In The Latest Episode Of “As The News Media Disgraces Itself,” Chris Cuomo Reveals Himself As An Incompetent Fool

The public cannot trust what the star lawyer-anchor of a morning news program on a major news network says about the law with utter certainty.

The public cannot trust the major news network to correct the false information so conveyed in a timely fashion.

The public cannot trust that major news network.

Unproven hypothesis: The public cannot trust any news network.

Never mind the hypothesis, however. Let us just deal for now with the lawyer/host/news anchor, Chris Cuomo, his inattentive network, and this ridiculous statement he uttered as authoritative fact last week:

”Also interesting is, remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media, so everything you’re learning about this, you’re learning from us.”

What?

“So everything you’re learning about this, you’re learning from us” would appear to state that it’s illegal for the public to even read the hacked e-mails, which anyone can do here. That can’t be right, and of course is nonsense: anyone can read anything that is available on the web. It is also a sinister theory, claiming that we have to rely on the interpretation, selective reporting, spin and biased analysis of media hacks like Chris Cuomo, because the law says we can’t download or read such material ourselves. Where did  Cuomo, a licensed lawyer, get a crack-brained idea like that? More important, why couldn’t he figure out it was ridiculous using common sense? A law degree is hardly necessary, if one thinks for a few seconds.

Constitutional law scholar Eugene Volokh corrects Cuomo thusly:

The First Amendment offers the same protection to the media as to the rest of us, including when it comes to possessing or distributing illegally obtained material (so long as you weren’t involved in the original illegal hack or interception or leak). Indeed, in the 2001 Bartnicki v. Vopper decision, the Supreme Court rejected even civil liability for distributing illegally intercepted cellphone calls, and expressly refused to distinguish the media from others…And the Bartnicki Court cited New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 265-266 (1964) — the case treated the media and non-media speakers equally, and a passage on those pages stressed the rights of “persons who do not themselves have access to publishing facilities” — and First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 777 (1978), which is a passage that stresses the rights of all speakers to speak. Now, while knowingly possessing tangible stolen property would often be a crime for both the media and others, possessing copies of illegally leaked materials is generally not treated the same way. …But in any event, remember that, whatever First Amendment rules may apply, the media has no more First Amendment rights than the rest of us.

Also weighing in was legal expert Floyd Abrams, who told the Wall Street Journal,

“It’s highly unlikely—I would say unimaginable– that the simple downloading of documents made public by WikiLeaks is criminal.I don’t know of any case that so holds or statute that requires such a result.”

What Cuomo appeared to say went further, and absurdly so. He suggested that no one but journalists could legally read the hacked Podesta e-mails.Have you ever heard of anyone being prosecuted for reading something that was publicly available? Of course not, because prohibiting reading is an outrageous breach of the principles of Constitutional law. Whether or not downloading a copy of stolen materials is the legal equivalent of taking possession of the materials themselves is a nice legal point yet to be clarified definitively, but Cuomo’s assertion that the news media could download and read Wikileaks hacks while members of the public would be breaking the law to do the same is a complete misrepresentation.

I have read conservative blogs that suggest that Cuomo is trying to protect Clinton by fooling the public into relying on the news media’s analysis of the leaks. That would be futile and stupid, but not as stupid as what Cuomo said the law was. No question about it: Hanlon’s Razor applies. Now we know why he went into the field of journalism rather than law.

He’s an idiot.

Now the question is, a week later : when will Cuomo or CNN correct the idiocy?

18 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, The Internet

18 responses to “In The Latest Episode Of “As The News Media Disgraces Itself,” Chris Cuomo Reveals Himself As An Incompetent Fool

  1. Inquiring Mind

    They won’t – until Hillary has been elected.

    What do you do when you increasingly view the other side as having no legitimacy?

  2. dragin_dragon

    They won’t. They’re not in danger of being sued over it.

  3. J. Houghton

    Just this morning, I sent an email to CNN regarding Chris Cuomo’s ridiculous so called “expert analysis” of the Wikileaks Clinton team emails whereby his “expert” concluded that there is once again “no smoking gun” proving improper behavior by anyone associated with the Clinton campaign. Of course this “expert analysis” was pure pro-Clinton propaganda with little if any fact or logic to back up the conclusion.

    Over the past several months I have taken to directly contacting CNN to complain specifically about Cuomo when he does unethical, biased, unprofessional or stupid things on air… which is most of the time he is on air. I have lost count of how many times. Of course, never do I get a response.

    It is increasingly obvious that CNN management doesn’t really care and has a very low opinion of the intelligence of the CNN viewers. (This may be a well founded assessment.) Thus the CNN management will continue to allow this kind of fake news to be delivered for what they see as the “greater good” of electing the first historic woman president… no matter how horribly flawed she may be.

    Once Hillary Clinton is president, which I assume she will be, I am wondering if CNN will ever try to do honest journalism again and try to undo the mess they helped to create.

  4. Chris Marschner

    Another nominee for the Joseph Goebbels award in Journalism.

  5. Couple years back actress Jennifer Lawrence was part of a slew of celebrities who had their photos hacked off Apple’s iCloud (Which to be very clear was a STUPID place to store naked pictures of yourself. Just saying.), her name got the most attention because she was the most famous person on the list.

    This situation reminds me of that because after the photos started to circulate on the harddrives of pubescent teenage boys, Lawrence threatened lawsuits (most famously a $100 million dollar one against Google) for sites that hosted the pictures, engines that produced the pictures as results and even users who dared to give shelter to the pictures after downloading them to their hard drives. (I embellished that last point, but not by much.) This was the Streisand Principle incarnate…. There’s a very healthy history of celebrity dick pics that don’t garner an iota of the attention that these did.

    Anyway: Two points to wrap it all up.

    First off: Those dick pics we talked about? Total double standard between men and women. The very same harpies that gleefully plastered their websites with Bieber’s junk were Outraged. And shocked! SHOCKED I tell you! That people would DARE to look at naked female celebrities.

    Second, and much more pertinent, Lawrence’s threats of legal action, particularly to Google, weren’t seen as quite as spurious (or if they were, I missed the boat), her angle was that because she had taken the pictures, she owned the copyrights to those pictures, and anyone distributing the pictures was liable for infringement.

    As a genuine question, could the authors of these Emails assert that as the authors they own the rights to the material and could therefore take legal action against anyone distributing it? If they can’t…. Were Lawrence’s threats equally hollow?

  6. Other Bill

    CC will get a job in the Clinton administration. Probably a cabinet post or communications director.

  7. Chase Davidson

    Even more revealing of his incompetence is the fact that you just can’t make reading things on the internet illegal. Not just from a constitutional standpoint, but from a standpoint of reality. It’s not how the Constitution works, it’s not how the government works, it’s not how law enforcement works, it’s not how the Internet works, it’s not how computers work… It just doesn’t work that way, Chris Cuomo! It’s not a series of tubes!

  8. On a related note, I have found another ethics hero, Zach Worf, a Democrat who has dropped out of the Kansas state Senate race and endorsed a Republican. Because he is better prepared for the job. I almost teared up when I hard an interview with him today. Would have posted it but they haven’t put it up yet.

  9. junkmailfolder

    I was expecting someone by now to make the comparison to early Christianity, when the only vehicle to reading/understanding the Bible was through the local clergyman.

  10. When was the last time CNN mentioned WikiLeaks?

  11. If people did not lose faith in traditional journalism, they would not turn to Alex Jones for the news.

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