“Fredo” Ethics And Chris Cuomo

 

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.

50 thoughts on ““Fredo” Ethics And Chris Cuomo

  1. Hannity has a point.

    The man was accosted in public. Cuomo was the victim.

    That is about as far as credit for Hannity goes. Where Hannity misses it is Cuomo’s response. Cuomo loses all sympathy with his reaction. If he is concerned about his daughter (and he should have been), he should have carried himself better.

    Cuomo would have been better to react the way numerous public officials have acted in incidents like this (Sarah Sanders comes to mind).

    -Jut

    • “Victim” seems way too much. He was asked for an autograph by someone who claimed to not know that his real name wasn’t Fredo. In addition to his family, he had his mooks around, so it’s not as if he was surrounded by hostiles or anything. At worst this was an extremely passive and G-rated prank.

      • “He was asked for an autograph by someone who claimed to not know that his real name wasn’t Fredo.”

        You’ve watched the video then? And you believe this? It’s funny how different circles process information, this is one of the very few places I’ve seen people take that claim seriously. Honestly, when I saw it, my immediate reaction was that the camera guy was full of it.

        • It was a complete set up while on camera, you known, just like Mad Maxine says to do to members of this administration. Bullies hate it when their own tactics are turned against them.

          • Right…. But is “they don’t like it when we’re bad too” really a good look? Is the practice good or bad? Do we have standards, principles, and ethics, or are we just really, really, happy when our team manages to piss off the other?

            • It shouldn’t be a good look, but all too often our side thinks it is. It’s objectively a terrible practice, but subjectively it seems to be the say to score political points now. And let’s face it, we LOVE it when our side scores a hit against the other, even when it isn’t clean, just like we used to cheer when the “face” (good guy) wrestlers used eye-gouging, hair-pulling, a thumb jab to the throat, or other dirty tactics on the “heel” (bad guy) wrestlers.

              When I was a kid in the 1970s and early 80s, we used to insult each other, sometimes very harshly, between attacking one another’s appearances, attacking one another’s qualities, attacking one another’s families, using profanity, sometimes racial insults, etc. It didn’t usually go too too far before either something else intervened or a fight resulted. It’s what kids did, together with the laissez-faire attitude of a lot of parents and teachers at the time that kids should work out their own problems, those who couldn’t handle insults just had to grow a thicker skin, and if you went too far, press someone’s buttons, and got attacked and injured as a result, that was the risk you took.

              However, and here’s the big however, by the time we were grown up we were expected to leave that behavior behind. I have just read no fewer than three threads in one facebook group that started with politics and descended quickly into the same kind of insults, and remain there for over 500 posts. There was profanity, insults to other people’s intelligence, insults to their appearance, accusations of deviant sexual practices, and insults to their parentage and upbringing, sometimes all in the same post. To read these threads you would think that all conservatives think that all liberals are weak, deviant, pedantic cowards in rainbow tees and all liberals think all conservatives are stupid, borderline crazy gun nuts with beer guts and bad teeth. You’d also think that nobody respects any kind of boundaries anymore, everything regarding someone else is up for being attacked. You don’t even want to read the insults leveled at the president and both political parties, notably a meme saying that the president’s children are the result of anal intercourse, i.e. they are shit (try that with the previous president’s kids and see what happens) Of course, when you are arguing via computer and unlikely to meet the person, you can throw insults for abandon, it’s very unlikely you’re going to be attacked and beaten. It’s kind of pathetic that that is the only thing that stops people from insulting strangers on every level possible, and politics brings out the worst of the worst in people.

              A friend of mine said recently that listening is a very undervalued talent. I would go a step further and say that it is absolutely unvalued as a talent. I really honestly believe that this country has gotten to the point where everyone wants to say what he has to say, as loudly, obnoxiously, and crudely as he can, but doesn’t want to hear what anyone else has to say. That’s frankly illogical, it’s like a country wanting to export its own products without having to import products from other countries. It’s fair enough that everyone be allowed to have his say, but it is absolutely unfair that everyone want to have his say, but the moment someone else wants to have his say he gets viciously attacked. It’s why more than a few threads here have gotten out of control, and I’ll plead guilty to being part of the problem. This is why I am beginning to believe this nation is getting closer and closer every day to its own version of the Troubles, where some white tourist from the Midwest is going to take a wrong turn, wind up in the Bronx, and get dragged into an alley and killed just for being a white guy from the country, and some black guy from Philly is going to pull over in West Virginia to fill his gas tank or get a meal between cities and get jumped in the parking lot and murdered because he’s a black dude from one of the big liberal cities.

              • I said that “at worst” it was a prank. This is true.

