CNN Media Reporter Oliver Darcy Slams ‘Spectacle of Lies’ in Network’s Trump Town Hall

Darcy writes that CNN gave “unintended endorsement” to former president’s many lies


Strongly contradicting his own network’s full-throated defense of the event, CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy slammed the Donald Trump town hall that aired earlier in the evening, calling it a “spectacle of lies” that, he implied, did harm to the country.

“It’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening,” Darcy said in a new installment of his Reliable Sources newsletter, which came just 15 minutes after CNN released a statement essentially bragging about the event.

Darcy began with a description of Trump’s behavior and his interactions with the town hall’s moderator, Kaitlan Collins. Collins, Darcy said, was “tough and knowledgeble,” [sic] and “fact-checked Trump throughout.” The problem, Darcy argued, was that this was meaningless in response to someone like the disgraced former president.

“A professional lie machine, Trump fired off falsehoods at a rapid clip,” Darcy wrote, “while using his bluster to overwhelm Collins, stealing command of the stage at some points of the town hall.”

“Trump lied about the 2020 election. He took no responsibility for the January 6 insurrection that those very lies incited. And he mocked E. Jean Carroll’s allegations of sexual assault, which a jury found him liable for on Tuesday,” Darcy added. And then he turned his critical gaze to his employer.

“And CNN aired it all. On and on it went. It felt like 2016 all over again. It was Trump’s unhinged social media feed brought to life on stage,” Darcy wrote. “And Collins was put in an uncomfortable position, given the town hall was conducted in front of a Republican audience that applauded Trump, giving a sense of unintended endorsement to his shameful antics.”

Darcy said the event at least exposed voters to Trump’s extremist views on subjects like the debt ceiling, and the war in Ukraine, but cautioned that “for most of the night, the nation’s eyes were transfixed on Trump’s abuse of the platform that he was given.”

Darcy noted that according to multiple reports, Trump’s team is thrilled with how the event went, and he revealed that CNN and CEO Chris Licht are also “facing a fury of criticism” from inside CNN in addition to public uproar.

“How Licht and other CNN executives address the criticism in the coming days and weeks will be crucial. Will they defend what transpired at Saint Anselm College? Or will they express some regret?” Darcy asked.

As of now, Darcy said, “CNN is defending itself.”

Darcy was far from the event’s only critic. CNN was widely criticized during the broadcast and for hours after. Alongside the criticism, which ranged from “trump informercial” to “anti-American,” there were also calls from prominent journalists and pundits for Licht himself to resign.

Viewers called out the narrowly partisan makeup of the audience, and noted how the town hall amounted to just over an hour in which Trump lied repeatedly, dissembled, evaded questions and advanced yet more false claims about the 2020 election.

Critics noted also that Trump was was even allowed to disparage E. Jean Carroll, literally a day after being found liable by a jury of sexually assaulting and defaming her, without Collins pushing back against that in any meaningful way. And later, Trump even insulted Collins herself in personal terms.

Read more about it here.