Saturday, May 18, 2024

You Almost Feel Sorry For WarnerMedia After Trump’s Murder Of CNN Last Night

We could show you all the clips from that laughable CNN Town Hall interview of Donald Trump, and we’ll show some, but you’ve surely seen a lot of them already.

For example, there was this, when hostess Kaitlin Collins attempted to blame Trump for the January 6 riot…

Then there was the applause from the audience when Trump said he’d pardon most of the people jailed for attending the January 6 protest, which didn’t make Collins or CNN look great…

And here was Trump when Collins stupidly persisted with questions about the Ukraine war, putting on display a slavish commitment to the elite partisanship in favor of insuring the Ukrainians “win” that gruesome and wasteful stalemate…

And here was Trump answering Collins’ question about the E. Jean Carroll verdict, one of the more ridiculous abuses of the judicial system in modern memory in which a frivolous lawsuit accusing Trump of a 30-year-old rape in which zero proof was presented wasn’t thrown out of court thanks to a partisan judge, and a partisan New York jury couldn’t find that Trump raped Carroll but did say that he defamed her for calling her a liar. Collins presented that verdict and the $5 million award the jury gave Carroll, all of which is very likely to be overturned on appeal, as the end of his political career. Trump brushed that away pretty easily…

It finished with Trump calling Collins a “very nasty person” to her face as the interview concluded, and partisan Democrats on the internet absolutely seethed over the spectacle.

Meanwhile, CNN put on a focus group after the town hall attempting to assess Trump’s performance, and what came back was much more of an assessment, and not a particularly good one, of CNN. Here was a taste of that…

Anybody watching could notice the obvious – Collins and CNN were trying to accuse Trump of dwelling on 2020 when they’re the ones engaging in that most feverishly.

And it happens to be a valid criticism of the former president. He has spent too much time whining about 2020, and it’s a negative for him. Most people are tired of relitigating that election, and what’s worse, talking about it paints Trump as a loser rather than a winner.

But when all they want to ask him about is a series of rehashes of January 6 and the other political attacks on a former president, whether it’s the stupid Carroll case or Mar-A-Lago or the idiotic Alvin Bragg indictment, all of which shows the current regime to be unhinged and illegitimate, what it really does is set what little credibility CNN has left on fire.

WarnerMedia, which purchased CNN from AT&T (though it isn’t what you’d call a clean ownership change), wants to re-brand CNN as less of a partisan Democrat propaganda arm and more of an objective news channel. But the problem with that is a cable news channel is like an aircraft carrier. It doesn’t turn on a dime.

You can’t just fire all the on-air talent and producers and start over, because you have air time to fill and advertising contracts to satisfy. And those advertising contracts are based on ratings points. So unloading hosts who have proven to draw some audience number, meager though it may be, risks drawing down the ratings and making the channel even less profitable.

You have to rebuild things gradually. That’s why it took so long to get rid of Don Lemon, for example.

The town hall is clearly part of the re-brand. Getting Trump on CNN’s air is an effort to draw the half of the American electorate which prefers him to Joe Biden and mostly hasn’t watched CNN in years. But the problem with that is the Trumpy viewers who tuned in last night mostly hated Kaitlin Collins and won’t watch her ever again, and their contempt for CNN hardly receded.

And CNN’s core audience of Democrats is furious both that the channel had Trump on for 70 minutes in prime time, but especially that he so clearly won the interview.

Because at the end of the day, CNN doesn’t have any on-air personalities who could conduct a quality interview of Donald Trump which would force him to spill any real insight into 2024. Or 2020, for that matter. Collins is probably the best they have, and she played Washington Generals to his Harlem Globetrotters by trying to bully him with gotcha questions and talking over him. Doing that to Trump, in an effort to make him angry, is a dumb mistake. He’s been on TV longer than Collins has. He knows how to handle it.

Trump didn’t get mad. Instead he dropped one-liners which humanized him and made him the funny one on the stage.

The people trying to turn CNN around have to be assessing what happened last night and, while being grateful for the small, ephemeral ratings bump it achieved for them, recognizing they’ve got a lot further to go to revive that channel than they thought.

And maybe it can’t be revived. Cable news is dying as a medium, because at the end of the day the best people in journalism and punditry simply don’t want to work for some mega corporation when they have the ability to strike out on their own as Joe Rogan has done with Spotify and Tucker Carlson is doing with Twitter, Glenn Greenwald has done with Substack and Glenn Beck has done with The Blaze. That independence allows for truth-telling, it prevents being canceled and it leads to more creativity that a public increasingly fed up with lies and nonsense emanating from legacy propaganda media craves.

Trump didn’t exactly finish off CNN last night. But we can all see the end from here, and that’s clearer today than it was yesterday.