Donald Trump’s town hall with CNN Wednesday drew criticism from commentators in the liberal media who spoke out against the network’s decision to give a platform to the former president.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said he wasn’t sure why CNN “didn’t just cut him off.” “The View’s” Joy Behar added that she didn’t know the audience would be “filled with his cult.” “I would like to know if CNN was passing out Kool-Aid before the event started,” she said. And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., argued it was a “profoundly irresponsible decision” to allow Trump to be platformed.
CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins asked Trump a series of questions about his claim that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged,” his involvement on Jan. 6 and the verdict that found him liable for defamation and battery against his accuser E. Jean Carroll.
Fox News’ Jesse Watters argued on “The Five” Thursday that the town hall format was “perfect” for Trump.
“You’re going to put President Trump live in the middle of a little arena surrounded by fans up against a 30-year-old CNN anchor? Oh, my God. I mean, that was not fair last night. That’s what everybody wants to see,” he explained. “And so CNN, I think, did well, though, because CNN is making a business decision here. They’re going to pivot and say, we’re going to play in this political game in the primary maybe, and we’re going to chase ratings. They got a good number last night, and we’re going to try to be normal again like we used to.”
Watters said the media was acting “hysterical” because their strategy to “censure and scandalize” the president didn’t work.
“Trump’s been out in the wilderness for a while, and now he’s coming back to the mainstream media. He’s re-entered. He’s becoming more commercially viable, and that’s what he’s wanted. And when he started off really calm and relaxed, that was smart,” he said. “They wanted him to go out there thrashing around, and he didn’t. But he built up a crescendo. And then at the end, he called her ‘nasty.’ And that was the best part. He loves conflict. The media hates conflict because the media wants 100% agreement.”
“So Trump and the media don’t mix. And they’re going to have to wrap their heads around this because he is going to be appearing on some of their programs and the way they conducted that did not work for them. And that’s why the media is so scared because they see how powerful he is once he gets his message out.”
“Five” co-host Jessica Tarlov said the media finds itself between a rock and a hard place in covering Trump because he is currently the 2024 GOP front-runner but says things that need to be fact-checked.
“I think that it is important to make sure that people at least hear some pushback, whether they actually process what it is that you said in response– that the truth does have to get out there,” she explained. “And there was such an incredible cascade of lies flowing out of his mouth from the border wall. He said, you know, I secured the whole thing. It’s 1900 miles long. He did 52 new miles. The documents. Obama took documents– didn’t happen. Joe Biden didn’t comply. Joe Biden did comply. Perfect phone calls with Brad Raffensperger and with Zelenskyy. That Democrats support infanticide?! And Kaitlan Collins, let that one go.”
“And I thought that that was a major losing moment for her, because if you want to make the Dobbs decision a focal point, which it absolutely will be in this election, and you hear the former president say the Democrats support abortion up till nine months, even after the baby’s born– complete dereliction of duty. And on the day after he gets a ruling that he sexually abused and defamed E. Jean Carroll, he calls her a whack job and the audience is laughing. It was A) just appalling.”
Fox News’ Joey Wulfsohn contributed to this report