'Dereliction of duty': Fox News host hammers Kaitlan Collins for inadequately fact-checking Donald Trump
CNN's Kaitlan Collins [Photo: Screenshot from video]

CNN continues to mitigate the fallout from its controversial Wednesday town hall with former President Donald Trump. There has been widespread criticism if not outright condemnation of the network over its decision to host Trump and a cherry-picked audience at Saint Anselm College — where Trump spent the better part of seventy minutes rehashing conspiracy theories, lies about the 2020 election, defaming E. Jean Carroll, and belligerently refusing to answer moderator Kaitlan Collins' questions.

CNN, however, defended the event and insisted that it was a worthwhile investment of viewers' time and an enriching experience for those who watched it. Either way, it happened, and many within the media are wondering how to best juggle Trump, his campaign for reelection to the presidency, and the myriad of legal battles that are looming over him.

That was the focus of discussion on Thursday's edition of The Five.

"The part that feels like we're stuck between a rock and a hard place — which everyone has been with Donald Trump since he came down the gold staircase — you can't ignore him. He's likely to be the GOP nominee again. He ended up the president of the United States of America and was the candidate in 2020. So you do have a responsibility, I think, as news people to talk about what's going on in one of the two major political parties," Fox News co-host Jessica Tarlov said.

"I can only imagine though, that Donald Trump orchestrated every single second of how that town hall played out, that he was able to get a completely friendly audience. They're on a college campus," Tarlov noted.

"It was Republican primary candidates. I'm sorry, Republican primary voters," Jeanine Pirro interrupted.

"Right," Tarlov continued, pointing out that CNN "didn't even have an undecided voter though. They didn't throw in an independent or someone who said, 'I voted for you in 2016, but I didn't in 2020 because of X, Y, Z reason. How are you gonna win back my vote?' It was, a fanboy and girl session the entire time, which does benefit him."

Tarlov accused Collins of "dereliction of duty" for failing to hold Trump accountable for his multiple falsehoods:

To the point about the fact-checking I, I think that it is important to make sure that people at least hear some pushback, whether they actually process what it is that you said in response. That the truth does have to get out there. And there was such an incredible cascade of lies flowing out of his mouth from the border wall. He said, you know, 'I secured the whole thing. It's 1900 miles long.' He did 52 new miles. The documents. 'Obama took documents.' Didn't happen. 'Joe Biden didn't comply.' Joe Biden did comply. Perfect phone calls with Brad Raffensperger and with Zelenskyy. That Democrats support infanticide. And Kaitlan Collins let that one go and I thought that that was a major losing moment for her because if you wanna make the Dobbs decision a focal point, which it absolutely will be in this election, and you hear the former president say that Democrats support abortion up until nine months, even after the baby's born, uh, complete dereliction of duty. And on the day after he gets a ruling that he's sexually abused and defamed E. Jean Carroll and he calls her a whack job and the audience is laughing?

Tarlov also dinged CNN for allowing Trump on the air but not Don Lemon, whom the network fired in April.

"It was a, just appalling," she said. "And I think that's what a lot of the commentators were on afterwards were, uh, were reflecting on, but you are the network that fired Don Lemon for misogyny and then you have Donald Trump up there going after a victim of his in such a way?"