Remember Michael Fanone, the plainspoken former DC cop who was assaulted and nearly killed by the violent mob Donald Trump wound up and sent to the Capitol on 1/6/2021? Fanone is not happy about CNN hosting a Trump 2024 campaign townhall tonight.
Fanone has been a CNN contributor for more than a year, but he put his money where his mouth is in a Rolling Stone piece published today: “CNN Is Hosting a Town Hall for a Guy Who Tried to Get Me Killed — Donald Trump tried to end American democracy. Why is CNN throwing him a rehabilitation party?”
Good question. After reminding readers that Trump is “an authoritarian who will use any means at his disposal, including violence, to remain in power” and noting Trump’s ongoing valorization of violent insurrectionists and white supremacist scumbags in his quest to regain power, former Officer Fanone answers his own question, excoriating the network and calling out its “leadership,” scare quotes and all.
The whole thing is worth reading, but here’s an excerpt:
In a recent trip to CNN’s Washington, D.C. Bureau, I sat silently in the green room as guests, anchors and employees filtered through and clamored about how outrageous it was that CBS would give Marjorie Taylor Green an interview on its prestigious 60 Minutes series. Good question? I hope my fellow CNN employees have the balls to raise those same questions with the network executives.
CNN is a major American cable news outlet whose viewers trust that they are being given accurate reporting of events to the best of the network’s ability. With this trust comes an obligation and commitment to their viewers. In the past, CNN has recognized the dangers of allowing election deniers a public platform and would not allow them on-air. Under new “leadership,” that policy has been discarded as evidenced by CNN’s decision to allow the chief election denier, former President Donald J. Trump, a prominent time slot in its evening lineup. As if Trump was a normal candidate, who had not attempted to steal an election by force. In the wake of Jan. 6, Trump’s ability to communicate to the masses was essentially stripped away from him. Twitter banned him for “life”. No major media outlets would have him on. So what has changed?
I’ve heard the network’s attempts to justify this clear reversal. The “He’s the frontrunner in the Republican primary” argument. Somehow the network’s ”ethical” responsibility changed from preventing election deniers a platform regardless of the topic, to giving those same individuals a huge platform to disseminate their lies. I don’t believe for one second that this is about journalistic integrity. It’s about ratings and money. Sometimes things are exactly as they appear, and this appears to be an attempt by a major media outlet struggling with its ratings to attract disenfranchised viewers. To me, allowing Trump an open forum on a major television news network is the moral equivalent of putting an AR-15 in the hands of someone mentally unstable. Whether words or bullets — and I have seen firsthand the effects of both — they are equally dangerous in the mouths or hands of those who have shown us time and time again what their true intentions are.
Well, the man is right. I hope CNN boss Chris Licht, who signed off on the decision to throw a rehabilitation party for Trump, doesn’t double down on that error by firing Fanone.
Kaitlan Collins, whom Trump once ejected from a Rose Garden event because he was peeved about an earlier question, will be the moderator. She used to work for Tucker Carlson’s online rag and tends to fluff Repubs in general, IMO, if not Trump specifically.
The audience will be Repub primary voters in New Hampshire, so I don’t envy Collins the task of trying to keep the townhall from going completely off the rails if she attempts to interrupt The Beast’s litany of grievances. I’m almost tempted to watch because it is sure to be a trainwreck. But Fanone is correct, damn it. I’ll stick with baseball this evening.