CNN has often been the particular focus of Donald Trump’s unsettling attacks on the press. The president has retweeted a fan’s photo showing him with CNN’s logo splattered with blood at the bottom of his shoe. He retweeted another fan photo showing a cartoon of a CNN reporter getting run over by a train. The White House tried to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass after he asked a follow-up question. Yet despite all this, CNN decided to run an op-ed over the weekend from Melania Trump’s spokesperson that pushes back on another op-ed by CNN’s own contributor, Kate Brower.
The media company is giving Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s deputy chief of staff for communications, a platform on their very own site to defensively criticize them. The article is as much of a mouthpiece for the administration as you could expect, calling Brower’s piece, which criticized Trump’s recent Fox News interview for being all about herself, “condescending” and “yet another unnecessary attack on the first lady.”
Grisham’s op-ed waxes on about all the work that Trump has done to help children and families, including touting her “Be Best” campaign for encouraging children to “practice digital civility.” She is given a platform to tout this on CNN, all while the Trump administration has made it a policy to separate families and tear gas migrant children at the border.
Grisham also attacks the press for focusing on Trump’s clothing. “Absurdity abounds in the media’s coverage of our first lady,” she writes. Yet it, of course, goes unmentioned that Grisham is the same spokesperson who lied to the press when she declared that Trump’s infamous jacket that read “I really don’t care. Do u?” didn’t have a hidden message. Only a few months later Trump herself claimed the jacket was actually a message to the “left-wing media.”
The thing about all this is that CNN could just... not run a press release for Melania Trump on their own site attacking their own contributor. There’s really no need to employ both-sides-ism with a literal PR professional.