21:43 GMT +314 November 2019
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    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts after speaking at a rally.

    Dirty Tricks Exposed: Did CNN Plant Jeb Staffer to Troll Trump?

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    A college student’s question to Donald Trump was clearly meant to rattle the presidential hopeful – and it could have been arranged by an unlikely alliance of Republican rival Jeb Bush and CNN.

    "So, maybe I’m wrong, maybe you can prove me wrong," Lauren Batchelder, a student at St. Anselm College, asked Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a bipartisan convention on Monday.

    "But I don’t think you’re a friend to women."

    The question was clearly meant to draw attention to the billionaire’s reputation for making comments which could alienate female voters.

    "If you become president, will a woman make the same as a man, and do I get to choose what I do with my body?" Batchelder asked.

    "You’re going to make the same if you do as good of a job, and I happen to be pro-life, okay?" Trump responded.

    But soon after this exchange, curious Trump supporters began googling Batchelder’s name, and found some surprising results.

    First of all, her Twitter account was loaded with pro-Bush sentiments, one of which was especially suspicious. "@JebBush best boss ever! Go go governor!" one tweet, from her since-deleted account read.

    Further sleuthing found her online resume, which read "intern at Jeb Bush for President 2016."

    The Bush campaign was quick to deny allegations that it had plant Batchelder in an attempt to throw off a political opponent.

    "While this question was not sanctioned by the campaign, we can’t help but notice Mr. Trump does seem to be very sensitive about being challenged by women," Allie Brandenburger, a spokeswoman for the Bush campaign, told the Washington Post.

    She also insisted that Batchelder is not a paid staffer.

    But others have also pinned suspicions on CNN, which was all-too accommodating in airing the exchange.

    "Within minutes of her scripted performance at the event, the producers of CNN were quickly editing soundbites and framing a narrative," the Last Refuge points out. "That story was pushed into the media stream within hours."

    As the site points out, CNN’s Jeanne Moos quickly turned the exchange into a political hit piece.

    "This current fail also exemplifies how the broadcast media, specifically CNN, is willing to assist the Republican cause when there is a mutual benefit to the elimination of an enemy."

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    Tags:
    media bias, 2016 election, CNN, Allie Brandenburger, Lauren Batchelder, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, United States
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