How CNN Could've Avoided the Trump Town Hall Disaster
Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

How CNN Could've Avoided the Trump Town Hall Disaster

Step one: Use a single ounce of common sense

I don’t usually like watching the news when I wake up. But I was a little curious about what was going on in the world when I saw the#boycottCNN hashtag trending on Twitter. I wondered what the hell had happened during my night in Europe. Immediately, I was hit with a diarrhea of coverage about CNN’s Trump town hall in New Hampshire the night before.

It felt as though I were back in 2016. I observed a self-assured, boastful Trump waving his arms around in characteristic Trumpian maestro fashion. There he was, proud as a peacock, repeating his lies as though they were truths, announcing that if he were elected, he’d end the war in Ukraine in 24 hours. Asserting that he would pardon most of those responsible for the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, because they were good people.

As he reiterated these lies, the audience was mesmerized, enamored, clapping at every turn. The one question that came to my mind was this: What the hell was CNN thinking?

They brought a wolf into the hen house and didn’t expect it to voraciously gobble everything in sight? Really, how idiotic could you be?

CNN displayed deplorable judgment in running this interview with Trump. They’ve lost a ton of credibility because of that stupid move.

As I watched the interview carry on and on and on, it was like watching a car speeding toward a concrete wall. At one point, you knew the inevitable crash would happen. The anchorwoman, Kaitlan Collins, tried her best. But Trump won the show, and in so doing, with all the visibility the channel gave him, all but assured his victory as the next president of the United States.

Mark my words: CNN, which loves to deem itself the savior of morality and decency, has become the one element to set him off on the path to success. Isn’t that ironic?

Here are 5 ways CNN could've avoided the disaster of a Trump town hall:

  1. Better screening of the audience. It was clear from the overzealous claps from the audience that most of the people in that theater were MAGA/Trump supporters. CNN should've done a better job of getting a balanced audience from all sides of the political spectrum in the room. That was a significant oversight.
  2. Over the years I have observed Trump, I’ve realized that he does not disrespect Black women as much as white women. Michelle Obama had a lot to say about his crassness, but he rarely retaliated. That tells me one thing: He must know Black women wouldn’t stand for that. CNN should've selected a Black anchorwoman to do this interview. I doubt Trump would've ever had the nerve to call her a nasty person as he did with the white anchorwoman. He clearly does not respect white women since he tends to "grab them by the p*ssy."
  3. This may sound radical but CNN should've had the courage to just stop airing the show. I don’t care how many millions it would have cost the network, once Trump started spewing lies and disrespecting the anchor, they should have just stopped the whole damn thing. By letting the program continue, they gave Trump a huge platform to spew his delirious mistruths and gain even more supporters. Shame on them.
  4. We all know Trump is a bully who loves to pick apart and humiliate his people. Why did CNN find it a good idea to only have one interviewer? They should have packed on two or even three so that Trump was outnumbered, outpowered, and outmaneuvered.
  5. The line of questioning was a strategic error. The questions should have been focused on what his plans are for the future—if he were to be elected come 2024. The questions should not have been based on the past. We know that the man is a disgruntled loser, why give him the opportunity to comment on the presidential elections and Jan. 6? Doing that just gave him a huge opportunity to send a smoke signal to his base and start organizing old and new voters to elect him into office in 2024.

All in all, CNN displayed deplorable judgment in running this interview with Trump. They’ve lost a ton of credibility because of that stupid move.

However, something tells me the decision to move ahead with this nonsense was made in a room full of old, privileged white men. Any Black or brown person who had directly or indirectly faced the brunt of Trump’s bullying and/or racism, would've signaled that it was a terrible idea.

Those white men made their decision in their corner with other like-minded men. There were no diverse voices in the room, I can tell you that. As a Black woman, I see white men take decisions like this every day. It makes me chuckle because they never learn.

In this case, that group of white men didn’t think Trump would dare be himself, but they were wrong. He outsmarted them all.

The way it stands right now, it seems like it is rather CNN than Fox that will hand over the keys to the White House to Trump for his second term. I hope you’re all getting ready for another spin on that crazy merry-go-round.

This post originally appeared on Medium and is republished with author's permission. Read more of Rebecca Stevens A.'s work on Medium.