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CNN Panelists: Republican Voters Don’t Hear Trump Hot Talk Like the Panicky Press Does

by | Dec 27, 2023

By Mark Finkelstein

No one explained Trump’s 2016 triumph, which so confounded the liberal media, as well as did Salena Zito. She famously said that the press took Trump “literally, but not seriously,” whereas Trump’s supporters took him “seriously, but not literally.”

There was an echo of that analysis on today’s CNN This Morning. Co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Phil Mattingly were trying to understand why Trump’s fiery rhetoric, far from hurting him with Republican primary voters, seems to actually be helping him.

First up was Shelby Talcott. Now at Semafor, Talcott worked at The Daily Caller for over three years, including a stint as its senior White House correspondent. She said:

“A lot of the voters that I talked to on the ground have the mentality that, A: this is just sort of something you have to deal with when Donald Trump is involved, and, B: they view this rhetoric as that fighter mentality that we talked about last week. And it’s, like, it’s been really interesting because this rhetoric isn’t taken like a lot of the media is taking it. It’s just taken as, this guy is a fighter, he’s using this language because he cares about us.”

Lee Carter, a former Republican strategist, now the president of a language strategy firm, offered a similar take:

“What I see right now and I really think it’s an important point you made, two-thirds of Americans are looking for a fighter. They want someone who is going to say, who is going to fight back to a system that seems to be working against them. . 

“So when he does this, it actually energizes them. They don’t hear it the same way everybody else does. Everybody else is hearing what he’s saying as a threat to democracy. As maybe he’s going to be an autocrat dictator, all those kinds of things. And the more people call him a dictator, an autocrat, the more the Republicans dig their heels in and say, we’re going to support this guy because we want somebody who’s going to fight for us, and nobody else will.” 

At least as notable as the views that Talcott and Carter expressed was the simple fact that CNN simultaneously had both on a panel. Even if this pair aren’t identified with Republican politics at this point, they certainly can understand and describe Republican sentiment without the ingrained hostility of the liberal media.

Over on MSNBC, when’s the last time that Morning Joe — or any of the network’s prime-time shows — had such a pair simultaneously on a panel?

Editor’s note. This appeared on Newsbusters and reposted with permission.

Categories: Donald Trump