The day after he was found guilty of sexual assault and defamation against E. Jean Carroll, convicted sex offender Donald Trump (CSODT) took part in a ‘town hall’ in New Hampshire that was broadcast live by CNN and hosted by one of their anchors Kaitlin Collins. I did not watch it but the general reviews were that it was a debacle for CNN because they gave CSODT a platform to spew forth a barrage of lies and insults to Carroll to an audience that cheered him on. As always, the media tends to take the attitude that anything, anything at all, works in favor of Republicans and that this shows that CSODT was not hurt by the verdict.
But is that true?
The biggest fault of CNN was in agreeing that the audience would be made up of Republicans. That makes a mockery of the concept of a town hall which is supposed to contain a fairly representative sample of the community. This was more like an indoor rally of partisans. New Hampshire governor John Sununu, himself a Republican, said that he was embarrassed by what he saw and what the crowd’s behavior conveyed about the people of his state.
[Sununu] was speaking to Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary turned MSNBC host, in an interview to be broadcast in full on Sunday.
“As the camera pans through that audience, I knew pretty much everybody,” the governor said.
“They’re all Trump supporters. So the audience was absolutely filled with Trump supporters. So I wasn’t surprised to hear the support.
“But when you’re talking about a serious issue like that, and laughter and mocking and all that, it’s completely embarrassing, without a doubt, and it doesn’t shine a positive light on New Hampshire.”
The audience for the CNN event was always meant to be Republican but Sununu said “almost all” who attended voted for Trump in 2016, 2020 or both.
“I believe every single one of them have voted for Trump at some point,” he said. “So I don’t know … how [CNN] determined that and set that up but obviously it was a room full of Trump supporters. So no one should have been surprised to hear the support.
Media critic Jack Shafer said that for all its faults, the event served a purpose, and that is to teach the media that one should never grant CSODT a live interview.
The captains who steer the SS CNN sent first mate Kaitlan Collins into the bilge Wednesday night to bail out the sinking ship with a thimble, while Donald Trump used the town hall format to blast a hole in CNN’s hull with a torpedo barrage of lies.
Collins, a resourceful journalist who thinks as fast on her feet as Muhammad Ali did on his, couldn’t keep up. That’s no reflection on her. Nobody practiced in the art of the interview has ever been able to stop this lying chatterbox in a live session. As scholar Michael Socolow points out, Chris Wallace, Lesley Stahl and Jonathan Swan successfully tamed him, but all of those Trump interviewers were taped and edited, which neutered his predictable and exuberant filibustering. Plus, those interviews were conducted without an audience. Trump’s CNN town hall, on the other hand, was stocked from stem to stern with cheering acolytes who rewarded his every insult and evasion with laughter and applause. It’s hard to conduct an interview when rotten fruit and vegetables are being hurled onto the stage.
The chorus observed that Trump can lie faster than any real-time interviewer can fact-check him, so the immediate advantage of the arena will generally accrue to him. CNN could have armed Collins with a centrifugal pump to siphon the Trump deluge, and she still would have been swamped. If it was all a ratings ploy, it wasn’t a very good one, as it attracted fewer viewers than six previous Trump town halls on Fox.
The lessons taught by Collins and CNN Wednesday night are not to fear Trump or to actively suppress his ideas but that the best format for tangling with him is a taped one, where he can’t chomp scenery and eat up the clock with non-answers, and one where the audience is at home in front of their televisions, not in an auditorium cheering him on.
So the audience was stacked in favor of CSODT. But despite that, according to this report, it was not as successful for CSODT as it might have looked, and that the sense of what it was like in the hall was different from what TV viewers saw.
Many audience members at CNN’s town hall with former President Donald Trump on Wednesday were “disgusted” and “bewildered” by the spectacle, but were told to be respectful and not to boo, according to a report.
“The floor manager came out ahead of time and said, Please do not boo, please be respectful. You were allowed to applaud,” claimed Republican political consultant Matthew Bartlett in an interview with Puck News senior political correspondent Tara Palmeri on Thursday.
“And I think that set the tone where people were going to try their best to keep this between the navigational beacons, and that if they felt compelled to applaud, they would, but they weren’t going to have an outburst or they weren’t going to boo an answer,” he said.
Bartlett claimed that, while many in the audience applauded and cheered the former president, “there were also people that sat there quietly disgusted or bewildered.” He estimated that while around half of the audience expressed vocal support for Trump, the other half sat in silence.
