The nearly universal condemnation of CNN for allowing Donald Trump more than an hour of prime time to spew his oft-repeated lies is well-deserved.
Criticism ranged from "an evening of B.S." to "Fox Lite."
Just because the guy who's been a most-vocal critic of your network now wants to talk to you doesn't mean it's necessary to broadcast the verbal slime for which he's so well-known.
What possessed the "powers-that-be" at CNN to give unfettered license to flood their network with a torrent of lies we'll never know. Ratings? Sponsorships?
Then - offering a fig leaf of an apology - the despicable mess was followed the next day with Anderson Cooper being sent out with a meaningless mea culpa and an impossible attempt to explain a bad decision.
A professional co-hort of mine - now reporting from that great newsroom in the sky - often reminded me "It's not the reporter's job to judge the veracity of the interviewee. That's up to your audience."
Under normal conditions in a normal interview, that's all well and good. But, that co-hort never faced an interviewee like DJT.
One thing is certain. Those of us who watch CNN will never look at the network the same way. Founder Ted Turner envisioned his creation as a straight-up journalistic broadcasting company with no underlying message - unlike his competitors. The evening with Trump earned CNN the brickbats has received. It also betrayed Turner's goals.
In general terms, there's a large whiff of distrust and anger in the unending criticism directed at nearly all media these days. Much of such anger is well-founded. CNN's escapade with Trump just added fuel to that argument.
The CNN venture only served one purpose as far as Trump is concerned: his love and lust for publicity. Good, bad or sideways. He doesn't seem to care. Just get his disgusting mug on the tube.
I don't know why that guy isn't wearing an orange jumpsuit in someone's crossbar hotel. His culpability in one crime or another is well-known. So far, his less-than-honest conduct has resulted in him simply writing sizeable checks. Surely some of the current legal activity will result in his presence in one or more courtrooms on criminal charges. In courtrooms where writing a check won't do.
National media would be well-advised at this time to stop putting this guy on the front page or on the nightly news. If the rumors emanating from Georgia to New York City to New York State that indictments are coming, keeping him out of the spotlight is even more important. To us as consumers. To Trump as the star.
The CNN outing must have been watched by some of those prosecutors. Watched and recorded. Recorded for use as some of those legal eagles are building their various cases for prosecution.
Trump is his own worst enemy. He suffers from verbal diarrhea in the first degree. It's apparent some of the things he says - often words volunteered - are self-incriminating.
The $5-million verdict in the E. Jean Carroll case came after her legal team played a video of Trump running off at the mouth in what is described as the "Access Hollywood" tape. The one in which he said "You grab 'em by the p - - - y."
In the long run, the corporate team at CNN did themselves no favor by letting a relative lightweight reporter be run over by DJT. By giving him a platform. By dousing the viewing audience in verbal doses of lies, upon lies, upon lies. The young reporter was outgunned from the git-go.
The national media seems unable to deal with Trump from any position of control. He's simply given a microphone and everyone stands back.
At our house, the mute button on the remote control is getting a lot more use recently. A lot. CNN would have been well-advised to do the same.