Jon Stewart succinctly summed up the most glaring issue with CNN’s Wednesday night town hall interview with former President Donald Trump, and explained why those who are pushing back on the discourse are missing the point.
“Dear TV,” Stewart wrote on Twitter Saturday morning. “The problem w the Trump Town Hall wasn’t platforming…or a fragile siloed audience unable to be exposed to newsworthy opinions antithetical to their own…the problem was an event that was clearly negotiated to Trump’s approval. An ode to access.”
Stewart wrote from the perspective of CNN as they attempted to get back in Trump’s good graces, acting as a perverted Oliver Twist begging for ratings.
“We promise good sir…we are no longer Fake News!!!” the comedian tweeted. “An enemy of the people!!! Let us prove it to you!!! We are fair and good and will do this however you would like…just come back…”
Stewart, host of “The Problem With Jon Stewart” on Apple TV+, has often been critical of the media’s coverage of Trump. But he wasn’t alone in his outrage this time; CNN’s hour-long interview, taking place in front of a crowd of Trump supporters, Republicans and right-leaning moderates, was widely panned as a platform for Trump to broadcast harmful narratives about his legal troubles, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the 2020 election.
In the days that followed, however, some have pushed back on the uproar, accusing frustrated liberals of, essentially, plugging their ears to any views that differ from their own. CNN’s own Anderson Cooper defended his network’s decision to host Trump, stating that while he found the former President’s comments “disturbing,” he asked viewers, “do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away?”
Stewart’s comments appear to be a direct pushback against this argument. He’s not alone—former CNN analyst Jeff Greenfield deemed Cooper’s defense a “straw man” argument:
Stewart ended his thread by stating that the town hall brought viewers no new information about Trump and his backers, but that it did change his estimation of the cable news network: “I learned nothing from this town hall about Trump and his most ardent supporters I haven’t known since 2016. I learned a lot about CNN.”