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CNN hit with backlash for hosting Trump town hall: ‘They learned absolutely nothing’

‘No one should watch this trash’

Namita Singh
Tuesday 02 May 2023 12:00 BST
Related video: Donald Trump in angry exchange with CNN reporter after President-elect refuses question

CNN was hit with swift criticism on social media after the network announced it was hosting Donald Trump in a town hall forum next week in New Hampshire.

The event will be held May 10 at St Anselm College, where Mr Trump will take questions from New Hampshire Republicans and voters who plan to participate in the 2024 presidential primary, the network said.

Anchor Kaitlan Collins will moderate the session. The surprise appearance of the former president on the channel, which was often his favourite target for criticism, has left the internet divided.

While several Twitter users called out the network for providing a platform to the former president, accused of baselessly claiming that 2020 presidential elections were rigged, some commentators have seen this as an attempt by Mr Trump to reach out to a wider audience ahead of the 2024 elections.

“CNN is doing a town hall with indicted Donald Trump on May 10, because they’ve learned absolutely nothing. No one should watch this trash,” wrote journalist Scott Dworkin.

“This is absolutely ludicrous. There is no reason to give the biggest pathological liar in politics a platform to spread his bullshit. Trump doesn’t belong on television. He belongs in prison.”

British-American journalist Mehdi Hasan also expressed his amazement at the network’s announcement.

“Wow. They’re giving a live primetime platform to an indicted insurrection-inciter, who also incited violence against their network,” he tweeted. “I was asked multiple times on my recent book tour whether the US media had learned lessons from 2016 and 2020. Clearly some in our media have not.”

“Listen. Our media is absolutely addicted to Donald Trump and the ratings and money his chaos creates,” wrote another user. “This is a broken system, through and through, and we have to stop expecting these corporations to value democracy or people’s lives over their own bottom line.”

Former congressman Joe Walsh defended CNN’s decision to hold a town hall, but demanded that the network ask tough questions about the 2020 presidential elections.

“Of course CNN should do a town hall with Donald Trump. He’s the leader of the Republican Party & he will be the GOP nominee,” he tweeted.

“Having said that, CNN better ask him real questions, tough questions. You know like, ‘President Trump, why are you still lying about the 2020 election?’”

A spokesperson said in a statement that CNN “has a longstanding tradition of hosting leading presidential candidates for Town Halls and political events as a critical component of the network’s robust campaign coverage”.

“This event with former president Trump will be the first of many for CNN in the coming months as CNN correspondents travel across the country to hear directly from voters in the runup to the 2024 presidential election.”

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