CNN’s Reasons for Hosting Trump Town Hall After Sexual Abuse Verdict
After the jury found him guilty of defamation and battery in a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims he raped her in the 1990s, former US President Donald Trump will appear in a live town hall event on CNN.
It is the network he condemned before as “the enemy of the people.” This participation comes ironically at the moment when Trump’s relationship with Fox News is significantly strained. Fox is vital to the Republican party. It will air at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
In the past few months, Trump has expressed his disappointment towards Fox News and its owners, Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch. They have been preparing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as a possible GOP presidential candidate.
His recent Truth Social post clearly showed Trump’s anger at Fox News. He condemned the news network for its dropping primetime ratings. He also accused it of “rapidly disintegrating.”
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) May 9, 2023
This upcoming CNN town hall appearance is a great opportunity for Trump to validate his independence and separation from Fox News, even if it is a network that many of his supporters follow.
However, Trump has not completely cut ties with Fox. He has given interviews to conservative Fox hosts Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson, before Carlson left.
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Following chairman and CEO Chris Licht’s lead, CNN has been trying to distance itself from Trump’s harsh criticisms, evident in its coverage during his administration. Licht has applied major changes to the network’s plans.
Licht started with the cancellation of Brian Stelter’s media criticism show “Reliable Sources.” He then transferred outspoken Trump critic Don Lemon to mornings. However, Lemon has been fired for alleged sexism, which he disputed.
The CEO of CNN’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery David Zaslav, noted the significance of having a balanced outlook on the network. He stated that the public should hear both the Democrats and Republicans on CNN.
A CNN Exclusive: Former President Donald Trump talks to @KaitlanCollins and GOP primary voters in a live town hall. A CNN Republican Presidential Town Hall airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET pic.twitter.com/L6FgXlVh2q
— CNN (@CNN) May 10, 2023
He further says that the network is committed to presenting “the best version of the facts” and forming a “new CNN.” Furthermore, CNN stated that it wanted to give Trump an opportunity to answer the public’s tough questions and accusations.
The network’s choice to host a live town hall with Trump has sparked a backlash from journalists and liberals who question the reasons for providing him with a live floor.
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Amid these concerns, David Chalian, CNN’s political director, ensures that the network is handling the event rightfully as it would for any contender. While addressing that Trump’s status controversies and his stature as former president would make him a “unique candidate.”
Chalian affirms that CNN’s duty is to ask questions and hold Trump responsible for his actions and words. The network also aims to facilitate direct exchange between voters and Trump.
Furthermore, the town hall event will feature non-committed and Republican New Hampshire voters at St. Anselm College. CNN morning host Kaitlan Collins will run the show.
Collins is a previous White House correspondent whose familiar with Trump. Trump will surely face difficult questions after his verdict.
But despite these ongoing investigations, this Town Hall event will be a challenge for the ex-president and for CNN’s rebranding plans. It will also significantly affect the network’s balancing strategies.