Stacking the deck.

Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple sat in the crowd at CNN’s “town hall” interview with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday and concluded: “If you’re a possible Democratic candidate, with or without a book to promote, and you want an experience that will elevate you, push for a CNN town hall in Washington. It’s hospitable turf.”

Wemple reported that to add “energy” to the Hillary event, the audience was coached to applaud Mrs. Clinton, which they did with great vigor, especially when Christiane Amanpour raised the prospect of Hillary running for president:

CNN deployed an enthusiastic stage director who coached the audience to applaud at various points throughout the broadcast — not in a partisan manner for Clinton, but for the sake of the town hall’s television optics. Approximately 15 minutes before the show, the producer ran the audience through a practice round of applause and noise-making. The results of the audience-prodding turn up in the show’s video.

Ovations were plentiful and, quite often, spontaneous. Clinton’s statements on gun control, immigration and other hot topics earned her crowd approval on her own merit.

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