The day started with Chris Cuomo pushing out a story from a kid claiming he could buy a AR-15 with expired identification. If one bothered reading the story, one would have read the kid admitting he did not actually go through with the purchase. Like most gun stores, the kid asked to see a particular gun and the shop let him hold it. Cuomo, when confronted with the truth, attacked the people who pointed out the truth claiming they were somehow attacking the kid who lied.
Then CNN took an unfortunate turn. One of their really good reporters who I actually know and think very highly of, confronted an elderly lady in Florida who had shared stuff on Facebook and participated in some rally that had actually been orchestrated by Russian trolls. CNN had also given media attention to that rally. But instead of confronting its own ability to be played by the Russian trolls, CNN harassed the senior citizen in a conversation that ended with her walking away muttering expletives. Later, the lady show her Facebook page targeted by leftwing trolls.
The story could have been a good one. The lady clearly had no idea she had been played. And I cannot help but think that had CNN gone in a different direction with it, they could have helped the lady realize she'd been played without also making her look like a belligerent fool. It was unfortunate and showed a lack of recognition that the network itself had been duped.
On this one, I actually hope they try again and I actually hope they also find Democrats who participated in anti-Trump rallies organized by the Russians. Otherwise I think they do a real disservice to the story, which is that Russia played everybody off everybody. All sides were duped.
But then there was last night's townhall. I see lots of people blowing up CNN for the townhall, but allow me to defend them.
You aren't going to get a lot of pro-gun attendees at one of these things. I am positive, given the demographics of the school, that there are parents and students who believe in expanding gun rights and not restricting gun rights. But those people are not going to show up at a townhall like that when many of the people already committed to being there wanted to be vocally anti-gun.
CNN, though, did a real service by inviting Republicans, the NRA, etc. to weather the storm and I think the network treated them fairly and respectfully. I have seen some complain about the stacking of the deck in favor of gun control. I don't think you could have found second amendment advocates from the school willing to show up. It's not that they are not there. It's that they don't want to be the skunk at the party and they would have been. That's not CNN's fault.
What the network did was allow people to air grievances and feel like they were being heard. Whether anything comes of it I won't hold my breath. And I would caution the network that it walks a fine line between advocacy on the issue and reporting on the issue. Many of its anchors and reporters are in favor of more gun control and they risk the network careening towards advocacy when, I think, they did a good job actually just letting the conversation happen last night.
I tend to prefer the news portion at CNN more than most other networks because I think they do a good job of bring both sides in. I wish Chris Cuomo could be as respectful of conservatives as most of his anchor co-workers are. And I wish CNN would approach the Russia story differently than they did yesterday. But CNN knows how to put on a townhall and I applaud them for their effort last night. Yes it was one sided. But that wasn't CNN's fault.