CNN Faces Criticism for Chaotic Meeting with Former President Trump
CNN is facing backlash following its meeting with former President Donald Trump, which quickly turned chaotic. Journalists covering a Republican candidate who refuses to abide by rules are walking a tightrope, as evidenced by Wednesday’s meeting.
The event was the first major television appearance for the 2024 presidential campaign. Critics argued that the meeting, held in front of Republicans and unaffiliated voters expected to vote in the Republican primary, turned into a Trump campaign rally that produced little news.
Tom Jones, a senior writer at the Poynter Media Research Institute, supported the idea of CNN hosting the event. However, he was surprised by the audience’s behavior, expecting more neutrality. The crowd gave Trump a standing ovation when he took the stage, applauding some of his more provocative comments and laughing at his jokes.
Moderator Kaitlan Collins struggled to question Trump and correct his falsehoods about the storming of the Capitol and the election, which Trump still insists he won. “When she had him cornered, he used the public. That emboldened him,” Jones said. “He realized that ‘I can do or say whatever I want,’ and she ended up being blown away by him, even though it was by no means her fault. It was her against everything.”
CNN defended its decision to host the event as an opportunity to put Trump in front of a broader audience, outside of the conservative media bubble he has largely been in since his presidency began. However, the meeting did not seem to have accomplished this goal, instead fueling criticism towards CNN and the coverage of Trump.