CNN slammed for soft questions during Biden town hall: ‘The media is broken’
CNN came under criticism from the right and the left for the questions posed to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at a town hall Thursday night, with many arguing he wasn’t challenged in the same way President Trump was at a similar event this week hosted by ABC News.
The “drive-in town hall” event, which took place just outside Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pa., was moderated by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.
To kick off questions, Cooper said: “Mr. Vice President, President Trump has said that he downplayed the coronavirus because he didn’t want to cause panic. If you were president, could you see a scenario where you downplayed critical information so as not to cause panic?”
At another point, Cooper asked: “Mr. Vice President, Bob Woodward asked President Trump about white privilege and whether or not he benefited from it. And the president said, ‘No, I don’t feel that way at all’ and sort of mocked Bob Woodward. Do you see ways you have benefited from white privilege?”
If ABC’s event with President Trump was an icy grilling, CNN’s drive-in conversation with Joe Biden yesterday was more like an affable reunion of old acquaintances. ICYMI, here’s a look at the key moments from last night’s town hall https://t.co/pilylarwYD pic.twitter.com/JHpM8w7psu
— POLITICO (@politico) September 18, 2020
When Politico accuses CNN of a softball Interview, you know there’s a problem.
This man might become POTUS, yet still, too many reporters think their role is to help make that happen instead of asking hard Qs.
The media is broken. https://t.co/VOUUJ0KR8D
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) September 18, 2020
You again really see the @JamesFallows Why Americans Hate The Media dynamic on display at this Biden town hall.
Pro journalist wants Biden to respond to something weird the Attorney General said.
Citizen questioner wants Biden to explain his health care plan.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 18, 2020
Biden is doing very well, yes. But this is not exactly getting him ready to face tough questions from a Chris Wallace or Jake Tapper (should he decide to do so).
— Jeff Greenfield (@greenfield64) September 18, 2020
So far the questions at CNN’s drive-in #BidenTownHall sound as if they were written by Biden’s campaign: “Tell us how bad Trump is”. Reversal of the president’s ABC townhall
— Miranda Devine (@mirandadevine) September 18, 2020
Trump also mocked CNN, a network he has consistently criticized.
“He’s up there tonight getting softball questions from Anderson Cooper. They don’t ask me questions like that,” Trump told his supporters at a Wisconsin rally that was being held at the same time as the Biden event.
Even the audience portion of the town hall drew criticism. Of the 16 questions asked by audience members, only three were from Republicans, with the rest coming from Democrats.
TV ratings for Thursday night’s town hall will be available Friday afternoon.
Biden and Trump are set to square off for the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, where Fox News anchor Chris Wallace will serve as moderator.