Patterico's Pontifications


CNN’s Chris Cuomo Comes Undone: “Fredo” Is N-word for Italians

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Sometimes real life is so outrageous that it is beyond parody. For a prime example of this, consider the temper tantrum CNN’s Chris Cuomo’s threw yesterday when a man referred to him as “Fredo”. Cuomo shouted at him that “Fredo” is the N-word for Italians. On exactly which planet, he didn’t say:

“Punk-ass bitches from the right call me ‘Fredo.’ My name is Chris Cuomo, I’m an anchor on CNN,” the newsman says in the video that spread quickly on social media.

Cuomo says that Fredo is an insult for Italians, much like how the N-word is for African Americans.

“I’ll f–king throw you down these stairs like a f–king punk. … You’re gonna call me Fredo, take a f–king swing,” railed Cuomo in the clip, purportedly filmed Sunday on Shelter Island. “I’ll f–king wreck your s–t.” He dropped more than 20 F-bombs ion the rant.

CNN is supporting Cuomo, in spite of his outburst:

“Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup,” CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said in a statement on Twitter. “We completely support him.”

Team Trump says that “Fredo” is not an ethnic slur:

“The default response from media or Democrats to any criticism is to label it racist or a ‘slur,’ ” said Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the Trump campaign. ”The term ‘Fredo’ is commonplace, used without pause by Cuomo himself and by guests on his own show.”

Here is Chris Cuomo referring to himself as “Fredo” during a radio interview:

Cuomo was interviewed by Curtis Sliwa on his AM 970 radio show in January 2010 about whether his brother Andrew might seek the Democratic nomination for governor.
Sliwa said he dubbed the Cuomo family “la Cuomo Nostra.”

“There is a group of people — politicos — who always hint they might run, but not necessarily plunge all the way, and they are members of la Cuomo.”

“Who am I, then, Fredo?” Cuomo asked in response.

“Yes, exactly,” Sliwa said. “So you better be careful that your brother Andrew doesn’t kiss you on both cheeks and then all of a sudden they take you out on the middle of the lake and where’s Chris?”

“He kisses me plenty because he’s a great big brother,” Cuomo said.

And of course, Trump couldn’t refrain from pouncing as well because he loves any opportunity to chew up anyone associated with CNN:

“I think that what Chris Cuomo did was horrible,” Trump told reporters Tuesday, dismissing a question on whether the word was racially insensitive. “His language was horrible. He looked like a total, out-of-control animal. He lost it.”

The president added: “Frankly, I don’t think anybody should defend him because he spews lies every night.”

Duly noted, Mr. President: Don’t defend those who spew lies… [Ed. My god, my eyes just rolled so hard at this, I’m looking out the back side of my noggin now!]

Anyway, we all know that when Trump doesn’t use a modicum of self-restraint or discipline, and starts spouting off, he invariably ends up giving the opposition a lot to work with. Well Cuomo did the same thing with his outburst when he unwittingly provided the Trump 2020 campaign with a clever marketing idea:

President Trump’s 2020 campaign wasted no time Tuesday in selling “Fredo Unhinged” T-shirts to piggyback on the controversy over CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s unhinged viral video rant.

For $34, Trump supporters can get a T-shirt with unflattering screen grabs of the host from the video where he rages against a man who called the anchor “Fredo.”

“CNN’s Chris Cuomo is Fredo!” the Trump campaign shop says of the “limited edition” T-shirt that went live at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.

“The truth hurts. He totally lost it. Help us annoy Chris Cuomo and buy your ‘Fredo Unhinged Tee’ now!”


Cuomo spoke about the altercation with the man today:

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.

P.S. I’m reading that a number of public figures on the Right are defending Cuomo and don’t think he should be fired for his outburst. Whether he’s fired or not is up to CNN, but I won’t defend or excuse his behavior because, at the end of the day, he could have just turned around and walked away without threatening the man. But he chose not to do that.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



The Cuomos, Coronavirus, and CNN

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:45 am

[guest post by JVW]

It’s an all-too-believable yet also unbelievable story of privilege:

High-level members of the state Department of Health were directed last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor’s relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Members of Cuomo’s family including his brother, his mother and at least one of his sisters were also tested by top health department officials — some several times, the sources said.

The medical officials enlisted to do the testing, which often took place at private residences, included Dr. Eleanor Adams, an epidemiologist who graduated from Harvard Medical School and in August became a special adviser to Zucker. Adams conducted testing on Cuomo’s brother Chris at his residence on Long Island, according to the two people.

Of course Team Cuomo disagrees, and wants to try and assure us that everyone who was exposed to the virus received the same red carpet treatment:

Officials in the Cuomo administration said the testing in those early days of the pandemic in March 2020 was not preferential, and they noted public nurses were being driven to private residences in New Rochelle — the site of the state’s first outbreak — to test people who were symptomatic or who had been exposed to the virus. During that period, State Police troopers were largely being tasked with driving those samples to the Wadsworth Center laboratory in Albany, which was initially the primary testing spot for coronavirus.

