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Today's Truth and Consequences Zoom Chat
I’m Michael A. Cohen, and this is Truth and Consequences: A no-holds-barred look at the absurdities, ’ absurdities, hypocrisies, and surreality. If you were sent this email or are a free subscriber and would like to become a paid subscriber, you can sign up here.
We will be Zoom chatting at 12: 30 today. The link is here.
I wanted to add one more point to my post from yesterday. One of my arguments is that “Forcing Americans to directly confront the cruelty, heartlessness, and lunacy at the heart of Trump’s political appeal is ultimately the best and only way to defeat it.” I completely stand by that argument, and it’s why I find many of the criticisms of CNN not only off-base but borderline elitist and condescending.
Trump is the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination — almost anything he says is news. For example, on Wednesday night, among other things, he:
Called for Republicans to default on the national debt.
Said he’d pardon convicted January 6 rioters.
Refused to say he wanted Ukraine to win the war with Russia.
Endorsed family separation of migrants and said he might bring back the policy if reelected.
Continued to claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
Mocked a sexual abuse victim, who won a civil lawsuit against him earlier in the week and was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages.
All of this is valuable information for voters (and here’s a really smart write-up from the New York Times on all the ways Trump made news on Wedneday). For non-elites, who don’t follow politics closely or don’t pay attention to Trump’s statements and rallies, this is all newsworthy. It gives voters a good sense of what another Trump term would look like.
There’s an unspoken notion in all the criticisms of CNN and the Wednesday town hall that Americans need to be protected from Trump’s toxic words — that giving him a platform is dangerous because people might be swayed by it. I don’t see how that’s a workable notion in an electoral democracy or why journalists would endorse it.
The argument that CNN should not “platform” Trump is born out of the implicit notion that voters need to be protected from Trump’s words. Call me an old-fashioned populist, but we should trust voters to hear from toxic, dishonest politicians like Trump. Yes, Trump’s words should be fact-checked because that’s a crucial part of journalism, but ultimately we need to trust voters to hear anti-democratic politicians and decide whether they support them or not. Do we really want journalists deciding which political views are appropriate and which ones are not? I understand why after 2016, it’s hard for some people to have faith in the electorate, but ultimately, we have no other choice.
See ya at 12:30.
What’s Going On
Tara Palmieri’s write-up from inside the Trump town hall is fascinating. Not everyone was on his side, and the audience was mostly undecided voters.