Yesterday, CNN spent a fair amount of their time trumpeting their exclusive, spectacular, luxurious one hour special interview with The Donald. It may have turned out to be a case of unfortunate timing, considering that the entire country was pretty well obsessed with Donald wading into battle at his town hall in New Hampshire where he proceeded to devour all the audience share. But it was rather curious, I thought, that they would set aside a full hour for Trump when the rest of the crowded field doesn’t seem to be getting that kind of prime time, extensive love.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump took on an array of subjects and political figures during a lengthy interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday, including Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Pope Francis and even Caroline Kennedy.
You can see the full video at the link above. It wasn’t exactly the kindest treatment Trump could have expected but it remained civil for the most part. Then again, the job was handed to Chris Cuomo, famous for his other hard hitting assignments such as interviewing his own brother. But still, as I started to say above, I clearly wasn’t the only one who found the prime time feature a bit odd considering how the rest of the field is treated. For a bit of contrast, we can look at Fox News, where Hannity has offered a one hour slot to pretty much everyone who has declared. By early June he had already featured four of them.
Presidential candidates launch their bids in different cities — from Louisville to Lynchburg, Miami to Addison — but, for many Republicans, the first stop on the campaign trail is the same: “Hannity.”
In the last two months, four GOP hopefuls have given Sean Hannity dibs on their first interviews as candidates and been rewarded with hour-long “special events” on his primetime Fox News program. Others have tried to land an interview with the conservative host, campaign sources said, only to be turned down — either because they had given their first interview to another media outlet, or because they weren’t popular enough.
On Thursday, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will become the fourth Republican to get an hour-long special on Hannity’s program. Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were all given the same hour-long special the night after they formally announced their bids.
More came after that, and yes… Trump got his shot also. Is an hour overexposure? Personally I don’t think so, but if you’re going to do it for one it seems like you’d do it for all of them. Somebody asked Cuomo on Twitter this morning if he planned to do the same for Ted Cruz.
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) August 20, 2015
That’s not really an answer though, is it? Saying that Cruz has been invited on New Day implies that he could come on for a segment, just as Morning Joe, Fox and Friends and the rest of the morning shows do. And to be fair, CNN has had plenty of them on with Jake Tapper and the rest of the hosts. But that’s not really the same as an hour long special.
I will say that there are some at least marginally plausible arguments that CNN could make. Trump is the front runner and, in fact, he’s running away with the race at this point. He’s obviously, in that regard, the “most interesting” news maker out of the bunch. That might be an argument to make if you’re deciding who your first target is for a big interview like this. But there’s also the standing Fourth Estate argument which makes it the duty of a news outlet to offer the voters every viable choice available to them.
If I were a more suspicious fellow I might suspect that CNN saw the NFL level ratings that Fox got when Trump showed up at a debate and was trying to scoop up some of that magic. But no… that wouldn’t be it.