“It’s being a little bit distorted with like a devious intent. … We made sure to test people they believed were exposed,” an official in Cuomo’s office said on background. “All of this was being done in good faith in an effort to trace the virus.”

Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, characterized the allegations of preferential treatment as “insincere efforts to rewrite the past.”

“In the early days of this pandemic, when there was a heavy emphasis on contact tracing, we were absolutely going above and beyond to get people testing — including in some instances going to people’s homes, and door-to-door in places like New Rochelle — to take samples from those believed to have been exposed to COVID in order to identify cases and prevent additional ones,” Azzopardi said. “Among those we assisted were members of the general public, including legislators, reporters, state workers and their families who feared they had contracted the virus and had the capability to further spread it.”

Geography note: New Rochelle, where the initial outbreak took place, is not on Long Island, where the Christopher Cuomo family resides. If Mr. Azzopardi is being truthful (and given whom he works for, it’s highly unlikely) about the contact tracing in a variety of communities, then we would expect that all of Chris Cuomo’s colleagues at CNN also had doctors and nurses appearing on their doorsteps with testing kits in hand, but I am going to go out on a limb and guess that didn’t actually happen. The Albany paper quotes a source who disagrees with Mr. Azzopardi’s exculpatory assessment:

Still, one of the people familiar with the matter said that the people with close ties to the governor, including his relatives, would have their samples moved to the front of the line at Wadsworth and be given priority. They were referred to as “critical samples.”

Another person familiar with the matter said the “sampling missions” had unsettled some of the high-level health department officials tasked with collecting the samples at private residences — including Adams, who had previously worked in the health department’s New York City regional office for the Healthcare Epidemiology & Infection Control Program.

“To be doing sort of direct clinical work was a complete time-suck away from their other duties,” the person said. “It was like wartime.”

I’m not a big fan of anonymous officials making strong claims of administration wrongdoing, but given what we know about the bullying mafia-like (yeah, I went there) atmosphere in the Cuomo Administration I can, in this instance, completely understand it.

And the tiresome gaggle of twits over at CNN have really stepped in it with a lame defense of Team Cuomo, who brightened the network’s spring COVID coverage with their delightful brotherly antics which firmly established Andrew Cuomo as the best Empire State Governor since at least George Clinton and a hero to Americans who wanted thoughtful and articulate leadership, even if that meant killing thousands of elderly nursing home residents at the behest of your largest donors. The network naturally rode to the defense of the Cuomo crime syndicate:

CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said Wednesday in response to the report: “We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees. However, it is not surprising that in the earliest days of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would.”

Left unanswered are some key questions:

(1) Was Fredo really someone who had exhibited symptoms of the virus and thus deserved testing? It seems that his bout with COVID-19 was pretty mild (despite his claims to the contrary), as evidenced by his willingness to break quarantine even as he pretended to be in a great deal of distress.

(2) What was the rationale for testing any of the Cuomo Family beyond the governor, assuming that none of them were experiencing symptoms? Was the Cuomo sister not tested until after her brother received his positive test, and if so, was that because she had been in recent contact with him? Same applies to the Cuomo matriarch and the other family members: with whom exactly had they been in contact in order to justify the test, and how many additional times were they tested after their initial negative result? (Naturally, medical privacy laws give them an excuse for keeping that information private.)

(3) Does CNN really think that it is hunky-dory for their employee and his family to receive (allegedly multiple) COVID-19 tests at a time when they were in short supply in New York State and people who were experiencing obvious symptoms of the virus were having trouble getting tested? This goes a long way of explaining why their network has become so unwatchable and their hosts so tiresome and stale.

As we have chronicled here recently, the sharks are swimming around Governor Andrew Cuomo, even if it remains to be seen if they will get up the nerve to take a bite. But I think it’s high time we are done with that awful family of creeps and thugs once and for all.



Supreme Court Strikes Down Cuomo’s Limits on Religious Services

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:12 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 ruling, yesterday placed an injunction upon New York State and the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ability to enforce the limitations on religious gatherings that they had imposed in response to coronavirus outbreaks over the past several months.

The opinion is located here. As a Cliff’s Notes version, here are some snippets starting with the Per Curiam order of the Court (which was either written by Justice Thomas, Alito, or Barrett; my money is on Alito):

Not only is there no evidence that the applicants have contributed to the spread of COVID–19 but there are many other less restrictive rules that could be adopted to minimize the risk to those attending religious services. Among other things, the maximum attendance at a religious service could be tied to the size of the church or synagogue. Almost all of the 26 Diocese churches immediately affected by the Executive Order can seat at least 500 people, about 14 can accommodate at least 700, and 2 can seat over 1,000. Similarly, Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills can seat up to 400. It is hard to believe that admitting more than 10 people to a 1,000–seat church or 400–seat synagogue would create a more serious health risk than the many other activities that the State allows.

