CNN anchor and New Day host Chris Cuomo, who more often finds himself undermining the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Kellyanne Conway, arrived in the cross-hairs when he compared the “fake news” insult levied against journalists to racial epithets. Cuomo made the comment during a discussion with CNN commentator Michael Smerconish about President Donald Trump’s anger with Sen. Richard Blumenthal on the latter’s radio show SiriusXM Politico. Trump called Cuomo out on Twitter, saying he’d “never asked [Blumenthal] about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam.” Why? “FAKE NEWS,” of course.
Needless to say, Cuomo wasn’t happy with the president’s repeated use of the “FAKE NEWS” insult — and not just because Trump had directed it at him:
“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. That’s what fake news is to a journalist.”
“It is an ugly insult and you better be right if you’re going to charge a journalist with lying on purpose,” he added. “The president was not right here and he has not been right in the past.”
Cuomo also said the same thing while anchoring CNN’s morning programming, equating slandering a journalist as “fake news” was like “ethnic disparagement.” Despite all the airplay, however, his comments weren’t received too kindly by conservative and progressive media outlets alike. Hence the CNN anchor’s eventual, if not unsurprising apology on Twitter several hours later. “I was wrong. Calling a journalist fake -nothing compared to the pain of a racial slur,” he said. “I should not have said it. I apologize.”
Check out Cuomo and Smerconish’s original exchange below: