My Personal Side
By Craig Hastings
I don’t know if you heard but, of all news media outlets, CNN hosted a town hall meeting in St. Anselm College in New Hampshire last Wednesday night and invited Donald Trump as their guest. Of the several experienced moderators available at CNN they tapped Kaitlan Collins to moderate this town hall. As hard as Collins tried to rattle the former president, she failed time and time again. To say Trump was prepared is an understatement. It seemed as though he was given a list of the probable topics that would be thrown at him. Some questions he answered with serious and well thought out responses. But other questions Collins pressed him with, he was able to turn them into a one liner comedy show. The live audience seemed to love the performance and broke out in laughter at some answers and cheered the former president with his answers to other questions. The fallout was swift and heavy from Democrats of CNN. However I’m sure they were as giddy as ants in sugar when they first learned that Trump was indeed going to accept the invitation from CNN and actually show up in “enemy territory.”
This went so bad for CNN that they shortened the originally scheduled 90 minute town hall to just 70 minutes. Trump ate Collins alive and the show’s producers had to do something to stop the bleeding. The best they could do to save Collins was to cut 20 minutes of the broadcast. Trump scored mightily Wednesday night with 2024 independent voters. Even Washington Democrats had to angrily admit this was a disaster for the party. Some are allegedly calling for CNN chief executive, Chris Licht, to be fired. However, with 3.1 million viewers tuning in Wednesday night, it was the most viewed program on CNN for some time now. Maybe they should set up another one of these town hall get togethers say, in San Francisco or Chicago. Wouldn’t that be something to see!? There are plenty of the old cast of characters at CNN throwing hate statements at the producers of the show but, why didn’t one of these more experienced host moderators step up and volunteer to take Trump on? Because they all knew they would all have been beaten like a rag doll by Trump. Trump has been begging for a one on one with any of these people at CNN for years. Not a one of them has ever accepted Trump’s invitation to appear on any of their shows for a head to head conversation on the issues. I think CNN should take this ratings hike as good news regardless of the outcome of this town hall with Trump. If I was running the show at CNN, I would immediately be working on another town hall with Trump in another part of the country. I absolutely believe that because of the media frenzy surrounding this first town hall CNN might even double their audience for the next one. And in the media business it’s all about the number of viewers that the advertising market executives are interested in. Getting their products in front of as many people as possible is the name of the game. If that means Trump has to be the guest on a program occasionally, so be it. It’s business and that’s what the former executives at CNN either didn’t understand or didn’t care too. This was not only a big score for Trump but also for CNN. CNN has put themselves in a position to regain some of the millions of viewers they’ve lost in the past six years. Licht, don’t let the old, grumpy, and selfish Democrats in Washington deter you. Stand your ground and keep moving forward. By moving forward I mean start airing both sides of every story again and every person involved in those stories. I remember very well when CNN was the go to cable news network to get all of the latest and up to date world news events. I became a CNN faithful when the Gulf war started. When I was at home I was watching. When I was in the car I was listening. It was because of the success at CNN that so many other very successful cable news media outlets started up and thrived. CNN opened the door for many of us that never really knew there was more happening in the world than what our local television stations exposed us to for thirty minutes every night at 6:00 p.m. No longer did we have to wait until the next day to maybe find out what was happening around the world. For me it was exciting and interesting to catch up on world events and not just what was going on within the borders of WCIA’s signal strength. Don’t misunderstand, I very much enjoyed the cast and crew at WCIA and was a faithful 6:00 p.m. viewer. This was a time when the cast of characters hardly ever changed and my own family felt these people were a part of our lives. I think most of us would like to see our news sources get back to reporting the news, both sides of the news, without interjecting so many of the broadcaster’s personal views about each story. Anyway, even if it was just a one time event, bravo CNN for being brave enough to sponsor the Trump town hall with Kaitlan Collins. She may have lost the battle this time but she certainly hasn’t lost the war. She just may be an up and coming star in the news media world. If you get a chance to watch this town hall do so, it was entertainment at its best.
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)