[. . .]

Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area. But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty. Before allowing this to occur, we have a duty to conduct a serious examination of the need for such a drastic measure.

Concurrence from Justice Gorsuch:

As almost everyone on the Court today recognizes, squaring the Governor’s edicts with our traditional First Amendment rules is no easy task. People may gather inside for extended periods in bus stations and airports, in laundromats and banks, in hardware stores and liquor shops. No apparent reason exists why people may not gather, subject to identical restrictions, in churches or synagogues, especially when religious institutions have made plain that they stand ready, able, and willing to follow all the safety precautions required of “essential” businesses and perhaps more besides. The only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn’t as “essential” as what happens in secular spaces. Indeed, the Governor is remarkably frank about this: In his judgment laundry and liquor, travel and tools, are all “essential” while traditional religious exercises are not. That is exactly the kind of discrimination the First Amendment forbids.

Justice Kavanaugh, also concurring:

In light of the devastating pandemic, I do not doubt the State’s authority to impose tailored restrictions—even very strict restrictions—on attendance at religious services and secular gatherings alike. But the New York restrictions on houses of worship are not tailored to the circumstances given the First Amendment interests at stake. To reiterate, New York’s restrictions on houses of worship are much more severe than the California and Nevada restrictions at issue in South Bay and Calvary, and much more severe than the restrictions that most other States are imposing on attendance at religious services. And New York’s restrictions discriminate against religion by treating houses of worship significantly worse than some secular businesses.

Chief Justice Roberts, who joined the liberal bloc in voting against the injunction, attempted to strike a fine balance between the sides. While conceding that the governor’s orders “do seem unduly restrictive,” the Chief tried to punt the issue on the basis that New York had since moved the area affecting the plaintiffs into a less-restrictive zone:

It is not necessary, however, for us to rule on that serious and difficult question [of whether the restrictions run afoul of the Constitution] at this time. The Governor might reinstate the restrictions. But he also might not. And it is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic. If the Governor does reinstate the numerical restrictions the applicants can return to this Court, and we could act quickly on their renewed applications. As things now stand, however, the applicants have not demonstrated their entitlement to “the extraordinary remedy of injunction.”

The Court’s three remaining leftish bloc, Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, agreed with the Chief that there is no need to decide upon Constitutional issues unless the plaintiffs were once again placed into the most restrictive zones. They also don’t believe the Constitutional issue is a clear-cut as the majority or the Chief seems to believe, and ought to be determined first by the Court of Appeals before being taken up by the Court. In the dissent, Justice Breyer writes:

We have previously recognized that courts must grant elected officials “broad” discretion when they “undertake to act in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties.” That is because the “Constitution principally entrusts the safety and the health of the people to the politically accountable officials of the States.” The elected branches of state and national governments can marshal scientific expertise and craft specific policies in response to “changing facts on the ground.” And they can do so more quickly than can courts. That is particularly true of a court, such as this Court, which does not conduct evidentiary hearings. It is true even more so where, as here, the need for action is immediate, the information likely limited, the making of exceptions difficult, and the disease-related circumstances rapidly changing. [The quotes above are from the Court’s earlier decision South Bay United Pentacostal Church v. Newsom, and citations have been omitted.]

It’s notable that Justice Amy Coney Barrett likely provided the decisive vote for the majority, unless we choose to believe that Chief Justice Roberts would have suppressed his desire to defer the decision for another day had Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived (and presumably voted with the left bloc). As we start to swing into Advent and Hanukkah, Christians and Jews not just in New York but nationwide can feel comfortable that the highest Court respects our First Amendment rights against arbitrary and capricious edicts from government.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the blog’s readers and commenters, especially those who suffer through my posts.



There is simply no explanation for Chris Matthews anymore

Filed under: General — WLS @ 12:17 pm

Posted by WLS

That probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone here.

A few weeks ago I posted the takedown of Matthews by Jack Shafer in Slate. This quote that Shafer took from James Wolcott’s book “Attack Poodles and other Media Mutants” was especially good:

“[For Matthews] Each day on earth erases the days before. He says what he believes and believes what he says, and has the liberating advantage of always working from a blank sheet.”

I bring this up because of some howlers Matthews had in his political roundtable discussion on Msnbc Monday night. I know it was two days ago, but I can’t always stay on top of reading the transcripts when I missed the show — which I do more and more since he went completely loopy with Olbermann.

Here was one such comment from Monday, talking about Obama and Hillary in the New Hampshire primary:

MATTHEWS: Back with the round table. Jennifer, that‘s the question; if Barack Obama does manage to pull an upset in Iowa and win a substantial victory there, can he win in New Hampshire, a state that the Clintons have always owned?

