If CNN’s town hall felt more like a dog and pony show/witch hunt/kangaroo court, then NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch’s viewpoint on it won’t make you feel any better about the firearm hate hour.
As you’ll recall, Loesch was the NRA rep who walked into the lions den to sit on stage with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and answer questions from the audience. What she got instead was something equivalent of a Salem witch trial, where she was screamed at, booed, jeered, and called a murderer, while Israel virtue signaled to applause at Loesch’s expense.
This, while he was hiding the fact that his incompetent department failed to put the shooter on a watch list that would have stopped him from buying a gun, and one of his deputies literally stood outside the school listening to the shooter kill innocent people.
According to the Federalist Radio Hour, Loesch describes how she first was led to the stage, which seemed an awful lot like she was about to step into a literal wrestling ring with a crowd that was well primed to hate her:
They had music that was playing. They had montages that they were flashing across the screen. They had a number of speakers from the school and from the community. They had the sheriff go up and speak. He mentioned special interest groups, referring to the membership of the NRA.
Then they brought the politicians out…and that was the first hour. After all of this was already happening, after emotions were already running high, and after CNN put everyone together and cranked up, really trying to wind people up even more.
I had no questions in advance. It was even weird the way they had us walk out because it was like entering like you were a boxer or like WWE. You were walking up to the stage and they had music playing. You had to walk in aisles with all these people screaming and you had to walk toward the stage. That’s how you entered.
Loesch says she considers CNN’s Jake Tapper, who moderated the town hall, a friend, but added that he lost control of the town hall. It was also odd that the only time Tapper jumped in to really moderate anything was when he told Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson that he didn’t have to answer a question that was intended for Loesch, and just to move on to the next one.
Suffice to say, it was an odd moment, and Loesch agrees, noting that this didn’t seem like your standard town hall. Even CNN President Jeff Zucker was there:
I don’t know if he lost control or if that was CNN’s intention, because [CNN President] Jeff Zucker was there. When we were backstage getting ready to go out, Jeff Zucker came in. He doesn’t just show up for nothing. This is not a day at the ballpark. It was weird.
There was no control. It just went on forever and ever. At some point, you’re just desensitized, because where is the moderation? This is where a moderator drives this. You’re a moderator, you have to make sure people are being heard and it’s not just people standing up and giving speeches and screaming at somebody.
Overall, the entire thing felt like an ambush. As Loesch told The Federalist, it seemed less like ground for an actual conversation. She’s couldn’t be more correct here. The entire situation felt like more of a set-up to help along a narrative than a discussion.
“I’m never opposed to talking about firearms or firearms law, no matter when a tragedy occurs…but it just seems to be the wrong formula for a genuine discussion,” she said. “I’m not going to back down. I love children and I want to protect them, which is why I want to make sure that they have the same protection that those politicians have on stage. That’s why.”