CNN host Anderson Cooper, in addressing criticism of Trump event, acknowledged some viewers may 'never watch this network again'

 May 13, 2023

Former President Donald Trump for several years has urged the American people to ignore and not watch "fake news" CNN, and now one of the network's biggest stars has nearly echoed that sentiment about not watching CNN.

CNN host Anderson Cooper, in an attempted defense of the network, acknowledged to his own viewers that they "have every right to be angry and never watch this network again," according to the New York Post.

That stunning remark from Cooper came as he addressed the sharp criticism CNN has received in the aftermath of the "disturbing" special town hall-style event it hosted this week in New Hampshire with former President Trump in front of a generally receptive and supportive Republican-leaning audience.

Addressing the "deep anger and disappointment" of viewers

During his opening monologue on Thursday, Cooper took a few moments to address the "deep anger and disappointment" expressed by some viewers about the Trump town hall, and signaled his agreement with those complaints as he said, "I get it. It was disturbing."

He proceeded to highlight examples of several "disturbing" and "awful" moments during the special event that aired during his time slot one night earlier, and further agreed, "It was certainly disturbing to hear that audience -- young and old, our fellow citizens, people who love their kids and go to church -- laugh and applaud his lies."

Cooper also pointed out that it was virtually "impossible" to fact-check Trump's purported "lies" in real time, though he credited moderator Kaitlan Collins for her efforts in that regard.

Cooper's defense of the Trump event

"Now, many of you think CNN shouldn’t have given him any platform to speak, and I understand the anger about that -- giving him the audience, the time, I get that," Cooper said. "But this is what I also get: the man you were so disturbed to see and hear from last night -- that man is the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. And according to polling, no other Republican is even close."

"That man you were so upset to hear from last night, he may be president of the United States in less than two years. And that audience that upset you? That’s a sampling of about half the country. They are your family members, your neighbors and they are voting, and many said they’re voting for him," he continued.

Cooper said that the event showed that nothing yet has stopped or slowed Trump from his goal of returning to the White House, and warned "It can happen again, it is happening again. He hasn’t changed and he is running hard."

"You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again," the CNN host admitted. "But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away? If we all only listen to those we agree with, it may actually do the opposite."

Cooper went on to argue that it was better, in his view, for CNN to broadcast and expose Trump's claims in order for them to be fact-checked and then seemed to urge everyone to "get involved" -- presumably by voting for Democrats -- to try to ensure that Trump is not re-elected to be the president again.

A ratings bonanza, if only for one night

For what it is worth, the New York Post pointed out that the Trump town hall special more than tripled CNN's usual ratings for that time slot on Wednesday, as it drew approximately 3.3 million viewers in comparison to an average of less than 1 million for any other night when Cooper is hosting his normal program.

That surge in viewers was fleeting, however, as many were undoubtedly supporters of the former president who will possibly never turn the channel back to CNN again, and it will be interesting to see how many of Cooper's regular viewers were actually upset enough to heed his acceptance of the potential for them to "never watch this network again."

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