May 30, 2024 - Business

Scoop: X and NewsNation plan live town halls with Trump, RFK Jr.

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Photos: Kevin Dietsch, Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

X and cable news network NewsNation are planning to host live town halls with former President Trump and independent presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr., two sources familiar with the plans told Axios.

State of play: The pair have agreed in principle to separate live interviews as part of a new video series, titled "The People's Town Hall," per the sources, though the dates and locations have yet to be set.

  • The Biden campaign has not agreed to take part.
  • A spokesperson for the Biden campaign declined to comment. The Trump and RFK Jr. campaigns did not respond to requests for comment.

Why it matters: While every other social network in the country is retreating from politics, X is looking to lean in as part of its wider push into creator video.

  • X CEO Linda Yaccarino said last week that X paid out over $50 million in ad revenue to creators since she became CEO last year.
  • The live feeds will be available to all X users globally.

Details: The new live town hall format will allow users to submit questions to debate moderators before the event and in real time, a source familiar with X's plans told Axios.

  • Moderators will have final say over what is asked. Moderators for each event have not yet been determined, but they will likely include at least one NewsNation host, alongside other journalists.
  • X will create a live event page for each town hall to promote the live feed and curate conversations around the event.
  • Sources told Axios that Yaccarino approached NewsNation parent Nexstar about the concept. The idea, from her point of view, is to make X the destination in which everyday people can have a greater voice in the political process.

The big picture: The new venture comes as more campaign events shift to new platforms.

  • NewsNation, an upstart cable news network, hosted the fourth GOP presidential primary debate last December — its first major election event. That debate was watched by more than 4 million people across NewsNation and its sister network, the CW.

What's next: Biden and Trump have agreed to participate in a June 27 presidential debate hosted by CNN.

  • RFK Jr. has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) about the criteria for reaching the debate stage.
  • Trump and Biden have both accepted invites from ABC News for a debate on Sept. 10, Axios has reported. Trump said that he also accepted a debate with Fox News in October.
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