When I first starting writing The Conveyors, the goal was to look at the news industry as a whole. Sometimes, I tried to peel back the curtain and show how the sausage was made and why. Other times, I analyzed what had happened and proposed better ways for it to be done. The Conveyors has shifted into a media criticism column, one that looks to hold journalists to the highest standard.
Now, live breaking news coverage can be difficult. Television journalists especially have to constantly talk on their feet and act as voices of authority while trying to figure out what is going on with the rest of America. Sometimes, this causes problems. This week, Brooke Baldwin stepped into a bit of an issue when she suggested that veterans return home and become trigger-happy as cops.
Baldwin then apologized, several times. She did so online and on the air. She admitted she made a mistake. Average viewers would look at that, realize she regretted her choice of words, and would move on.
Now, Chris Cuomo did not follow this course of action.
While reporting on AC360, Cuomo was talking to a protester when he said,“you know how they are.” “They” would be referring to the Baltimore police.
Now after this slip, deliberate or not, Cuomo had two options. He could either apologize or attempt to explain his comment. Apologies tend to be the most common because they are less risky. Explanations are sometimes done, but they are a delicate process and have to be done well. There is a reason I say they are attempted. If an explanation is bungled, it risks prolonging the controversy.
Cuomo attempted to explain.
He did so on Facebook and he tried to say that the remark was not an insult, rather informing the protester that if he disobeyed curfew, the police would not take kindly to that. Then, he added this little nugget:
One outlet even sources a twitter account that is just some guy, making it seem like he is part of some legit CNN-based media watchdog. Ridiculous.
There are several things wrong with this. Cuomo attacks the media (specifically CNNCommentary), is wrong in his analysis, and continues his perception as a “harda–.”
Attacking the press is never a good strategy, something the media loves to say in analysis after somebody does just that. Part of the reason its a failed strategy is because it attempts to completely passes the buck. The person using the line tries to dissolve themselves from any responsibility for a particular action or event and rather pass it along to the media, whatever that is today.
Cuomo is even incorrect in his attacking of CNNCommentary. He broke two of the cardinal rules of journalism. He was incorrect and he failed to double-check what he said. Cuomo says that an outlet sourced the CNNCommentary Twitter account and then says the perception is created that it is “part of some legit CNN-based media watchdog.” Now, if Cuomo were to look at the Twitter account in question, he would see Allan makes it quite clear that he is not affiliated with CNN. He has it in all uppercase (the Internet equivalent of yelling) and has asterisks around. Anyone visiting the homepage of this blog sees the subtitle of “A Viewer’s Thoughts.” Allan makes it quite clear that he is not a part of CNN. Also, many websites that cite CNNCommentary will include the term “blog” when describing it.
While Cuomo attempted to make one controversy go away, he caused another one to start. Awhile back, Cuomo participated in a New Day Q&A and he said that the biggest misconception surrounding him is that he is a “harda–.” One can only wonder why there is that conception when Cuomo is commonly said to be the reason that Kate Bolduan was kicked off of New Day. With his Facebook post, Cuomo does himself no favors. He comes off as a “harda–” with a stick up his butt that can’t tell when he’s made a mistake. He lashes out at others rather than acknowledging the possibility that he might have just misspoke or that his words didn’t come out exactly right. No, rather it is all our our fault. Our fault for looking at his words, in context, and seeing that there was something interesting about the news choice.
Face it, Chris, you messed up. Move on and take responsibility for your words.