In case you too missed this enjoyable and revealing story, Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor with a former New York governor father and a current New York governor brother, erupted into a string of fucks and fuckings (I’ll fucking ruin your shit. I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs like a fucking punk!”), other insults, and also threatened to throw a man down some stairs after he called Cuomo “Fredo.”
One of the lessons of this incident is that you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time when everything you do in public is likely to be captured by a smartphone. The fact that Cuomo, who works in the news media, has yet to grasp that principle is one more bit of evidence in a long, long convincing chain that the nickname “Fredo” is apt.
The incompetence, arrogance, ignorance and bias of Cris Cuomo is what finally drove me away from CNN as my early morning news source. The horrible, smirking Carol Costello couldn’t do it, as openly partisan and obnoxious about it as she was. At least Carol had some apparent intelligence and arguable qualifications for being a newsreader. Cuomo’s “qualifications” are only that he’s what passes for beefcake in the news business, had a famous father and has a powerful brother. I would say that his law degree is a qualification, except that he has proven repeatedly that something funny was going on with that, because he has tweeted out and recited many howlers that no real lawyer or D+ law student would ever think, much less broadcast.
Here’s the Ethics Alarms Chis Cuomo file. Here are representative excerpts from my commentary on Cuomo’s various adventures in idiocy:
- May29, 2019: “We know—there is no doubt about this, and Ethics Alarms has documented the fact—that Cuomo is really, truly, a dolt. He is the poster child for affirmative action for celebrity and politician offspring. An alleged lawyer, his every other reference to the law is incorrect. …He is the perfect example of that horrible species, the stupid person who thinks he’s smart. CNN keeps him employed because 1) he’s cute, 2) he seems to be a nice guy, and 3) he’s a typical knee-jerk progressive. Reading his twitter feed is profoundly depressing. He is at once glib, earnest, and incoherent.”
- August 18, 2018: “CNN cannot be taken seriously as a news organization as long as it continues to employ Chris Cuomo. I have concluded that Cuomo was only admitted to law school because his father was a popular governor of New York. No other explanation makes sense. Even after allegedly completing his three years, he doesn’t comprehend basic law or the Constitution. He has, for example, advanced public ignorance by stating that “hate speech” is not protested under the First Amendment. On another occasion, he said that it would be illegal for citizens to read leaked classified material available on the web, but that journalists could read it and then tell the public about it. The man is an idiot. He constantly utters legal and logical nonsense, and with the certitude that only a true idiot can muster. As a journalist he is biased and sloppy; as a pundit he is pompous and unqualified.”
You get the idea. Apparently Rush Limbaugh has adopted the habit of referring to Chris Cuomo as “Fredo” as if that were really his name. That sounds like Rush. The man who was the target of Cuomo’s tirade swears that he really thought that was Cuomo’s name—he is a loyal Limbaugh listener—and tells Chris that on the video. I believe him; there are people named Alfredo who go by the nickname “Fredo”; I worked with one a long time ago. Obviously the “Godfather” movies have made the name less popular. The claim still isn’t so farfetched, and if Cuomo was the nice guy he’s supposed to be—I retract that statement, incidentally—he would have given the stranger the benefit of the doubt.
Even while blowing his top, Cuomo couldn’t avoid spreading disinformation—it’s what CNN journalists do, after all— claiming that “Fredo” was an ethnic slur, like calling an African-American a “nigger.” Right. When did THAT happen? I think Chris may believe this so he doesn’t have to process the real reason he’s called “Fredo”—like the pathetic John Cazale character, he’s weak and stupid, doesn’t know it, and demands respect.
Poor Fredo. Poor Chris.
The outburst tells me that Chris is beset with feelings of inferiority from a lifetime of being compared to his father and brother, and “Fredo” strikes a nerve. Would any self-confident, genuinely competent and intelligent professional react so violently to being called “Fredo”? In my family, evoking Fredo and his “I’m smart!” lament is a running joke, and it’s funny because there are no Fredos among the Marshalls. (My mother’s family was another story…)
Some random points:
1. CNN beclowned itself with this “defense” from a spokesperson: “Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.”
“This is CNN!” Fake news all around: Calling the name “Fredo” an attack is absurd hyperbole, even if Cuomo reacted the way he did. It is not an ethic slur: in an episode of “Seinfeld,” a week and stupid parrot was named Fredo. I guess it might have been an Italian parrot. After the “ethnic slur” became the official false narrative, it required minimal research to discover that the insult had been used on CNN several times to describe non-Italians, notably Donald Trump, Jr., and on at least one occasion, with Cuomo smiling in the anchor’s chair. How odd he didn’t rise to high dudgeon and reprimand his guest (Anna Navarro) for using the Italian equivalent of “nigger”…
Chris even referred to himself as “Fredo” in an interview. To be fair, he did immediately throw himself down some stairs.
2. Fox News Fredo Sean Hannity issued a tweet of support for CNN’s Fredo.
“I say good for @ChrisCuomo . He’s out with his 9 year old daughter, and his wife, and this guy is being a jackass in front of his family. Imho Chris Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology. “
This raises the fascinating question of which intellectually-challenged talking head is dumber. Tough one.
Cuomo was the jackass in front of his family. Is hearing the word “Fredo” more traumatic for a 9-year-old—Does she even know the reference? Is “The Godfather” appropriate viewing for a 4th grader?—than watching her father repeatedly say “fuck” and act like Sonny Corleone? Hannity thinks that a public figure and journalist has “nothing to apologize for” when he behaves like that?
3. Cuomo issued an apology, saying, “Appreciate all the support but – truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me. This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose.”
Except that Chris is not better, and his conduct showed it. His words have also demonstrated, not for the first time, his muddled ethics compass. Last August he argued that while Antifa protesters were wrong to attack individuals, police, and reporters, ” fighting hate is right” and and “all punches are not equal morally.” “People who show up to fight against bigots are not to be judged the same as the bigots, even if they do resort to the same petty violence,” Cuomo said.
Presumably he also believes that threats of violence, like “I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs like a fucking punk!” should not be judged as harshly when it is a noble, woke CNN warrior doing the threatening.
4. Cuomo is one of two CNN “stars”—Don Lemon—is the other—that no respectable and ethical news network would continue to employ. The “Fredo” incident is just one more demonstration of what has been obvious for a long time.