CNN Just Delivered Trump’s Biggest Campaign Win So Far
CNN will never be the same again after former President Donald Trump appeared on the network for a Town Hall Wednesday night. The show lasted over an hour and ended with the live audience of Republicans and undeclared voters, at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, cheering for Trump.
And they weren’t cheering so much for CNN interviewer Kaitlan Collins. Immediately after, CNN itself was even attacked by several public figures and establishment news outlets for even giving Trump a platform. So what took place? Well, it may have made Trump look just a bit too human. And for the well-crafted and ongoing attacks to dehumanize the former president, this could be a threat to the narratives.
Also, border expert and war correspondent Michael Yon joins us from El Paso, TX, to talk the end of Title 42 and what it means for the border crisis.
We’ll discuss this story in this episode of Crossroads.
Good evening and welcome to Crossroads!
CNN will never be the same again after Former President Donald Trump appeared on the network for a Town Hall last night. The show lasted over an hour and ended with the live audience of Republicans and undeclared voters, at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, cheering for Trump.
And they weren’t cheering so much for the CNN interviewer Kaitlin Collins. Immediately after, CNN itself was even attacked by several public figures and establishment news outlets for even giving Trump a platform.
Politico declared afterwards that Trump was the apparent winner. It stated in an article titled, “How Trump Dominated CNN,” that the former President, and now leading candidate for 2024, “may have done more to boost his chances of winning the GOP presidential nomination than anything that’s happened since the 2020 election.”
Of course, Politico alongside many of the establishment news outlets, and the CNN interviewer on the segment, claims that Trump “lied and rewrote history.” But the outlets themselves were misrepresenting information, stating opinion as fact, and pushing half truths as if they were absolute. In other words, it’s election season again. And Trump is back.
But Politico was also right. This wasn’t just a regular interview for Trump. For him, it really was something that has likely done more to boost his chances at winning the next election than anything that’s happened over the last couple years. And why is that? Well, it showed the public yet again who Trump is. It humanized him.
And humanizing Trump is absolutely destructive to the agenda that’s been at play.
I remember when I was in school, we learned about war propaganda. We were shown the posters used by various countries in World War I and World War II. The purpose was often to dehumanize the enemy. The enemy would be painted as monsters. They would be painted as animals, and vicious threats. The idea was to personify them as something else – to strip them of their humanity. For war, there are some who argue this is necessary. It helps people feel more justified to fight (and in the case of war to even kill) their enemies, when they feel their enemies are not human.
Flashback to 2016. Trump was just about to take office as President of the United States, after facing the same ongoing media attacks that have defined his entire time in office, and still continue now. Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon invited Trump to appear on his program, and people were shown an image of Trump the media otherwise avoided showing. It was Trump being himself. And Fallon was immediately criticized by the establishment for “humanizing” Trump. Let me show a clip from that show:
“Donald, this is getting real. This is —
-Yeah, it’s getting real. I agree.
-You still have time. Do you still want to do this?
I mean, there’s time.
-We’re doing well.
It’s been really a lot of fun, and it’s an amazing movement all over the country. It’s been incredible, so, no, it’s been an honor for me, I have to say.”
In fact, The New York Times even made this into a scandal. It declared in May 17, 2017, that “Jimmy Fallon Was on Top of the World. Then Came Trump.” And in an interview with the publication, Fallon apologized. In particular, he apologized for the act that allegedly “humanized” the man who would be President. What did Fallon do? Well, he ruffled Trump’s hair. Fallon told the publication, “I didn’t do it to humanize him … almost did it to minimize him. I didn’t think that would be a compliment.”
Why would it be wrong to compliment Trump? What’s wrong with ruffling someone’s hair? What’s wrong with making someone look like a human being? Well, what’s wrong is that’s it’s damaging to propaganda that is designed to do the exact opposite: to dehumanize someone. To strip them of their humanity. And to make it appear justified to hate them.
Back to that wartime propaganda. Take Japan as an example. During World War II, they were an Axis power. Propaganda painted them as monsters. And the dehumanization of them was used to even justify the use of nuclear weapons. When the war came to an end, and the rebuilding began, people again started seeing through the propaganda. They again started seeing what we’re all people. For Japan, it was mainly entertainment and movies that began to change things. In fact, one of my favorite directors, Akira Kurosawa, was lauded as having played a strong role in this. Movies like “Seven Samurai.” In fact, the plots of his films were later used in some of the more famous Western films like “The Magnificent Seven.” People were able to see that maybe we’re not so different. Maybe we’re all just human.
Back to the recent Town Hall with Trump, it appears that this is what CNN is being criticized for doing. Well that, and the fact that Trump is yet again stating things that go against the establishment narrative. It’s the argument on “disinformation,” and on what we should, or should not, be allowed to say on TV.
Representative Ocasio-Cortez reacted to the Town Hall on Twitter, stating “CNN should be ashamed of themselves. They have lost total control of this “town hall” to again be manipulated into platforming election disinformation, defenses of Jan 6th, and a public attack on a sexual abuse victim. The audience is cheering him on and laughing at the host.”
So, what should CNN be ashamed of? Ashamed for interviewing the leading presidential candidate for the Republicans? When has it ever been considered controversial to interview a leading political candidate? Last I checked, we’re still a constitutional Republic, and we still have an election system. That election system lets people cast their votes and choose their leaders. So how is it irresponsible to give them a voice?
The reality is that what used to be considered normal is now called abnormal. And what was once called abnormal is being pushed as the “new normal.”