In 1992, Tom Harkin ran in the Iowa Caucuses as the “favorite son” candidate, rendering them largely meaningless to the nomination effort and making the New Hampshire primary the first real contested event of the season. Most of the major candidates from 1988 had opted to not run in 1992 — Gephardt and Gore primarily — and Cuomo did his usual Hamlet impersonation before opting to not run.

Clinton ran second in NH to a hugely underfunded Tsongas, who was not taken seriously by the press early in the campaign season, 35-26%. So 1 in 4 Dem voters in NH were “owned” by the Clintons in 1992. The fact that he survived the Genifer Flowers scandal with Hillary’s help on 60 Mintues following the Super Bowl made him the “Comeback Kid” with the NH showing, thanks to the fawning sycophants in the campaign press corps.

In the general election, Clinton won NH 39.9% to Bush 37.7% and Perot’s 22.6%. So 4 in 10 general election NH voters were “owned” by the Clintons. Or you could say that 6 in 10 NH voters didn’t want him to be President.

In the 1996 NH general election, Clinton won 49.3% to Dole’s 39.4 and Perot’s 9.7%.

In 2000, Gore lost NH to Bush, 49-46.8%.

How the Clinton’s have “owned” NH must be one of those “facts” Wolcott was referring to.

There is no question that Matthews is in the bag for Obama, and that there is no sense of nostalgia on his part for a Clinton Administration 2.0. That was obvious from this comment:

….If Obama pulls a victory, a substantial victory in Iowa, which is possible right now, based on how close it is and the fact he might be moving and people have already decided they like Hillary or not, he seems to be the one with a little speed right now—if he beats her convincingly by ten points, can he win the New Hampshire primary and then go on to greatness?

I’m wondering if Matthews has really been watching this guy? His unspectacular performances in speeches and debates over the last 6 months have really revealed him to be “not ready for prime time.” Matthews is simply over the moon and out of touch.

Yes — I feel about Matthews the same way Patterico feels about Greenwald. Matthews is an intellectually dishonest charlatan masquerading as a journalist.


More on L’Affaire Zucker

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:07 am

[guest post by JVW]

A follow-up to yesterday’s post on the departure of former CNN honcho Jeff Zucker when it came to light — though it appears now that everybody seemed to know — that he was carrying on romantically with Executive Vice-President and Head of Marketing Allison Gollust. First, an interesting Tweet storm from Megyn Kelly from Wednesday evening and Thursday morning:

Megyn Kelly Tweets

Always trust content from Megyn Kelly. (Just kidding, Boss. Please don’t fire me.)

And it appears that she will be proven correct. Earlier today, Rolling Stone published an article alleging what so many of us have suspected: that this relationship between Mr. Zucker and Ms. Gollust actually began, oh, about two dozen years before Ms. Gollust acknowledges:

In relationships, timing is everything. And the timeline on Jeff Zucker and Allison Gollust’s coupledom is not only off by more than two decades, say sources who have worked with the pair — the CNN power couple also repeatedly lied about their relationship to their corporate bosses.

According to CNN president Zucker’s Feb. 2 resignation memo to staff, the romantic relationship — which marked a flagrant violation of corporate policy given that Gollust, the network’s top communications executive, was a direct report to Zucker for most of her nine-year tenure there — began sometime in the past two years. Gollust said in that same memo: “Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years. Recently, our relationship changed during Covid. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time.” Added Zucker: “The relationship evolved in recent years.”

Zucker noted in his memo that WarnerMedia’s ongoing investigation into Chris Cuomo — who was fired in December for a breach of ethics after it was discovered he’d been advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while the latter faced accusations of sexual harassment — brought the affair to light and prompted his resignation. And it seems the probe, which is being overseen by the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, is unearthing plenty of embarrassing details about the goings-on at CNN. The scope of the investigation has now expanded to include Zucker and Gollust’s relationship with Andrew Cuomo, too, a WarnerMedia source acknowledged.

But sources who worked closely with Zucker and Gollust dating back to their days at The Today Show in the mid-Nineties dispute their statements in the memo. In reality, these sources tell Rolling Stone, Zucker became romantically entangled with Gollust back in 1996, when she was a trainee in NBC’s corporate communications group and he was the married executive producer of The Today Show. “It was the worst-kept secret, but Jeff was seen as untouchable,” says one insider. “And their statements [in the memo] are total bullshit.”

The article goes on to report that WarnerMedia (the parent company of CNN) had repeatedly questioned the clandestine lovers regarding rumors that had made it as far as the gossip pages of the New York Post, and that at one point they launched a formal investigation that did not lead to any disciplinary action. WarnerMedia denies that they ever investigated, though they do confirm that they had asked both Zucker and Gollust on more than one occasion about the nature of their “friendship.” It also informs us that when new WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar arrived in May 2020, Zucker was shorn of his responsibility overseeing CNN’s finances, human resources, and corporate communications, the latter of which meant that Gollust no longer reported directly to him. The Rolling Stone reporter, Tatiana Siegel, had questioned WarnerMedia as far back as September 2020 as to whether that restructuring had anything to do with the gossip that the CNN chief was sleeping with his marketing director, but a Warner spokesperson refused to answer.

