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Ocasio-Cortez admits she thinks CNN should be ashamed for even allowing Trump on the network

By Sarah May
|
May 11, 2023

Though usually a fan of the far-left flavor on CNN, in the wake of the network's Wednesday New Hampshire town hall featuring former President Donald Trump, Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) was forced to admit her irritation at the programming decision, going so far as to suggest that the outlet's executives should be “ashamed,” as The Hill reports.

The televised event was certainly a departure, not just from CNN's customary primetime fare, but also for the current Republican primary frontrunner, who has slammed the network in the past for promulgating what he described as “fake news.”

AOC Lets Loose

The New York progressive did not wait until the conclusion of the town hall to let the country know her opinions on the event, tweeting her reactions as the night unfolded.

“CNN should be ashamed of themselves,” Ocasio-Cortez began.

Not holding back her disdain for the proceedings, the congresswoman continued, “They have lost total control of this 'town hall' to again be manipulated into platforming election disinformation, defenses of Jan.6, and a public attack on a sexual abuse victim,” referring to Trump's ongoing complaints about the 2020 presidential contest and the recent verdict against him in a civil suit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll.

Frustrated that the Granite State audience did not seem to share her sentiments and enthusiastically expressed support for much of what Trump said, Ocasio-Cortez observed, “The audience is cheering him on and laughing at the host.”

Network's Motives Questioned

Suggesting that the very idea of hosting Trump was evidence that CNN was driven solely by its desire to boost ratings and -- by extension -- profits, Ocasio-Cortez laid blame at the feet of those who lead the network.

“This falls squarely on CNN. Everyone here saw exactly what was going to happen. Instead, they put a sexual abuse victim in harm's way for views,” the lawmaker opined.

“This was a choice to platform lies about the election & Jan. 6 w/no plan but to have their moderator interrupted without consequence,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

Speaking later during an appearance on MSNBC, the New York Democrat doubled down on her critique of CNN, saying, “I think it was a profoundly irresponsible decision. I don't think that I would be doing my job if I did not say that.”

Colleagues Weigh in

Not surprisingly, AOC was far from the only prominent Democrat who leveled significant criticism of CNN's decision to host the former commander in chief, as The Hill noted separately.

Also taking aim at CNN specifically, Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02), who said the network “learned nothing” from the 2016 and 2020 election aftermath.

Piling on was Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), who observed, “CNN put the nation's biggest con man, grifter, misogynist, and threat to Democracy on prime time for an hour.”

Former Democratic Congresswoman Elain Luria of Virginia flatly accused CNN of “journalistic malpractice.”

Network's Successful Night

Whatever CNN's motives may have been for planning Wednesday's New Hampshire town hall, there is no denying that it was a successful gambit according to some key broadcasting metrics.

According to Axios, the program pulled 3.1 million viewers, giving CNN the title for most-watched cable news network for the night, a feat it rarely achieves.

During an editorial call with staff held Thursday morning, CNN's CEO Chris Licht stood firm on the programming decision, saying, “America was served by what we did last night.”

Whether President Joe Biden will agree to participate in a similarly free-wheeling and unscripted live event on CNN – or any other network – as the 2024 election cycle heats up, only time will tell.