Bartlett also alleged that Trump repeatedly “lost the audience” when he spoke about topics like January 6 or the results of the 2020 election, despite the appearance on CNN that the audience was consistently on his side.
“In a TV setting, you hear the applause, but you don’t see the disgust,” Bartlett told Palmeri. “So Trump did not have the entire room on his side, make no mistake, even if it certainly came across that way on TV.”
My feeling is that the more the general public sees of CSODT, the more likely they are to turn away from him, even if his die-hard fans feel the urge to stick with him.
The boss of CNN has not shown any introspection after the event…
“there were also people that sat there quietly disgusted or bewildered.”[…] , the other half sat in silence.”
Fuck those cowards.
“the more the general public sees of CSODT, the more likely they are to turn away from him,”
Like they did in 2016…
John Morales says
sonofrojblake, by 2020 they’d seen more of him. And he lost.
(And by now, they’ve seen more of him than in 2020)
Seems pretty easy. “Hey guys, we’re hosting a Donald Trump PR session and we want a live audience. Who wants in?” Boom, your event is now populated by Trump voters.
To be fair, he lost in 2016, as far as voters were concerned.
Fixed it for you.
@6 & 7:
Ah, why am I not surprised that someone who doesn’t know the difference between Marlon Brando and Dustin Hoffman would be one of those “wah wah wah but she won the popular voooooooooooote” bleaters?
Everyone is rightly down on convicted sex offender Donald Trump for keeping on repeating the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him, and yet so many morons of the stripe of Silentbob still haven’t stopped whining on with the “she won the popular vote” irrelevance from seven years ago, with absolutely no detectable self-awareness of how much like MAGAts that makes them sound.
John Morales says
He. Lost. The. Election.
(fixed it for you)
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
@sonofrojblake (#2) — Cowards? Really? Or were they stunned into silence by the sheer audacity of convicted rapist Donald Trump?
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
@ same — Repeating a fact — Donald Trump LOST THE VOTE — does not make us sound like whining MAGAt liars. Stop with the false equivalency.
Mark Dowd says
There’s a big fucking difference between the two, and since you seem to be clueless I will explain it for you.
One side is taking an objective FACT (more people in this country voted for Hilary to be president than the Dumpster Fire), and is complaining about the unfair and perverse system ww have that let the loser win.
The other side is just lying and making shit up.
One of these sides is a reasonable, principled position to have, and it didn’t stop being important just because the election passed (the same rules from back then are still in effect after all, so it can always happen again).
The other side is criminal treason.
Can you see the difference now?
@9: I’m not denying he lost the election.
But my point was that people had seen more of him by 2020, and 12 million more of them voted for him than in the previous election. Interpreting that as people “turning away” is at best deluded and at worst just dishonest. If you rely on people “turning away” from him in 2024 to the same extent they did in 2020… he’ll win.
It is inconceivable to me that his behaviour came as any surprise to anyone in that audience.
And @11 & 12: I’m perfectly well aware of the differences -- only one side tried to alter the result after the fact by violence. Nevertheless, you’d have to have absolutely no self-awareness AT ALL to miss the point of similarity -- both sides are still whining, years later, that the result of the election wasn’t what they wanted it to be, despite both elections being carried out fairly according to the same laws as every other election before and since. Both sides are, ultimately, sore losers. It’s really past time that Democrats got over it, and indeed it’s past time they did something about the system if they hate it so much.
John Morales says
Ahem. Let’s look at the actual numbers, shall we?
2016 Trump vs Clinton
62,984,828 vs 65,853,514 (2,868,686)
2020 Trump vs Biden
74,223,975 vs 81,283,501 (7,059,526)
The gap between he and his opponent widened.
The proportion of the electorate voting for him decreased.
Well, let us see.
He got 4,190,840 fewer votes against his opponent in 2020 than in 2016, when he only got 2,868,686 fewer.
If people didn’t tend to turn away from him the greater their exposure, how come the the gap between him and his opponent widened so significantly?
Well, the numbers indicate otherwise.
If they turn away from him in 2024 to the same extent they did in 2020, the gap will be increased by yet another 4,190,840 fewer votes than his opponent.
@14: You’re reaching really hard, and I think you know it.