When AT&T divested itself of WarnerMedia the following spring, Kilar began negotiating an exit arrangement and the word around the office was that Zucker would be given back much of the oversight authority that he had lost the previous year. In fact, rumors abounded that Zucker would amass even more authority in a new CNN-Discovery Channel conglomeration, while Gollust would be in line to become the new boss at CNN. These plans got waylaid by the Cuomo imbroglio, which as we know laid bare (yeah, my double entendres again; sorry) the nature of the relationship between Zucker and Gollust, as well as the connections the two had with the stupid, venal, and thuggish Cuomo brothers:

The source says the investigation suggests Zucker and Gollust were advising the governor at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in ways not dissimilar to what led to Chris Cuomo’s dismissal. As Andrew sparred on a daily basis with then-President Trump over Covid messaging, the couple provided the governor with talking points on how to respond to the president’s criticisms of the New York crisis. They also booked the governor to appear on the network exclusively, which became a ratings boon for CNN, with Chris Cuomo doing the interviewing. Cuomo and Gollust’s conduct, too, would appear to mark an ethical breach for executives acting on behalf of an impartial news outlet.

“The autonomy of a news organization requires it to not be engaged in any sort of direct activity with any political actor,” says Tim Gleason, a journalism professor at the University of Oregon and media ethics expert, speaking broadly. “If they’re advising a politician [while] presumably reporting on activity that that politician is engaged in, that’s duplicitous and deceptive and a disservice to the audience of a news organization.”

Here’s a timeline of the Zucker/Gollust professional relationship. As you follow it, recall that it is alleged that their romantic entanglement began in 1996:

1996 – Zucker is a producer for NBC’s Today show; Gollust is a trainee.
1997 – Zucker remains a producer; Gollust becomes senior publicist, reporting to Zucker. Gollust soon also begins working on other NBC shows.
2000 – Zucker becomes president of NBC Entertainment; Gollust continues to work in publicity for multiple news shows under the NBC umbrella.
2006 – Zucker becomes CEO of NBC Universal.
2009 – Gollust becomes Executive VP of NBC Universal and Zucker’s chief spokeswoman.
2010 – Zucker ousted in June when Comcast acquires controlling stake in NBC Universal; Gollust resigns her position in December.
2012 – Gollust becomes communications director for Andrew Cuomo.
2013 – Zucker named President of CNN in January, hires Chris Cuomo; Gollust comes aboard as Senior VP for Communication.

What is sad and pathetic is the report published in Vanity Fair yesterday detailing an internal meeting held at CNN on Wednesday in which many members of the staff expressed their dismay at how unfairly their former boss was being treated by mean old Jason Kilar, who apparently stayed around as CEO after all. Featured prominently is a fantastically mindless claim by a staffer that she had received a call from a member of Congress (betcha it’s either Zoe Lofgren or Adam Schiff) who currently serves on the January 6 Committee and claimed to be “devastated for our democracy” that Zucker was shitcanned. Jake Tapper, who publicly has stayed pretty quiet on the matter except for a few retweets here and there, asked if firing Zucker wasn’t handing Chris Cuomo a victory of sorts (the answer would be no, Jake, because CNN is still refusing to pay Cuomo any severance money). How a bunch of alleged journalists could be so surprised at these developments — the execrable Brian Stelter acts as if yesterday was the first inkling he ever had that the two executives might be an item, which, if true, makes him the least observant journalist in the fucking world (slipped in another double entendre there; not sorry) — is beyond me, but it’s a solid bet that the general sense of contentment and professional inertia apparent at CNN would go a long way towards explaining why that network’s ratings continue to slide more alarmingly than the agony of defeat guy.

I expect we’ll hear even more in coming days, and that eventually (perhaps even by the time you are reading this) Allison Gollust will join her lover in the unemployment line. But what a messed up story, and what an indictment on how dysfunctional the world of big media truly is.



Jeff Zucker Out at CNN

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:39 pm

[guest post by JVW]

CNN president Jeff Zucker resigned from his position earlier today after it no longer became tenable for him to lead that ethically-challenged organization while carrying on a romantic relationship with a subordinate, who has been identified as Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Office, Allison Gollust. Zucker explains it this way:

As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years. I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong.

As a result, I am resigning today.

This is perhaps the culmination (I write “perhaps,” because who knows what other ridiculous developments are yet to come) of a really miserable last few years for CNN in the Trump and then post-Trump media landscape. Ratings have plummeted since being goosed upwards during the January 6, 2021 Washington DC riots and aftermath, to the degree where not only is “The Most Trusted Name in News” lagging well behind arch-rival Fox News in ratings, but they are now getting regularly beat in key time slots by ideologically-friendly competitor MSNBC.

