Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Trump Slammed a Stake into The Heart of a Dying CNN

With the benefit of hindsight, we may look back at Donald Trump’s Wednesday night New Hampshire town hall beatdown as the moment we heard the death rattle at CNN. Is it any wonder that struggling AT&T has been trying to dump this turd for years?

From the moment Trump walked on stage, you knew CNN had been had.

Prior to the town hall event, I talked to several staunch Trump supporters who thought the idea of walking into the epicenter of woke hostility was a grave mistake. In fact, many of them didn’t even watch the event, fearing it would be nothing short of red-meat carnage for leftists looking to pound Trump into submission. However, those who doubted The Donald would reign supreme over his hapless foes needed a reminder that Trump is unlike any of the feckless Republicans who came before him.

The audience was the first thing you noticed. As Republicans, we have grown to expect debate and town hall crowds to reflect woke, leftist attitudes. While the carefully selected participants are always presented as “independent,” or “leaning Republican,” they are typically hostile, and they frame questions in a way to elicit “gotcha” answers.

So, when the crowd stood and gave Trump a rousing standing ovation, you knew this was going to be different. Whether it was Trump himself or his staff, it was an artful use of leverage. CNN is floundering, and in a desperate attempt to regain some relevance, they needed Trump more than he needed them, and he knew it. He saw weakness and pounced. No one understands the power of leverage more than Donald Trump.

Make no mistake about the importance of the opening number. In most instances, the crowd sets the tone for the event. You may not be swayed by a partisan audience that heckles, boos and eye rolls Republicans, but others in the herd mentality are easily influenced. A friendly crowd gives a candidate the juice they need to perform well, and Trump used the home crowd advantage in New Hampshire like the Seahawks use the 12th man at Lumen Field.

A Classic Path to Business Failure

Failing businesses have that glassy eyed, frightened look of an old man who knows he’s dying. They become desperate, and that usually leads to decisions that hasten their demise.

JCPenney was in a slow, steady death roll when it hired Rob Johnson, an Apple wunderkind who pioneered the Apple retail stores. Johnson came in and dismantled the deep discounting that was a marketing mainstay of Penney’s for decades. He created some weird store-in-a-store pod system that cost Penney millions to implement. Two years later, the company had lost 25% of its business, and Johnson was fired. Penney pissed off its existing customers and failed to lure in new ones to replace them.

That’s usually how it happens. There are similar stories at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Sears, Chrysler, Blockbuster and countless other businesses who lost their compass and couldn’t see through the fog of desperation. They heaved a Hail Mary that dropped harmlessly to the turf in the end zone.

If you listened closely, you could hear the thud of the dropped Hail Mary last night when CNN called the event 29 minutes before it was scheduled to end.

CNN’s Horrific Strategy

Chris Licht, the head of CNN since February 2022, is the guy who is credited for reviving CBS This Morning, and more recently, The Late show with Colbert. He was brought in to replace failed Jeff Zucker amid falling revenues and disastrous ratings.

The temptation to make his mark and rake in a ratings bonanza by hosting Trump was too tempting for Licht to pass up. Yet, while the idea may not have been a bad one, the execution was horrible.

It’s understandable if CNN is looking to reinvent itself and follow the strategy Fox News seems to be pursuing. Fox was always more comfortable with a lineup that featured centrists like Shepard Smith, Neil Cavuto and Greta Van Susteren. It’s okay to be Hannity conservative, but Carlson conservative? Well, that’s a bridge too far.

CNN could have used the opportunity Trump gave them to remold itself in a way that would bring people like Bill Maher back into the fold. Maher is a liberal in the classic sense, but he, and many others of his ilk, have become increasingly alienated from modern wokeism, which is reflected 24/7 on CNN.

Instead of targeting a demographic, viewers watched a performance from host Kaitlan Collins that came across as rude, argumentative and hostile, but it was not violent enough for CNNs small, woke radical base. Her style was less about facilitating a free flow of questions and answers from the audience and more about centering the discussion around her own personal views. She was presented with a golden opportunity to force Trump to address uncomfortable issues facing America in 2024, but for the most part, she chose to ask questions more appropriate for the 2020 election.

In essence, CNN failed to lure back classic liberals while simultaneously outraging woke radicals, who found the Trump beat down of Collins utterly humiliating.

It was a worst possible scenario. A lose-lose.

It’s over for CNN. Donald Trump walked away from the event smiling because he wore the former media titans like a cheap K-Mart suit and probably secured the Republican nomination in the process…

Wait a minute. Wasn’t K-Mart another brand that owned the market until they figured out a way to run off their customers?