I have taken the time to objectively study all of the recent interviews/town halls where Trump went one on one with the interviewer, and I am choosing to look at Anderson Cooper first, due to the reactions people had on social media and elsewhere to his handling of Trump vs. Cruz.
Anderson Cooper is not the enemy. As a matter of act, he is actively trying to help Trump, just as he has done on other occasions. Yes, Anderson handled Trump differently than he handled Cruz, but he did so to Trump’s advantage.
The Cruz Clown Show
When Anderson had Cruz, it was obvious as it was with Trump that questioners had been carefully chosen to play to the message the GOPers want to promote. However, Anderson, as a good interviewer who is really in tune with the audience, took away much of the impact those questions and answers could have had.
If you look at the camera shots that took in the audience, you notice something interesting–Anderson knew when the audience was getting irritated with/disengaged from Cruz, and he did nothing to stop that. On the contrary, he encouraged it by letting Cruz ramble on. Cruz is NOT a good extemporaneous speaker. He pontificates, his nasal tones are irritating, and there is something “off” about his personality that grates on listeners.
Anderson knows that. As a matter of fact, there were a few instances when Anderson’s facial expression around the eyes and mouth, and body language, showed HE wasn’t into the Cruz either. But he deliberately let Cruz run down the clock as often as possible. He did nothing to redirect Cruz when he could see the audience wasn’t feeling the message, either. He was giving Cruz all the rope he needed to hang himself, without making it painfully obvious.
Trump On Parade
With Trump, Anderson was far more proactive. But he was NOT being proactive to be rude. He was deliberate in everything he did. His performance was exceptional, as a matter of fact. Why? Several reasons:
- When he saw the audience reacting poorly to something Trump was saying, he not only interrupted–he redirected Trump, getting Trump to restate something so the audience “got it”. This had the effect of keeping the audience engaged.
- This also created a stark contrast for pro-Trump people to seize on, as it makes it seem that “the MSM is always harder on Trump than Cruz”, something even a Cruz supporter would have to admit.
- This also can cause a fence sitter to take a closer look at Trump, because the deliberate interruptions and aggressive behavior reflexively make the average person want to take a closer look at a candidate to see what they are missing.
- The re-direction also gives the audience multiple examples of a single point, providing more opportunity for the fence sitters to consider the full context of an argument or position.
- Cooper also explored parallel situations relating to questions with Trump far more than he ever does with Cruz, allowing Trump to introduce other positions into the conversation for later expansion.
- At one point, Anderson got so blatant he joked about giving Trump “free advice”, a point both men laughed about but one that is very valid. Anderson doesn’t offer “free advice” to Cruz, even when Cruz is messing up and Anderson knows it. Nor does he help Kasich.
- Anderson also scored a serious hit on Cruz, when Cruz was complaining about the billions of dollars in free press Trump gets. Anderson jumped right in and pointed out that his people call Cruz daily asking him if he wants to do an interview, and Cruz refuses. That particular exchange resulted in a backlash on Cruz’s Facebook page that required a major cleaning up on the part of his public perception/social media management team. Cruz’s supporters, who always complain about that issue, heard from a respected media source that their guy has been offered the same access, and has turned it down. And Cruz didn’t deny that either, he pivoted to something else.
The ends result was simple, when you watch both town halls from a strictly logical/observational standpoint. Cruz managed to alienate a good portion of the audience, and it has been confirmed that Cruz turns down exclusive interviews with Anderson. This implies that he may also be avoiding other chances at free press coverage, and is causing his supporters to wonder why he would turn down free press?
The perception that Cruz has it “easy” and the MSM treats Trump rudely has been reinforced, in a way that has people on social media wondering why Anderson was so soft on Cruz. It also has people on social media looking more closely at what Trump was “trying to say, but was prevented from saying by constant interruptions”.
It gave the audience a far more in depth look at Trump than Cruz, as the multiple re-directions and side questions allowed Trump to bring more into the exchange than Cruz did. Cruz presents, in the final analysis, as a shallow politician with hokey stories and a grating voice. While Trump presents as someone who has a variety of different views; someone complex, and interesting, and not fake and flat.
When you take the time to watch all of Trump’s interactions with Anderson Cooper and compare them to Cruz’s interactions with Cooper, from an objective point of view, Anderson is probably the best “friend” we have in terms of an interviewer, because he manages to bring out the best in Trump, minimize the inevitable mis-statements that come with speaking off the cuff, and give people a complex view of our candidate that other interviewers can’t match.