                The pranksters acted exactly as if they innocently thought that his name was Fredo. They also were actively saying that they didn’t want any trouble and acting respectful. So what if it was insincere? Fredo says, “we’ll, now you know my name,” and the conflict ends.

                This was very weak bait, and Fredo pounced all over it and then exploded in the most self-destructive way possible.

  2. ”there are people named Alfredo who go by the nickname ‘Fredo’ ”

    FTR, The Godfather’s Fredo was Frederico “Fredo” Corleone and would have been 100 years old this year.

    Oddly enough, Black Conservatives are none too happy with the erstwhile Fredo likening his sobriquet to that of nigger.

        • I think her point was simply that you had to know The Godfather I and II to understand the alleged slur, just as one would have to have some familiarity with “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” to know what to make of being called an Uncle Tom. But perhaps “Uncle Tom” is known in its own right. I just found “Uncle Tom” a heck of a lot more analogous than Chris’s “nigger” analogy. Certainly “Fredo” is a heck of a lot more obscure than “Uncle Tom.” But maybe even “Uncle Tom” has gone out of usage? I suspect young black people just call a non-white despising black person a nigger. It seems the go to word for all hip young black people to use regarding each other.

          • ”But maybe even ‘Uncle Tom’ has gone out of usage?”

            I read it all the time, OB, and (to no one’s surprise) in remarkably similar circumstances; it’s used pert near exclusively by Lefties to refer to a POC that’s shown the temerity to eschew the Lefty Plantation and think for themselves.

            Heck, just ask Dr. Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, Larry Elder, Jason L. Riley, etc., etc., etc.; all of whom this White Boy will go out of his way to read!

            • Eeesch. I bet those kind of lucid guys are even referred to as “crackers,” given how far they’ve wandered off the plantation.

    • In “Apollo 13,” Fred Haise, played by Bill Paxton, is often called “Freddo” by Tom Hanks. That’s close enough to “Fredo” for space horseshoes. He didn’t throw Tom out of the spacecraft.

  3. It occurs to me that really the best way to have handled this stuff is with amusement. He should have treated it like he saw it as an opportunity for funny self- deprecating jokes from time to time. That would have come across as classy. This just comes across as…Fredo.

  4. I’ll henceforth refer to him only as Fredo, and if he doesn’t like it, he can come try to throw me down the stairs. I wish the other guy had told him to “come ahead, try to throw me down the stairs and let’s see what happens.” What an asshole.

  5. I take a more middle of the road approach, and kind of agree with Hannity here, to a point.

    People deserve peace in their private lives, when two people approach a celebrity, cameras rolling, and insult him to try to provoke a response, I don’t think the correct response is to start a tirade including threats of physical violence, but let’s not pretend like the cameramen didn’t hope and dream for something like that to happen. If you actually believe that anyone thought Cuomo’s name was Fredo, I have a Sicilian Mansion to sell you. Those cameramen knew what they were doing, were successful in doing it, and were assholes, the fact that Cuomo’s mask slipped and we got a funny soundbite out of it are secondary to that.

    This is an offshoot of the “No peace, no sleep” culture where people line up outside of Politician and Pundit houses to scream primally at the ether, or heckle them in restaurants, or throw milkshakes at them on the street. It’s damaging to the culture, it’s not good, and it doesn’t become good when the target of it is as big an idiot as Cuomo is.

    I’d hope we’d be able to walk and chew gum at the same time and understand that two people in a situation can be wrong, because all that said, Cuomo is an idiot, and he handled that in the worst way possible…. Fish gotta swim, I suppose. No one believes that “Fredo” is a racial slur, never mind one on par with the N word. And Cuomo has used that line before, “The only thing that’s bothersome about it, is that I see being called ‘fake news’ as the equivalent of the N-word for journalists, the equivalent of calling an Italian any of the ugly words that people have for that ethnicity,” he said in 2017. “EvEryThInG i DoN’t LiKe Is ThE n WoRd!”

    CNN choosing to try to get behind that is…. To quote Trump; Sad.

  6. Did he or did he not make physical threats? Isn’t that illegal? Don’t people get charged for that sort of thing?

    This I found:

    The crime of assault, in some states, is very similar to criminal threats. An assault occurs when a person either attempts to physically injure someone else, or uses threats of force accompanied by threatening actions. Words alone are usually not enough to commit an assault, and some sort of physical action is typically required. For example, threatening to punch someone is usually not an assault. However, making the threats and then approaching the person in a threatening manner does qualify as assault. So, the same conduct that is considered a criminal threat in one state may be classified as an assault in another.

    If he went on TV and cried about it, I’d let it go.

