On Monday, CNN announced that they would be holding a "presidential town hall" hosting one and only one Republican candidate: Donald Trump, the seditionist coup plotter who attempted to nullify a U.S. presidential election by hoax or by force rather than give up power.
"The event, hosted by “CNN This Morning” anchor Kaitlan Collins and airing at 9 PM ET on May 10, will feature the former president taking questions from New Hampshire Republicans and undeclared voters who plan to vote in the 2024 GOP presidential primary," says CNN.
There was no mention of that coup attempt in CNN’s original announcement. There was a one-sentence mention of Trump's New York indictment for cooking his company books to hide hush money payments while on the campaign trail, and a mention of the current defamation trial against Trump leveled by writer E. Jean Carroll, but no mention of Trump pressuring Georgia election officials to change vote totals, no mention of his extended efforts to convince his vice president to refuse to recognize the electoral votes of multiple states during the Jan. 6, 2021, joint session of Congress convened to ratify Joe Biden's victory, and no mention of Trump's role in gathering and setting loose a mob for the specific purpose of intimidating Congress into accepting whatever alternate electoral count his seditionist allies might propose.
It was only after the company had been subjected to widespread online mocking and contempt that it expanded its announcement to mention that Trump is still under federal investigation for his role in the Capitol attacks. That mention is called “additional details,” in the CNN note acknowledging the revision. One imagines that CNN was simply too surprised by the breaking news of its own scheduled programming to have filled in the details correctly the first time through.
The evidence uncovered about Trump's actions is hardly mysterious. In particular, it is known that Trump publicized an intended "march" to coincide precisely with the formal counting of electoral votes; that he was aware of violent elements within that crowd; that he was told that many in the crowd were armed and would not give up their weapons in order to pass through rally metal detectors; that he responded with the furious demand that the metal detectors be turned off and the crowd be allowed to keep their weapons; that he then told the crowd to "march" to the U.S. Capitol, planning on joining the crowd himself before security officials refused to allow it; that he saw the violence outside the Capitol, and did nothing; that he saw live coverage of rioters break into the Capitol, and did nothing; that he was in contact with evacuating lawmakers who asked him to step in, but acted instead to spur the crowd by condemning the hiding Mike Pence as the crowd searched for him; and that after the violence subsided, he repeatedly condemned the arrests of those who violently entered the building and demanded their release, even promising their pardon.
Yet none of that made it into the first CNN announcement. It was, apparently, considered less significant than either his indictment for book-cooking or a civil defamation lawsuit filed against him.
Attempting to overthrow the legitimate government of the United States with the assistance of crooked allies and a violent mob, barely more than 2 years ago, is swept aside in favor of more current news cycles. This is an industry-wide affectation, and CNN no doubt thought all was set right again after an additional details section was added to satisfy democracy’s most pedantic allies.
Actually, no. Forgetting to mention the violent attempted coup in the news release was a quibble; hosting the man who sponsored it in the first place remains the far more flagrant act.
CNN has done its level best to side with political corruption and even acts of sedition as it repeatedly slides right to court the backers of both rather than give up access to them, or lose the viewership of those that support them. Journalism often declares its highest function to be the exposure of powerful figures who break the public trust for their own profit, but in the CNN version, the journalism part is scrubbed and, instead, talking heads are hired to defend the corruption and to analyze, in political terms, whether the corruption will "help" or "hurt" them in the current election cycle.
There has been not one CNN executive who has known shit about journalism in a very long time, and parent company heads make it their business to ensure that the "balance" between covering corruption and defending it, between coup opposition and coup support, between fact and hoax, and between democracy and fascist overthrow is never far enough out of tilt that the network cannot boast to both groups that it has shown respect for their point of view.
There is an easy method of not giving the architect of an attempted overthrow of our government lavish televised events meant to promote his return to power: simply don't do it. Tell the pardon-promising endorser of political violence that he can go to hell for all he wants, but the company will neither specially promote him, nor look to make a crooked buck in doing so. This is not hard. It is well within the purview of network executives to determine that the public danger outweighs the network's obsessive-compulsive need for spectacle.
It would require the integrity that nobody in the entertainment—not "news," but entertainment—industry can abide even being in the same building with, but most of the rest of the American public is familiar with the notion of don't side with terrorists, that being something that the "news" channels of two decades ago were quite willing to drill into our heads.
Trump attempted the overthrow of our government. "But he's also a presidential candidate!" network executives will whine. Yes. Choose which of those two things is more important. You can interview him. You can analyze him. You can do all the other journalistic things that the network might do with a Columbian cartel head, but you would not give a Colombian cartel head an hour-long television special in which he can speak with his American addicts about what his new pricing plans will be. Grow the smallest possible spine, you gutless worms, and declare that "attempted to overthrow our very government" is perhaps the one news event you can think of that would overweigh campaign trail "coverage."
The past week seems to have packed in a month’s worth of news. Markos and Kerry tackle it all, from Joe Biden’s big announcement to Tucker Carlson’s early retirement from Fox News.