After gaining viewership during the early days of the Trump Administration when CNN — long-derided by conservatives as slanted to the left (it was dubbed the “Clinton News Network” by the late Rush Limbaugh) — took an aggressive posture to dealing with President 45. The network was understandably ridiculed for spending much of 2018 promoting the fraudulent hustler Michael Avenatti, to the point of actually promoting him as a plausible Presidential candidate to take on Donald Trump. They followed-up that embarrassment by first suspending and then rehabilitating analyst Jeffrey Toobin, a partisan hack who brings marginal value to legal commentary, after he had disgraced himself and likely traumatized an entire Zoom room with remote workplace Onanism. Toobin had already distinguished himself at the network by carrying on an extramarital affair with the daughter of a colleague and then having to be hauled into court as a deadbeat to pay child support. It’s long been wondered why CNN was willing to tolerate Toobin, who doesn’t seem to drive ratings at all and who is clearly a human resources department nightmare. The latest revelations against Zucker perhaps provide a clue why the network was so blasé about Toobin’s gross behavior.

And then there’s the network’s on-staff sexual predators. CNN producer John Griffin was arrested at the end of last year and charged with disgusting sexual practices with young girls. Griffin had been lead producer on the show “Cuomo Prime Time” featuring the sleazy and stupid host Christopher Cuomo, who himself was fired by the network when credible accusations of sexual harassment emerged after it had become clear that the host had flouted network rules about using his position to help his embattled thuggish and corrupt brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, fight back against sexual harassment charges of his own. The Cuomo Brothers, let us not forget, had become huge CNN stars during the COVID-19 lockdown, even though media ethics watchdogs had questioned the appropriateness of letting Fredo devote a great chunk of his “news program” to mindless banter with Sonny.

We’re bound to learn more about the Jeff Zucker-Allison Gollust relationship in the days to come, especially why it was allowed to go on for so long considering that it was apparently pretty much obvious to everyone at the network. One tantalizing report is that it was the Chris Cuomo legal team who pushed hard to bring this matter forward, so one cheer to Fredo if he indeed is behind Zucker’s resignation. And Megyn Kelly, who never worked at CNN but knows a thing or two about the boss chasing after the gals in the office, provides this prediction:

Oh, and as a fun coda, do you know what Allison Gollust did before she started working under (and on top of, and side-by-side, and — sorry, I shouldn’t have gone there) Jeff Zucker at CNN? That’s right, she was communications director for Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York. These people are absolutely shameless, and CNN has way too many clowns packed into that tiny car.



Priorities, Priorities

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:57 am

[guest post by JVW]

When I lived in New England, Boston magazine used to run a funny recurring piece called something like “Why It’s Good to Live in a Two Newspaper Town.” In it, they would juxtapose coverage of issues based upon the ideology of the two local papers. For instance, a contentious budget deal between Republican Governor Bill Weld and the Democrat legislature might lead to a headline in the left-leaning Boston Globe of “Dems Manage to Partially Restore Weld Cuts in Services to the Poor,” whereas the headline to a similar story in the right-leaning Boston Herald might read “Weld Forces Dems to Accept First Welfare Cuts in Over 50 Years.”

And that’s kind of always been my retort to those (mostly left-leaning) journalists who claim that opinion is limited to the editorial page, and that newsrooms play it straight where reporting is concerned. While reporters and editors might want readers to believe that they are just relaying the who, what, where, when, why, and how of daily events, we all know that newsrooms continually shade the news based upon both how they approach a certain story as well as in their choice of what stories to showcase and pursue. And that leads me to what I just noticed on the two major national news websites, CNN and Fox. The ongoing stalemate within the Democrat Party over the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation spending spree is probably the biggest story in the country right now. Lord knows I’ve bored readers silly here with my obsessive coverage, so here is what each news site believes are the major stories going on at the moment:

CNN Monday


Fox Monday

I think that for my part I find the story about Sen. Sinema being hounded by activists to be quite a bit more newsworthy than CNN apparently does, even if perhaps I find it to be less newsworthy than Fox has determined. I am cynical enough to believe that had right-wing protesters attacked a Democrat Senator (or even a moderate Republican Senator for that matter) and hounded her to the degree of following her into the ladies room (Isn’t filming someone in the bathroom without their consent illegal, by the way? It’s hard to justify that as being “in public.”) that CNN would dial up the outrage to at least the level that Fox is appearing to do so. By the same token, perhaps if the roles were reversed Fox would be ignoring right-wing activists publicly harassing a Rob Portman or a Susan Collins. Instead, the only mention of Sen. Sinema on CNN’s homepage is a rather insipid “Analysis” piece which argues that Arizona Dems should demand more progressive action out of their senior senator. The network of Chris Cuomo and Jeffrey Toobin is now challenging MSNBC for the silliest opinion writers in all of news media.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting way to start off the week, and it’s a further lesson in the perils of relying heavily upon one source for the news.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Add this story to the story about immigrants’ rights activists blocking traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge a few days ago, and you have to wonder why these people think that behaving in the most off-putting manner possible is good for their cause. “Gee, maybe if we make people late to work and medical appointments, and follow them into bathrooms and videotape them, people will start agreeing with us” is not something you typically hear from rational people.

