Instructive. Very instrucive.
That would be the description of the fury vented by CNN staffers in the wake of the CNN Town Hall with former President Donald Trump, hosted by CNN’s own Kaitlan Collins. The gathering was held in New Hampshire in front of an audience of New Hampshire residents.
Trump was his usual affable and occasionally pointed self, his presentation nothing Americans have not seen on their screens since he first declared his candidacy in 2015 and went on to win the 2016 election in an upset.
The CNN executives, now led by CEO Chris Licht, believed in - shocking, I know - journalism. Trump is tar and away the current front-runner for the 2024 GOP nomination, which makes him newsworthy.
All of which makes the Town Hall completely understandable. Unless, it turns out, you’re a CNN staffer or a lefty pundit elsewhere. In which case you flood the zone with vociferous anger directed at Licht and CNN brass. Here’s but one headline, this one from Breitbart:
CNN Employees Publicly Disagree with Network Head on Whether or Not ‘America Was Served’ by Trump Town Hall
Breitbart reports this:
CNN employees publicly disagreed with network head Chris Licht on whether or not 'America was served' by hosting former President Donald Trump at Wednesday night’s town hall event.
The event, which was reportedly cut short due to Trump’s performance, was largely seen as a success by Trump supporters, and reportedly by Trump’s team as well.
Trump’s rare appearance on the network — highlighted by the result — did not sit well with some CNN employees, who took to public forums to air grievances about if Licht was correct in suggesting “America was served” by the town hall.
Former CNN host Brian Stelter posted these comments from Licht on Twitter:
Chris Licht begins CNN’s 9am editorial call by praising @kaitlancollins for a ‘masterful performance last night.’ He says ‘I couldn’t be more proud of her’ and the whole team in NH. Then he says he’s aware of the backlash… More to come
‘You do not have to like the former president’s answers, but you can’t say that we didn’t get them,’ Licht tells staffers, many of whom are angry about the town hall. ‘Kaitlan pressed him again and again and made news. Made a LOT of news.’ And ‘that is our job.’
‘While we all may have been uncomfortable hearing people clapping, that was also an important part of the story,’ Licht adds, because those folks represent ‘a large swath of America,’ and the media screwed up by missing that part of the story in 2015/16.
Seems obvious enough, yes? Particularly noteworthy was Licht’s remark that the media had missed the folks in America who represent ‘a large swath of America.’ Bingo.
As events turned in 2015/2016, I was in fact a CNN contributor. It fell to me to explain over and over that yes, in fact, Trump should be taken seriously by the media and that where I lived in the middle of Pennsylvania - well outside the New York/Washington media bubble - Trump was in fact seen as very serious indeed by Americans.
Back there in July of 2015, with Trump a newly announced candidate, I noted this in a column for the American Spectator titled Yes, Trump Can Win:
By chance, here in my home Central Pennsylvania county, a race to fill a vacancy in the state legislature in an August 4th election has Republican candidate Greg Rothman knocking on doors in this traditionally Republican district. Rothman tells me he has knocked on 3,100 doors thus far — and while he’s there to talk state issues residents in this area are volunteering to him that they support… Donald Trump.
For the next year and a half I tried to explain this Trump support on CNN. Not until election night of 2016 did my point get across to my astonished - and depressed! - colleagues.
In today’s political world, CNN’s Licht gets it, and went ahead with the Trump townhall in front of a live audience of decidedly average Americans like the ones I was discussing in 2015. And for being a smart guy who understands there’s infinitely more to America than media elites who operate in the New York/Washington media bubble - he is now being roundly criticized.
Leading the parade of this latest evolution of clueless media elites inside CNN is CNN’s own senior media reporter Oliver Darcy. Darcy said that it was “hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening.”
The irony could not be thicker. CNN, of course, was well out there with the spectacle of lies that was the Trump/Russia collusion fairy tale, as was the rest of the “mainstream media.” But hey, nothing to see there folks. Just move along.
The essence of the backlash from all those CNNers is very simple. And dangerous.
The simple part is, well, simple. Darcy and his compadres are so deep inside the elitist media bubble that they have no clue of their own snobby cluelessness. They look down on the people in that New Hampshire audience - and that distaste carries across the entire country to the millions of Americans who are the heart and soul of the country.
But the dangerous part of this is the utter arrogance when it comes to manipulating the news. This is done to withhold the news - facts - from Americans. News that lefty media elites find inconvenient to their own political agenda.
As noted in this space last week The Washington Post and lefty columnist Ruth Marcus have targeted Justice Clarence Thomas for conflicts of interest - yet is completely silent about the news from The New York Post that liberal “Justice Sonia Sotomayor didn’t recuse herself from cases involving publisher that paid her $3M: report.”
That would be media bias by omission. Another story that is being studiously ignored as much as possible by the “mainstream media” is the investigation of the Biden family scandals that are being surfaced by Kentucky Congressman James Comer and his House committee investigators.
Then there would be media bias by commission, as with those endless stories about Trump/Russia collusion.
There isn’t enough space on the Internet to illustrate how the omission/commission game is played by the liberal media.
Which brings us back to the eruption of discontent inside CNN over the Trump townhall. An eruption that came about because Chris Licht made the common sense journalistic decision to have a townhall with a former president who is the leading Republican candidate.
In the scheme of things this CNN-employee dust up is nothing more than a momentary speck in time.
But it is, it is very safe to say, representative of the mindset of so many elites not just inside CNN but well beyond into the larger media. It might be said that while this episode appears to be about CNN employees versus America, in reality it is emblematic of the liberal media versus America.
And that, for sure, is a serious problem indeed.