Anderson Cooper Suggests CNN Critics Get Out Of Their ‘Silo’

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the 16th annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute - Red Carpet - Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CNN
the 16th annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute - Red Carpet - Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CNN

CNN was utterly humiliated by Trump during Wednesday night’s town hall — but the network isn’t backing down from its decision to host the former president.

Anderson Cooper stated during his Thursday broadcast that while he understood viewers’ anger over what amounted to a made-for-TV Trump rally, the many lies from Trump and the enthusiastic response from the audience stacked with his supporters is a stark reminder of the former president’s sustained influence in Republican politics. As if any of us could have forgotten.

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“Many of you think CNN shouldn’t have given him any platform to speak, and I understand the anger about that,” Cooper said, “but this is what I also get: The man you were so disturbed to see and hear from  last night, that man is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president.”

Cooper went on to suggest that those who criticized the network needed to step out of their bubble.

“If last night showed anything it showed that it can happen again. It is happening again,” Copper said. “He hasn’t changed and he is running hard. You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again. But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away?”

The hour-long event Wednesday night started on a low note and cratered for a full 60 minutes. Trump opened with an assertion that the 2020 election had been fraudulently stolen from him, and proceeded to deliver an hour of lies and misinformation to an audience stacked with Republican voters, who cackled and applauded his jabs at sexual assault victim E. Jean Carroll.

Throughout the interview, the former president mocked moderator Kaitlan Collins (at one point calling her “nasty”), who was unable to combat the sheer volume of falsehoods being lobbed by Trump. “It is impossible to fact check fully because he lies so shamelessly,” Cooper told viewers on Thursday.

The whole thing was unremarkable in how utterly predictable it was.

Insiders at CNN previously expressed the off-camera outrage to Rolling Stone regarding the decision to host Trump and the fallout it would have for the network.

“A fucking disgrace,” said one source. “One-thousand percent a mistake [to host Trump]. No one [at CNN] is happy.”

“We did it wrong,” another on-air personality told The Washington Post. “We treated him like a normal politician who could be fact-checked. We ended up dancing around a demagogue.”

But publicly, anchors like Cooper and executives are scrambling to do damage control.

During a Thursday morning call with CNN’s staff, CEO Chris Licht defended the broadcast. “I absolutely unequivocally believe America was served very well by what we did last night,” Licht told staffers, adding that “you cannot ignore that President Trump exists.”

“Kaitlan Collins exemplified what it means to be a world-class journalist. She asked tough, fair and revealing questions,” said a network spokesperson on Wednesday. “And she followed up and fact-checked President Trump in real time to arm voters with crucial information about his positions as he enters the 2024 election as the Republican frontrunner.”

“That is CNN’s role and responsibility: to get answers and hold the powerful to account.”

Trump and his allies, however, walked away from the broadcast feeling victorious. “People are criticizing CNN for giving me a Forum to tell the TRUTH,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Many minds were changed on Wednesday night by listening to Common Sense, and sheer ‘Brilliance,’” he added.

One source close to the former president gleefully told Rolling Stone on Wednesday that he felt “[Trump] should literally do this every night.”

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