainly the most concerning.

CNN allowed Donald Trump to have a stacked town hall style event live on its air last week. I did not watch it. There was no need to. It was a predictable disaster but sadly even worse than I thought it would be.

To use a baseball analogy, CNN threw other than their number one starter in what should have been a big game. That was only mistake number three.

CNN did nothing to have the ability to cut off Trump’s microphone. That was still only mistake number two.

In a case of deja vu (2016) all over again, CNN held the event in the first place.

A huge part of why we endured (and barely survived) four years of Trump in the White House in the first place is that media gave him so much coverage during the 2016 campaign. They did it in the pursuit of ratings, clicks, readers, viewers and/or listeners. In the process they almost tumbled American democracy. Despite it proving to have been a mistake, I understand why they did it in 2016. Trump was outrageous and garnered attention. The alternative was to cover people like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders who talked policy which was boring by comparison. You knew they would behave like responsible adults; Trump, not so much.

In life hopefully we learn from our mistakes. CNN didn’t. Or was there an even darker motive? Under new and much more Trump friendly ownership, has CNN simply become a ratings whore?

Giving Trump a free hand, live, unedited microphone is irresponsible behavior for a legitimate news outlet. I hope CNN still strives to be one.

I understand the competitiveness of cable television. A Trump segment sells. It’s really that simple. A Vladimir Putin segment would sell too. I would hope you wouldn’t give him an open mic for an hour. The Trump segment should have taken a different format to be honest. The segment should have been taped, edited and have fact checks juxtaposed. Trump would have never agreed to that. Such is the “cost” of being a responsible journalistic outlet which CNN appears to have ceased to be. CNN wants to chase FOX in the ratings; it may well be imitating it in the process. I’m old enough to remember when the truth mattered at CNN; apparently it doesn’t anymore.

CNN’s own Jake Tapper – who is a bit higher in the “pitching rotation” than the interviewer who was chosen – summed it up best when he said, “We don’t have the time to fact-check every lie he told.” Exactly Jake, and that is why it never should have taken place in the format it did in the first place.

I spent last week Wednesday evening watching non-political TV of my wife’s choosing. It turned out to be a wise decision. I can’t say as much for CNN’s decision that evening.

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