For what it’s worth, the university should identify the videotapers and discipline them, at a minimum. It won’t, but it should. And the traffic-blockers should have been arrested, but I never saw any evidence that they were.


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:55 am

[guest post by Dana]

Let’s get started!

First news item

Chris Cuomo is accused of sexual harassment by his former boss Shelley Ross, then an executive producer at ABC News 20 years ago when the alleged incident took place:

“When Mr. Cuomo entered the Upper West Side bar, he walked toward me and greeted me with a strong bear hug while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock. “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,” he said to me with a kind of cocky arrogance.”

In response, Ross said he can not do that, and quickly left the party with her husband. Later, Cuomo sent her an email with an apology, according to the essay.

Second news item


No whips:

The photographer who took controversial photos at the Texas border says that the images have been dramatically misinterpreted.

Despite hysterical accusations that mounted Border Patrol agents chased migrants with whips, photographer Paul Ratje says that he saw nothing of the sort at the border in Del Rio on Sunday.

‘I’ve never seen them whip anyone,’ Ratje told KTSM-TV. The still images actually depict the mounted agents swinging the long reins of their horses, not holding whips.

‘He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture,’ said Ratje, who shot the photos from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande river…

‘Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,’ Ratje explained of his photos.

Here is video:

While the entire fiasco at the border with the Haitians is a hearbreaking humanitarian crisis that is in great part the result of President Biden’s mixed-messaging on immigration, let’s be very clear that whips were not used. But that does not mean that the images were not upsetting. (They were to me.)

The U.S. Border Patrol has been using horses to patrol the border region since 1904. Whether this was an appropriate geographical site in which to use them appears up for debate.

Third news item

More inconsistent wishy-washy-mixed-messaging from Biden’s administration:

Fourth news item

Without comment:

Fifth news item

Utterly unsurprising:

Democratic Rep Debbie Dingell, of Michigan, who was with Ms Ocasio-Cortez, said she and Ms Ocasio-Cortez was upset because of the way the Iron Dome’s funding was brought to the House floor, saying how it never went through committee.

“It’s very upsetting to people like she and I when it’s not in regular order, there were a lot of different opinions,” Ms Dingell, who voted yes on the legislation, noting how Ms Ocasio-Cortez has a significant Jewish community in her district. “The way that it was handled, and several of us have made it very well-known to leadership, it should never have been brought up that way and it should not have been out of regular order.”

[Ed. Ah, those pesky Jews cramping her style… Perhaps a pretty new gown with a righteous slogan earnestly emblazoned on it would help ease the poor girl’s distress.]

Sixth news item

A divided house and all that:

It is, however, possible to trace the roots of the current Democratic disarray. It comes down to a fundamental misunderstanding of a central political truth, offered by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In turning her Conservative Party in a sharp rightward direction, she argued: “first you win the argument, then you win the vote.”

In shaping their sweeping social spending legislation, with a putative price tag of $3.5 trillion, President Joe Biden and the Democratic congressional leaders have argued that this is what the voters chose last November. And polls do show broad support for universal pre-K, lower prescription drug prices and expanded health care, paid for by higher taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations. In essence, the argument goes, “We won the argument and the vote and now it’s time to turn these ideas into law.” The problem is that the Democrats did not win the vote — at least, not in the sense that mattered, given the unique nature of our system of government. And Biden has not even won the argument widely enough in his own party.

The lesson? Democrats not only have to come up with some unifying compromise, but with a “story” that centrist and progressives alike are willing and eager to tell: “We’re doing what we promised, your lives will be better, and not a single Republican helped make this possible.” There’s no guarantee that this will win them the argument and the vote next year. But what other chance do they have?

Seventh news item

The crazy train continues to jump the tracks:

Trump allies had spent months building up hope that Arizona would offer proof of their lies about the election, raising money along the way. Absent that proof, they did what they always do and spun reality.

“The Fake News is lying about the Arizona audit report!” Trump said in a statement Friday. “The leaked report conclusively shows there were enough fraudulent votes, mystery votes, and fake votes to change the outcome of the election 4 or 5 times over.”

By midday, Trump world was calling for more audits and investigations to build on the “proof” found in Maricopa County. Trump’s spokesperson, Liz Harrington, called for a “full forensic audit of the entire state,” saying “Arizona is only the beginning!” Trump-aligned candidates for Arizona secretary of state and governor called for a sequel to the audit in Pima County, which Biden also won.

This was always where the audit was going: If you can’t find conclusive evidence of fraud, at least keep the specter alive. It’s been the pattern for nearly a year. The true fraud was supposed to come out in dozens of lawsuits, then the Kraken was going to be released, and Mike Lindell would offer proof at his “Cyber Symposium” in South Dakota; none of it amounted to anything, but the “Stop the Steal” train continues on.

