CNN’s shameful spectacle: The 1st presidential debate of 2024 a complete disaster

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By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

This combination of photos shows Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, left, and President Joe Biden during a presidential debate hosted by CNN, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

CNN, which declined to provide Black-owned media with any of the more than 800 credentials it passed out, enabled a boatload of misinformation and flat-out lies to pass through their airwaves like bad wind.

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

(NNPA Newswire) — The first presidential debate of 2024 between President Joe Biden and criminally convicted former President Donald Trump was nothing short of a shameful display of unhinged and unchecked behavior. CNN, which declined to provide Black-owned media with any of the more than 800 credentials it passed out, enabled a boatload of misinformation and flat-out lies to pass through their airwaves like bad wind.

“Absolutely disgraceful that the CNN moderators refuse to fact-check Trump on anything,” said human rights activist and attorney Qasim Rashid. “This is journalistic malpractice, and it is decimating our democracy.”

Writer and attorney Olayemi Olurin tweeted, “It is a failure on CNN not to fact-check Trump’s lies, but the thing is… if Joe Biden were performing the way he’s supposed to in a debate, his answers would be the fact check. So, three things are true: Trump is lying his off, the mediator isn’t doing their job, and neither is Biden.”

Biden, whose campaign said he suffered from a cold during the debate, took some of his biggest shots at Trump after the former president refused to accept the results this fall regardless of who won. Trump said he would only accept the results “if it’s fair, legal, and good.”

“You’re a whiner,” Biden said. “When you lost the first time… you appealed and appealed to courts all across the country. Not one single court in America said any of your claims had any merit, state or local, none. But you continue to promote this lie about somehow, there’s all this misrepresentation, all this stealing. There’s no evidence of that at all. And I tell you what, I doubt whether you’ll accept it, because you’re such a whiner. The idea if you lose again, you accepting anything? You can’t stand the loss. Something snapped in you when you lost last time.”

Without any rebuttal, Trump also incredulously asserted that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was primarily to blame for the violent uprising on Jan. 6, 2021.

The moderators then cut to a commercial. And that was just a tiny part of CNN’s massive failure. Meanwhile, at the People for American Way reception and debate watch party at the Wharf in Washington, D.C., attendees sighed and expressed anger at their television sets as Trump told lie after lie. Despite having two anchors and a mute button, the host network failed to challenge him. 

“The debate turned into a 90-minute Trump rally,” said Alice Wilkes of Northeast. “I waited and waited for the moderators to say something, or, at least, cut him off.”

At Busboys & Poets on K Street in Northwest, where former lawmaker Nina Turner hosted a watch party, a packed house cheered as Biden called Trump “a sucker” and noted that he had “sex with a porn star” behind his wife’s back.

During the debate, Biden addressed questions about his age and stumbled when he tried to mock Trump’s fitness. “You can see he is 6-foot-5 and only 223 pounds or 235 pounds… well, anyway,” Biden said. 

Later, he agreed to Trump’s challenge of a golf match on one condition: “If you carry your own bag.”

Several Black voters expressed disappointment in the way both candidates talked about Black people. 

“It’s like they forgot about Black people,” Byron Cooper of Southeast said.

“Trump commuted some sentences and pardoned some drug dealers. That’s supposedly what he did for the Black community,” Cooper remarked. “Unfortunately, to some Black people, that’s enough, which is ridiculous because the guy is a stark raving racist.”

During the debate, Trump revived attacks on Biden and Democrats over the 1994 crime bill that disproportionately harmed African Americans. Neither Biden nor CNN failed to mention Trump calling for the execution of five Black and Brown teenagers who were innocent of sexually assaulting a White woman in Central Park.

Biden did mention how Trump has called skinheads and White nationalists “good people.”

In his two-minute closing argument, Trump personally attacked Biden’s record abroad. “They don’t respect you throughout the world,” he said. 

Trump claimed he had the largest tax cut and the largest regulation cuts in history, but the country is now “exploding.” 

“We’re a failing nation, but it’s not going to be failing anymore,” he said. We’re going to make it great again.”

For his close, Biden noted, “We have made significant progress from the debacle President Trump left in his last term.”

Biden then summarized some of his signature policies. In terms of the economy, he vowed not to raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000 a year and to continue his work to reduce health care and childcare costs and give families financial breathing room. 

“We’re going to continue to fight to bring down inflation and give people a break,” Biden said in closing.

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