Chris Cuomo is a fascinating case. Maybe someone will write an opera about him.
He’s the younger, less ambitious, less accomplished son of a popular and (in some circles) revered governor of New York. If the term privileged has any meaning at all, it applies to him. He graduated from elite schools, including law school, but as he has proven again and again, he neither acquired any skill at critical thinking, nor at legal reasoning and the basic principles of law. He’s emotional, and not very bright. The younger Cuomo was blessed with good looks, a usually amiable nature, and charisma, and these, along with some excellent contacts, were enough to get him an anchor’s position on CNN. In this position he has embarrassed himself repeatedly; fortunately for him, the news organization he works for has become immune from embarrassment, as evidenced by the fact that it also employs Brian Stelter and Don Lemon, among others.
Every now and then his amiability is cracked open to reveal the traditional frustration and anger of the lesser son. Cuomo erupted a while back when he was first referred to as “Fredo,” alluding to the elder but mentally deficient son of Vito Corleone in the “Godfather” saga. The nickname is mean but apt, and frankly, as long as CNN allows someone of Chris Cuomo’s limitations to pretend to inform its audience, it is also useful. Cuomo is a fraud, and by presenting him as a trustworthy journalist, CNN is mistreating its audience. Yes, I’m sure Cuomo does the best he can, but then, so did Fredo Corleone.
Cuomo is ill with the Wuhan virus, and quarantined. I’m sure this is hard for him, but his stresses are still less than those of most Americans. He’s broadcasting (and making a fool of himself) from home; he’s getting a 7-figure salary; his ordeal is relatively minor.
Apparently a confrontation with someone Cuomo considers one of the little people on Easter Sunday caused the CNN anchor to snap and reveal the turmoil within, much like Fredo in his famous lament to Michael in “Godfather II.” On his Sirius-XM satellite radio show, Cuomo vented about the incident, in which a stranger on a bicycle confronted him on Easter Sunday for being outside his Southampton home with his family despite the positive Wuhan virus diagnosis.
Cuomo said that he resented having to endure “some jackass, loser, fat tire biker being able to pull over and get in my space and talk bullshit” to him. Adding that his critic “didn’t know the rules”—classic Fredo: Chris doesn’t know the rules. Social distancing is not for the infected, and in a quarantine, you can’t go outside, even if your brother is Governor—and he wanted to tell him to “go to hell,” Cuomo said, “I don’t want to hear it.I don’t want some jackass, loser, fat tire biker being able to pull over and get in my space and talk bullshit to me, I don’t want to hear it. But here I am in an almost powerless position against this asshole because I’m a celebrity and he’s allowed to say whatever he wants to me. And I have to take it or he’s gonna call the New York Post and lie about something and then I’m going to have to deal with it.”
The indignity of having to tolerate a justified dressing down by a nobody triggered a more general and revealing rant. Cuomo told his radio audience, which I hope is on par with that of the Lithuanian Folk Dance channel,
“I have to tolerate people’s opinion about me because I’m a public figure. I don’t want to do that, I don’t think its worth it to me. I don’t want to spend my time doing things that I don’t think are valuable enough to me personally. I don’t value indulging irrationality, hyper-partisanship… I don’t like what I do professionally… I don’t think it’s worth my time…. I’ve saved my money and I don’t need it anymore… I want to be able to tell you to go to hell, to shut your mouth… I don’t get that doing what I do for a living. Me being able to tell you to shut your mouth or I will do you the way you guys do each other.”…
Cuomo went on to say that he detested “trafficking in things that I think are ridiculous,” like “talking to Democrats about things that I don’t really believe they mean” and “talking to Republicans about them parroting things they feel they have to say.” He feels burdened by the task of analyzing President Trump, “Who we all know is full of shit by design.”…
“I don’t think its worth it to me because I don’t think I mean enough, I don’t think I matter enough, I don’t think I can really change anything, so then what am I really doing? I’m basically being perceived as successful in a system that I don’t value… I’m seen as being good at being on TV and advocating for different positions… but I don’t know if I value those things, certainly not as much as I value being able to live my life on my own terms.”
Poor Chris! He has to work! He has to endure the burden of being an obscenely paid celebrity! As Marty McFly says about Mad Dog Tannen in “Back to the Future III,” “What an asshole!”
Being more charitable than I, Ann Althouse wants to give Cuomo a break because his brains may be addled by the virus. That’s not a symptom, Ann, and if it was, it is still unethical to go on the radio when you can’t behave professionally. Such public petulance about one’s job would, and should, get any professional fired, especially one who never should have been hired to begin with.
Ann does, however, remind us that Dr. Nancy Snyderman lost her job on NBC for violating her quarantine during the Ebola crisis. Ethics Alarms covered that episode here, not including her later, forced resignation.
That’s another reason to get rid of Cuomo. At least he won’t be shot while saying Hail Marys over fish bait.