    • There’s this:

      Intimidation (also called cowing) is intentional behavior that “would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities” to fear injury or harm. It is not necessary to prove that the behavior was so violent as to cause mean terror or that the victim was actually frightened. Threat, criminal threatening (or threatening behavior) is the crime of intentionally or knowingly putting another person in fear of bodily injury.

  7. Celebrities and public figures and even ersatz celebrities need to take a page from professional sports people and simply ignore or laugh off taunts from “the stands.” If a baseball player engages with an asshole fan in any way other than maybe smiling or laughing, he’s doomed. Letting these things slide off your back is the only viable response. Other than saying, “No, actually my name is Sonny,” or saying “have a nice day,” and walking away, there’s no other appropriate response for Cuomo. I assume he gets paid big bucks, so he has to take this as part of the deal. (Although I’ve long suspected these ‘jobs’ in the media are actually sold to the highest bidder. I really suspect wannabe celebs pay to take over these highly visible positions. Eliot Spitzer is Exhibit A for this theory of mine.)

    • Good points, all, OB. I’ll never forget the hilarious (and classy) “back-talk” I saw at Minute Maid Park during a Yankees-Astros game, a couple of years ago.

      I was sitting in the right field bleachers. The Yanks’ right fielder – wish I could remember exactly who he was! – was hearing this one guy calling out from our section all kinds of taunts and insults. The player’s response? He turned halfway around briefly once between pitches, smiled, and returned his focus toward the action between pitcher and batter.

      Then…he put his gloved hand behind himself, right at butt level, bent into his ready-to-react position, and made a puppet out of his glove – a puppet that was all mouth – mimicking the speech, cadence and volume of the heckler. It was like he was saying, “Go ahead – keep talking out of YOUR ass – I’m the one who’s gonna make the money here tonight – off of YOU!” Our whole section was chuckling, giggling and laughing as the heckler didn’t seem to “get it” and went on until he seemed to realize that he was the only one not laughing – and that HE was being laughed at.
      (The Astros did win that night, though.)

  8. Chris Cuomo has no problem whatsoever calling conservatives stupid, misguided, fascists, etc. CNN is a bastion of the ‘resistance’ against Trump. So he can give it but can’t take it. His response, however, was way over the top,and suggests to me that there is real instability there. And his threats were assault. Alizia is right on that one.

    All in all, it proves Cuomo is an insecure bully — and most bullies are in fact insecure, hence their behavior — and no apology fixes that. And doesn’t he understand that his precious children were likely far more upset by their father’s behavior than having him called a name they probably didn’t even get? Since when do politicians have the right (when others do not) to threaten to have a fistfight with those who oppose him — in whatever form — or throw them down the stairs?

    He’ll always be Fredo to me. But poor Fredo: at least he meant well.

      • John Cazale, Meryl Streep’s long departed love. I wonder if John had lived Meryl would have been able to play non-morbid roles.

    • It also proves him, as Jack has observed, to not be the brightest bulb. Most people learn by, the time they get to middle school, that an outsized reaction to a taunt only gives their opponent the advantage of knowing which buttons to push, and results in more of the same. Fredo C is learning this now.

      • This fact leads me to speculate that perhaps Fredo, coming from vast wealth, lofty connections, and a aristocratic bubble, may never have had to deal with such behavior in school. Perhaps no one dared. Perhaps he had private tutors and monitored play time. Perhaps, like many of the Elite, Fredo grew up wrapped in bubble wrap?

        If so, he is to be pitied as much as reviled.

  9. Flying Pig Alert!

    Trevor Noah: “Cuomo was clearly pissed off because when he feels like when the guy called him Fredo, it’s a negative Italian stereotype. Alright?

    “What’s funny to me, though, is his reaction that he chose, also seemed like a negative Italian stereotype!” (bolds mine)

    • Whoa. One of the wagons is exiting the circle?

      I think it’s funny. Fredo is such an odd character. So UN-Italian. I’ve never seen a Fredo in real life. Not that I’ve seen every Italian type or even all that many Italians. Certainly there is no character like Fredo in the filmography of Italian subjects and characters. Nobody. Fredo’s a complete outlier and NOT a stereotype.

    • I think the guy just hit a nerve. I mean, it must be tough being Chris Cuomo. I mean, his father was Governor of New York and his brother is Governor of New York. He has to wake up every morning knowing that the best job his father was able to get him was as a talking head on CNN. Pointing this out in public by calling him Fredo probably was just too much for him.

  10. FWIW, do we think many media sources will contrast “horrible” Ted Cruz’s reaction to recently being gang-heckled in an airport to Fredo Cuomo’s meltdown in a mild, if snarky, interaction?

  11. There are worse names than “Fredo” to call Chris Cuomo.
    I am considering from hereon calling him Connie. Close enough to “Commie” for me.

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