What I see in those numbers is, between 2016 and 2020, a number of people equivalent to the entire population of Ohio voted for Trump who didn’t before. You can burble all you like about how many votes his opponents got and what the gap signifies, but characterising an 18% increase in the number of votes he got as evidence that the electorate was “turning away” is just fucking stupid.
Folks, you’re arguing past each other. It’s possible for people to be “turning away” from a candidate and for that candidate to get more votes in a subsequent election. It all depends on turnout, and the 2020 turnout was record breaking. I know that random examples are not data, per se, but I personally know people who voted for Trump in 2016 who refused to vote for him in 2020 because they realized he was such an a*hole (their words). All that has to happen is for each of the people, plus a few more, be replaced by someone who didn’t vote in 2016. Bingo. People are turning away while the candidate receives more votes. The only thing you can really say about that situation is that it is not a sustainable winning strategy.
Having said that, I am not diminishing the danger of CSODT winning again. If Democratic voters stay home, he could.
Meanwhile, has anyone else noted that Ron DeSlugworth is poised to sign a new Florida law that will allow him to stay as governor while campaigning for president, and also darken the current transparency laws regarding campaign financing? The guy is pure authoritarian.
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
Rapist, “sex offender”, SAME DAMN THING.
And yet the law has two separate terms for what every reasonable person considers two different things, one of which proven sex offender Donald Trump has been found to be in a court of law, the other which he explicitly was not found to be guilty of even by the reduced standard of proof required in a civil trial.
But hey, don’t let mere facts dissuade you from your certainty. Are you also a creationist, and if not, why not?
Just for those people who were exasperated at me being a stickler over ‘convicted’ as an inappropriate word for a civil trial, in WMDKitty at #10 we see someone muddling things further. “Found liable for defamation and sexual abuse” is neither a conviction of anything nor a finding of rape. Language matters ffs.
It’s worse than that though. If he’d been convicted, of rape, then it would have to have been proven to a jury’s satisfaction that he raped her, beyond reasonable doubt.
That wasn’t what they were asked though, this being a civil, not criminal, case. What they were asked was, on the balance of probabilities, is it more likely than not that he raped her?
And in an astonishingly short amount of time, they were able having heard ALL the evidence (which you haven’t, and I haven’t, and WMDKitty hasn’t) to decide definitively that they didn’t believe it was even likely that he raped her. They DID believe the allegation of sexual assault, hence “proven sexual abuser Donald Trump”.
Now: that verdict is disappointing, sure. But if you simply decide to ignore it, well, why even bother with a trial? I mean, if you’re going to do that, why not, for example, simply ignore an election result you don’t like? Are you THAT kind of person? Sounds like you are…
John Morales says
Big line between sexual assault and rape for some, apparently.
BTW, the term used was “the preponderance of the evidence”, not “the balance of probabilities”.
(The likelihood of some event having truly happened is not the same thing as the quality and quantity of evidence for that event having truly happened)
“convicted sex offender Donald Trump (CSODT) ”
I don’t understand, since when has he been convicted of anything?
John Morales says
chatt, see https://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2023/05/10/what-next-for-convicted-sex-offender-donald-trump/#comment-5181771
John Morales says
Topical OP: https://www.vox.com/life/23725947/e-jean-carroll-donald-trump-verdict-rape-legal-definition
Or, just a line. ‘Big’ is your addition.
John Morales says
It’s big enough for you to make a fuss about the purported distinction.
(Details in the link I adduced @24)
From the link in 24:
I was startled, reading that, that in the middle of describing a violent sexual attack she took a moment to joke about the size of his penis. I mean, it’s funny certainly -- hahaha Trump’s cock is so small that even though it only felt halfway in that might have been all of it -- but in context it’s really jarring, like something from a Sarah Silverman standup routine.
Fuck off you misogynist prick.
Gosh, well there’s certainly nothing I can say that matches the cutting intellectual rigour of that rebuttal.
In seriousness Silentnob -- are you saying you didn’t find that digression even a little bit funny? If so, I pity you.
Sex Offender Donald (SOD) ?
Big enough to make a fuss, by which you mean comment on it. So, commenting on something indicates bigness to that person in your view. I guess then me commenting on the line between rape and sexual assault is a big deal to you, seeing as you commented on it.
Mano Singham says
That is the best alternative that I have heard so far. I may well use it. Thanks!
Glad you like it!
Trouble is that SOD is an English expression:
I considered SOT but apparently SOD doesn’t drink.