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    Why Donald Trump's mayor's office might decide or break Caitlan Collins – and CNN

    'This is not to be trifled with': CNN correspondent Caitlan Collins Photo: Getty

    Caitlan Collins in American television host, unicorn. The idea that someone in the media covered the entire presidency of Donald Trump and yet somehow managed to avoid alienating both Democrats and Republicans is clearly preposterous. Yet Collins succeeded. But everything can change on May 10th.

    In the latest impossibly complicated step in Trump's fiendishly tangled relationship with CNN, the former president takes part in a City Hall event — an interview host takes questions from an audience in the studio — on a channel he called “fake.” and whose reporters he regularly punished.

    Collins, a former White House correspondent for CNN who was once barred from a Rose Garden event for asking tough questions about Vladimir Putin and later called an “activist” by press secretary Kayleigh McEnany will answer questions. It is clear that she will not end the event without irritating one or both of the guerrilla groups.

    But the thing about Caitlan Collins is that no one can pinpoint her political beliefs – she's been known to ask everyone the hard questions. Her career, in the words of one former director of public relations for CNN, “is incredible, which should show you that she is not to be trifled with.”

    The 31-year-old Alabama woman describes her upbringing as “apolitical,” recalls how her father, a mortgage broker, preferred local news programs over national ones, and told the magazine she doesn't remember her parents ever voting or expressing strong opinions about any or candidates. . Her first job, however, was as a reporter for The Daily Caller, a far-right news website founded by Tucker Carlson—yes, that Tucker Carlson, a recently fired Fox News anchor who was called a “right-wing extremist” by CNN. .

    After two years of blogging about Miley Cyrus' latest tattoos and Shia LaBeouf's trip to rehab, she was promoted to campaign reporter for Trump's 2016 election and a year later to White House correspondent. When CNN began bringing her in as a talking head, she impressed then-President Jeff Zucker and soon became CNN's White House correspondent.

    Following her ban, ignoring her questions and challenging her ethics, and being attacked by Trump supporters during the campaign for wearing a mask during the Covid pandemic, she was named the White House's chief correspondent in 2021 at just 28 years old. mail. This was followed by a job as a co-host on CNN This Morning in November 2022 alongside veteran anchor Poppy Harlow and former primetime anchor Don Lemon, despised by the right for being black, gay and anti-Trump and hated by the left for being sexist. and accusations. black men who are bad role models fired by CNN in April 2023.

    Let's step back for a moment and consider the oddly cozy antagonism at the heart of American media. For example, the arch-liberal critic Carlson himself hosted programs on PBS, CNN and MSNBC, as well as on Fox. Former CNN president Jeff Zucker, who resigned last February over a relationship with a colleague, hired Trump for a role on NBC's The Apprentice and then led CNN's position as an anti-Trump network. In his hours, CNN exposed the story of Steele's dossier of possible Russian compromising evidence on the then president-elect and published a slew of negative material about Trump's entourage. What's unusual about Collins is not that she jumps between conservative and liberal media, but that she doesn't change her reporting style to fit said media.” beliefs.

    Caitlan Collins interrogates President Donald Trump at the White House in July 2018. Photo: Getty

    “That I was really impressed with how deadpan she was in the briefing room,” New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman recently told the Washington Post. “She's pushy and aggressive and people love talking to her.”

    This persistent approach is evident in online collections of clips of Trump answering her questions during her years in the White House. He ignores her, rebukes her, and has his assistants take her microphone away, but to date, he has yet to launch personal attacks online. Indeed, when she was traveling on Air Force One, Trump sought her out for a little chat.

    For her part, she expressed dismay at the events of January 6 and in a 2021 interview said that the secret to interviewing Trump is that he remembers “he wants to intimidate and intimidate so you don't ask him, which he does not want.” ; I don't want to be asked about it. You must remember to focus on the question and get the answer. The fact that he banned me really prepared me for this.”

    Perhaps that's why, as part of his new “I'm not Ron DeSantis” media strategy, he sought her out again. This is partly because he is furious at Fox News, blaming the organization for turning against him. In mid-April, the Republican National Committee announced that Fox would host the first presidential debate, prompting Trump to say that he did not give his endorsement and would not participate in the forum hosted by “the evil ones, TRUMP and others.” MAGA hates anchors.”

    Caitlan Collins with her former CNN colleague Don Lemon in 2020. Photo: Alamy

    A week later, CNN announced that it would host Trump's town hall. Perhaps anticipating raised eyebrows on the left, the network's political director David Chalyan explained that CNN is reaching out to “every major presidential candidate and potential candidate about participating in CNN's coverage – we think it's important to the voter selection process.”

    It will also be important for CNN's weakening ratings. According to Nielsen ratings, its viewership dropped a staggering 61% in March, leaving its 473,000 viewers far behind MSNBC's 1.14 million and Fox News' 2.09 million viewers. CEO Chris Licht, invited by new parent company Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), to shift things to the center after Zucker's sketchy political views, was surprisingly peppy at the time, saying “fuck the ratings. Let's focus on who we are.”

    WBD executives point out that most of CNN's money comes from cable fares, and the CNN brand remains powerful. But with streamers putting pressure on cable subscriptions, this isn't a long-term strategy.

    Caitlan Collins reporting from the White House in 2018. Photo: AP

    Collins' own show was particularly hard hit, which drew just 359,000 viewers in the first quarter of the year, compared to MSNBC's Morning Joe, which averaged 846,000 viewers, and Fox News on Fox & Friends, which averaged 1.21 million viewers. It's a strife-ridden vessel, with Lemon gone, apparently mad at Collins off-air for interrupting him during the show and telling her on-air that viewers were “more interested in men.”

    Right now, viewers are more interested in Collins. Online back and forth suggests that viewers think she's going to be too tough, too weak, too pro-MAGA, too anti-Trump, and all shades in between. Given Trump's hostility on the air to Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News anchor who moderated the debate in 2016, she should expect him to come out with a bang. If she manages this, her future is assured. If she doesn't, she will end up in a bucket of anchors unable to hold the rope. No pressure, Caitlan, but your reputation and your network rankings matter.

    So, in a particularly tense journey through the looking glass that American politics is currently on, the non-partisan Collins and the formerly liberal CNN are hoping for a ratings boost from former Republican President Trump, who has decided to talk to them. because he hates the conservative news network Fox. Considering the event is taking place at St. Anselm's College in New Hampshire on Wednesday, they really aren't in Kansas anymore.

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