The Revolution Will Be Televised

Donald Trump speaks during a CNN debate in 2016. (Rhone Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

When is it appropriate to platform a coup plotter?

As a wee pundit I never anticipated having to consider that question. But such are the novel ethical dilemmas that our glorious populist age has thrust upon us.

CNN announced yesterday that it plans to host Donald Trump at a televised prime-time town hall in New Hampshire on May 10. Much of the commentariat found this news “triggering,” to borrow a term, notwithstanding the fact that Trump was reinstated by major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter months ago. 

That’s because the relationship between Trump and CNN has been, and remains, a special sore spot among his critics. As an NBC executive years ago, Jeff Zucker made a TV star of Trump by greenlighting The Apprentice. Years later, as head of CNN, he made a political star of him by lavishing airtime on his longshot presidential campaign, sometimes airing his rallies from start to finish. It’s no exaggeration to say that Zucker “helped create” Trump as a cultural phenomenon.

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