And in a very subtle (or not so subtle) way, the establishment has acknowledged something important: they’ve been running a very focused propaganda campaign. And that propaganda campaign is once again failing.
Let me show you a few clips of how that all went.
The interviewer kept trying to press Trump, claiming the election was not rigged. And Trump continued by listing what took place in various states on the many irregularities and bad practices that were seen. They then jumped to a question. Here’s how that went:
“Q: Will you suspend polarizing talk on election fraud during your run for President?
A: Yeah, unless I see election fraud. If I see election fraud, I think I have an obligation to say it. And you know, what we went through a short while ago has really put our country in a big problem. I hope to do that. I hope we are going to have very honest elections. We should have voter ID. We should have one day elections. We should have paper ballots, instead of these mail in votes, but the answer is yes. And I hope that it’s very straight up. Because if it’s going to be very straight up, we’re gonna win the election.
Q: So you will suspend talk, to his question, about the 2020 election on the campaign trail?
A: Well I guess we’re gonna just win. We’re at a point now where we’re getting so close. Let’s just win it again and straighten out our country.”
As the interview went on, they touched mainly on all the controversies with Trump. They went story by story through the scandals, and the charges, and the allegations. And Trump handled them in a very Trumpian way.
Take for example, his reaction on allegations around January 6:
One of the big problems was that Nancy Pelosi, crazy Nancy as I affectionately call her. Crazy Nancy Pelosi and the Mayor of Washington were in charge, as you know, of security. And they didn’t…
Q: They’re not in charge of the National Guard. You’re in charge of the National Guard.
A: Well, I offered them the National Guard. I said we’ll give you soldiers, we’ll give you the National Guard. We’ll give you whatever you want. And they turned me down.
Trump was of course fact checked on this. The interviewer accused him several times of not stating accurate information. And other news outlets also claimed he was not honest. But in reality, Trump was talking about who was in charge of security – Nancy Pelosi had some authority over the Capitol Police, and Muriel Bowser had some authority over DC Metro, and neither placed proper security at the Capitol on January 6. Trump, meanwhile, did not have the authority to deploy the National Guard. The President doesn’t have that power. He can authorize it, and he did authorize it. But the deployment was not approved by Pelosi and others in charge. As you can see, the establishment media is once again not being quite accurate.
The interview later went into the sexual assault allegations against Trump, and in particular about the allegations from E. Jean Carroll. Here’s what Trump had to say:
And they also went into the investigations into whether Trump illegally took home classified documents to his home at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office as President. Trump noted that several other former Presidents have done the same. Here’s how that part went:
Then of course, there’s Ukraine. Remember that Trump was impeached while being accused of quid-pro-quo over an interview he had with Ukrainian President Zelensky. The story as we’ve discussed had to do with Trump trying to get a Ukrainian prosecutor reinstated, and also on questions of whether President Biden played a hand in getting that same prosecutor fired when he was Vice President. There were allegations that the Ukrainian prosecutor was looking into an energy company tied to Biden’s son, Hunter. But this is how Trump responded when he was asked about being impeached over the phone call:
Now, everything aside, CNN commentators acknowledged before the Town Hall that Trump has a shot at winning the presidency in 2024. This is given the polling data, and public dissatisfaction with Joe Biden.
Right now, Trump is looking to solidify his base. He has to get MAGA supporters reinvigorated. He has to convince establishment Republicans that he has a shot at winning. And ideally for him, he’d also do well to reach Democrat voters who are becoming disenfranchised with Joe Biden and his policies. And the CNN interview gave Trump a shot at reaching all three of these groups.
The topics of choice for CNN in the Town Hall were not necessarily on Trump’s policies. This wasn’t a chance for Trump to discuss his various campaign promises, or to lay out his agenda if he takes office in 2024. Instead, the questions were just a list of scandals Trump is being accused of. If you were looking to dehumanize a person, this is likely the approach that would be taken: focus only on the bad. Focus only on what the people who hate them say. But for Trump, it served as an opportunity to present his side of the story.
Like him or hate him for it, Trump has budged very little from his stance on these topics. And he took this as an opportunity to clarify his stance, to joke with his potential voters, and to show his side of the story. He came off as flawed. As a bit unpolished. Not quite “presidential” they might say. But despite all this, he came off as a bit more human.
After the break we’ll be talking about the end of Title 42 with war correspondent Michael Yon.
A key Trump policy on border security is set to expire. That is Title 42. The Pandemic-era policy uses a public emergency health order to turn away some migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. And while it hasn’t stopped the mass migration – both illegal and through the amnesty system – into the United States, it is credited with stopping the full force of people looking to illegally enter the United States.
Title 42 expired on May 11. Yet at the 11th hour, the Biden administration announced it would roll out a new immigration policy which essentially reinstates a Trump-era travel policy which stipulates that illegal immigrants will be disqualified from applying for asylum in the United States if they didn’t first seek protection in countries that they traveled through on their way to the United States.
So how has this affected things? Are we still seeing mass migration? And what’s the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border?
We’ve invited war correspondent Michael Yon to speak with us about this. He has been on the ground throughout Latin America reporting on the border crisis, and currently joins us from a key border town in El Paso, Texas.
That’s all for tonight, folks. Thanks for joining us for this new version of Crossroads on weeknights at 7PM eastern on EpochTV.com. Also join me for a live Q&A weekday mornings at 10:00AM eastern. In the next couple of weeks, we will be adding interviews and more segments to the show, so stay tuned for that. And then starting May 15th, we will be broadcasting simultaneously on both EpochTV.com and NTD cable. For updates, follow us on social media @crossroads_josh. And as always, Stay informed, and stay free.