CNN fired Chris Cuomo this weekend.
Don’t applaud. He never should have made it this far.
CNN should have canned the younger, dumber Cuomo years ago for being an unethical, loudmouthed dimwit. That CNN eventually fired him doesn’t erase the fact it held on to him for as long as it did.
Cuomo was let go Saturday after it was revealed he had lied about the extent to which he worked behind the scenes to shield his brother, disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, from multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
In an effort to keep the then-governor one step ahead of the scandal, the younger Cuomo leaned on his journalism connections and sources, funneling information from outside sources, including, apparently, other reporters, to warn his brother ahead of time about new allegations and developments. The younger Cuomo also used his position at CNN to gather information on his brother's accusers for the explicit purpose of discrediting them, according to documents released last week by the New York attorney general’s office.
It's crucial to remember Cuomo told viewers in August after additional details of his involvement in his brother’s crisis response efforts were reported, “I never misled anyone about the information I was delivering or not delivering on this program. I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.”
So, this was a lie.
On Saturday, CNN announced it had terminated Cuomo “effectively immediately,” citing some vague “additional information” that had “come to light.”
Why it was even allowed to come to this is anyone's guess. CNN should have let Cuomo go the moment it was obvious he couldn't hack it as an impartial and insightful newsman, what with all the lying, the vacuous and incendiary political commentary, and the hilariously ignorant legal analyses. There’s a reason viewers have long referred to the former anchor as “Fredo,” a reference, of course, to the dumbest of the Corleone brothers.
In 2015, for example, Cuomo, a law school graduate, claimed incorrectly that “hate speech” is not protected under the First Amendment.
In defending his assertion, Cuomo cited the World War II-era Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling, in which the court carved out its exception for "fighting" words, "which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace."
However, in regard to so-called hate speech, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in Snyder v. Phelps that speech on public land on a public issue cannot be litigated against, even if it is deemed "outrageous."
When basically everyone on social media noted Cuomo's invocation of Chaplinsky made no sense, he accused his critics of drinking "haterade."
He tweeted at a later date, "Do you remember what the 2a was created for? That there was no individual right contemplated until Scalia read it in? If you are an originalist about the constitution you have no basis for thinking you and not the state controls access."
This is not even close to being true.
As Black Lives Matter riots raged across the country last year, a supportive Cuomo demanded someone “show me where it says that protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful.”
It says specifically in Article 1 of the United States Constitution that Congress "shall make no law” prohibiting “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”
Cuomo attempted later to argue why the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was bad but the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots, which were directly responsible for approximately 24 deaths and cost an estimated $1 billion-plus in damages, the most expensive in insurance history, were good and justified.
“Overturning the election is different than being pissed off about being shot by cops,” said Cuomo.
He argued Black Lives Matter protesters are more deserving of their First Amendment rights than people of faith, arguing protests should continue amid the coronavirus pandemic while churches, synagogues, and mosques ought to be shuttered.
He claimed displaying intentionally proactive cartoons of Islam's chief religious figure is tantamount to shouting the "N-word." He claimed using the term “fake news” to describe the press’s coverage of the Trump administration was tantamount to using the N-word. He also claimed the nickname “Fredo” is the equivalent of the N-word in Italian culture.
He pushed the revisionist lie that the biggest scandal of the Obama era was a tan suit. He pushed the lie that the federal intelligence community did not, in fact, spy on the Trump 2016 campaign. It merely “surveilled” the campaign, he said, adding that to suggest otherwise is “an insult to the men and women” who work for the Department of Justice. He claimed later that then-Attorney General William Barr had "been playing to advantage this president” insofar as the Russia collusion investigation was concerned.
He pushed the oft-repeated lie that a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing monetary compensation for organs salvaged from the bodies of aborted children had been “selectively edited.” He later spent an entire segment screaming at a selectively edited video of Trump, choosing to get angry at what he thought was said versus what was actually said.
Cuomo ran defense for former anchor Katie Couric after she was caught selectively editing an interview with gun rights activists to make them appear unintelligent and misinformed, calling her a “solid” journalist.
He claimed pro-life legislators are pro-life only because they’re pandering to “the far-Right white-fright vote,” which makes no sense considering the abortion rates in minority communities.
He suggested in 2015 then-GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s criticisms of Planned Parenthood may have inspired a mass shooting outside one of its facilities in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
He mocked well-wishers for offering “thoughts and prayers” following a mass shooting in California that claimed 12 lives.
He claimed the immigration crisis on the border “doesn't exist” and that then-President Donald Trump “created all of this. It's all bogus.”
He floated a conspiracy theory suggesting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had cooked the Sunshine State’s coronavirus infection numbers. This came after Cuomo uncritically parroted the Chinese Communist Party’s COVID-19 figures.
He also blamed Trump for former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s death, claiming a lack of social distancing at a campaign rally likely killed the businessman. It’s worth mentioning Cain was a colon cancer survivor.
He used CNN’s airwaves to stage a Lazarus-style resurrection in his home after he supposedly beat COVID-19, claiming his emergence from his basement marked the first time he had left quarantine. He had already broken quarantine while supposedly sick with COVID-19 to drive across town to look at his second property.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that Cuomo transformed his evening program into his brother’s personal public relations shop amid the Empire State’s disastrous mishandling of its coronavirus response. This all happened within the context of Andrew Cuomo quietly rerouting state resources and manpower to ensure Chris and other family members were bumped to the front of the line for COVID-19 healthcare.
But it’s only now, after everything Chris Cuomo has said and done, that CNN has finally had enough?
Better late than never, I suppose.
The upside to Cuomo’s termination is we now have a better idea of where CNN draws the line insofar as fireable offenses are concerned. It’s somewhere between “masturbating in front of coworkers” and “turning your prime-time news program into an unofficial public relations office for the most powerful elected official in the state of New York.”