By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Congratulations, CNN. You let Donald Trump put a police officer’s life in danger.

Photo (cc) 2016 by Gage Skidmore

If you’re so inclined, you can sift through mounds of commentary on CNN’s alleged news event Wednesday night with Donald Trump. Tom Jones of Poynter has a solid account here. I thought beforehand that it would be terrible, but it was even worse than that.

If you saw it, or if you’ve just read about it, you know that the hall was filled with MAGA types who cheered Trump’s every utterance, whether it was his support of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists or his dismissal of E. Jean Carroll as a “whack job.” Carroll just won a $5 million jury verdict against Trump for sexually attacking her and for libel.

CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins was well-prepared and tried the best she could to hold Trump to account. Predictably, though, he shouted over her, spewing lies at such a rapid clip that she could only latch onto a few of them in an attempt to push back. It was a disgraceful night for CNN, and president Chris Licht ought to be fired. Then again, he was only doing what his corporate overlords want, and he seems quite pleased with himself today.

I do want to zero in on one moment. When Collins pointed out that people died on Jan. 6, Trump immediately cited Ashli Babbitt, an insurrectionist who was fatally shot by a Capitol police officer. Trump denounced Lt. Michael Byrd, who’s Black, as a “thug,” and by injecting him to the proceedings unbidden, he put the officer’s life and safety in danger at the hands of deranged right-wingers and white supremacists. Byrd told NBC News in 2021 that he’d gone into hiding. If he has since been able to resume his normal life to some degree, Trump has now shattered that.

America was served very well by what we did last night,” Licht told his staff after the event, according to tweets by Brian Stelter, the network’s media reporter until Licht fired him. No we weren’t, and CNN’s current media reporter, Oliver Darcy, said so in his morning newsletter, writing, “It’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening.”

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  1. Lex Alexander

    Licht won’t be fired. He was doing exactly what John Malone, the most powerful shareholder in CNN’s parent company, wanted. Licht is being paid a lot of money to toe the Malone line, whether he actually believes the BS he’s spouting or not.

  2. timkhughes

    Hi Dan,

    I didn’t watch. I’ve come to the conclusion that the CEO’s of most of the major news organizations want Trump to be President again, because he will give them better ratings. I don’t care if Trump is leading in the polls, I don’t think he should be treated as a legitimate candidate given his persona. Not to mention he tried to overthrow our democracy.

    Best wishes,


  3. Desirée

    I’ve not watched it, and I would like to, but at the same time, I don’t know if I want to waste an hour of my life like that. I still do not understand why we have to give that man so much platform. The more we let him talk, the more we fall into his game of “look at me, look at me, I’m the king of the world.” And until America understands that Mr. Trump is not fit to be president, we are not going to stop seeing circuses like the one on CNN. I wonder if being the interviewer a white man Trump would have acted the same way.

  4. Mike Rice

    Regarding COVID-19, at a task force press briefing on April 23, 2020, President Donald Trump stated: “So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting, right? And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it’d be interesting to check that. So that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see, but the whole concept of light, the way it kills in one minute. That’s pretty powerful.”

    My brother-in-law died of COVID-19 on April 24, 2020.

    Donald Trump makes me sick.

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