One would think that this massive embarrassment and enormous fail would compel the Republican Party to cut ties immediately with Trump and his quacksters and begin to work its way back to being a viable political party.One would think...

Eighth news item

Booster boost:

CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in certain populations and also recommended a booster dose for those in high risk occupational and institutional settings.

CDC recommends:

65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings…at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
50–64 years with underlying medical conditions…at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
18–49 years with underlying medical conditions…at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks,
18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting…at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

As he announced Friday that booster shots would be available to some Americans, President Joe Biden made a prediction: The administration is likely to soon provide third doses of covid-19 vaccine “across the board” to anyone who wants one.

“In the near term, we’re probably going to open this up,” he told reporters.

But that assessment — a politically popular one in a country where most vaccinated people say they are eager for a booster — was the latest example of how Biden and some of his team have been ahead of the nation’s top public health scientists, who have emphatically said in recent days that there is simply not enough evidence to suggest that boosters are necessary for the entire U.S. population.

Ninth news item

I’ll believe it when I see it:

It’s almost certain that Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers won’t get to speak at this year’s U.N. General Assembly meeting of world leaders.

The Taliban challenged the credentials of the ambassador from Afghanistan’s former government, which they ousted on Aug. 15, and asked to represent the country at the assembly’s high-level General Debate. It began Tuesday and ends Monday, with Afghanistan’s representative as the final speaker.

Consider that the UN has previously welcomed high-profile despots : Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Raul Castro, and President Hassan Rouhani…

Have a good weekend!



Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Another week down. Here are a few news items to talk about. Feel free to include anything you think might interest readers. Please make sure to include links.

First news item

This while third-world countries struggle to get vaccincated:

Louisiana has stopped asking the federal government for its full allotment of COVID-19 vaccine. About three-quarters of Kansas counties have turned down new shipments of the vaccine at least once over the past month. And in Mississippi, officials asked the federal government to ship vials in smaller packages so they don’t go to waste…In Mississippi, small-town pharmacist Robin Jackson has been practically begging anyone in the community to show up and get shots after she received her first shipment of vaccine earlier this month and demand was weak, despite placing yard signs outside her storefront celebrating the shipment’s arrival. She was wasting more vaccine than she was giving out and started coaxing family members into the pharmacy for shots.

“Nobody was coming,” she said. “And I mean no one.”

Second news item

Israel doing it right:

According to Israel’s Ministry of Health, a large majority of those eligible for the vaccine have received at least one dose — every age group from 20 upwards is at least 75% vaccinated with one shot — although there are still hundreds of thousands left to inoculate. But one of the country’s top coronavirus experts, Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science, said he believes that the vaccines have nearly eradicated Covid-19 from Israel.

“[H]erd immunity is not binary, but I do think that we reached a high level of immunity such that outbreaks are now highly unlikely (unless a variant that bypasses vaccines arrives),” Segal told CNN.

Third news item

U.N. again confirms it’s a disgraceful and moribund entity:

UN Watch is calling on U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and EU states to condemn the UN’s election of Iran to a 4-year term on its Commission on the Status of Women, the “principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

The vote yesterday by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, reported first by UN Watch, sparked outrage among human rights activists. “Electing the Islamic Republic of Iran to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva-based human rights group. “It’s absurd — and morally reprehensible. This is a black day for women’s rights, and for all human rights,” said Neuer.

Fourth news item

Oh. So now it’s acceptable to question the legitimacy of *some* Blacks:

The coup de grâce of broken-brain Scott-slander, though, comes courtesy of Glenn Kessler, fact-checker for the Washington Post. “Tim Scott often talks about his grandfather and cotton. There’s more to that tale,” reads Kessler’s headline. Never mind that Scott has never hidden that his family owned a farm in South Carolina after being freed from slavery; or that it’s true that his grandfather dropped out of school at an early age to work on that farm; or that his mother inherited only five acres of land; or that Scott himself grew up in working-class poverty — Kessler is unimpressed by Scott’s rise, writing that “Scott tells a tidy story packaged for political consumption, but a close look shows how some of his family’s early and improbable success gets flattened and written out of his biography.” That Scott’s family owned some property in the Jim Crow South prior to Scott’s being born is enough to cause Kessler — a man born into wealth and privilege — to wonder aloud, in the pages of the Washington Post, if it’s all that impressive that a man born into a system designed to hold him back financially, educationally, and politically is serving in the United States Senate. In the words of Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox: Good luck!

Fifth news item

First U.S. president to say it out loud:

For decades, U.S. presidents have avoided calling the World War I-era mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces an act of genocide.

Now, U.S. lawmakers expect President Biden to make that declaration on Saturday as Armenians mark the anniversary of the atrocities. News reports indicate that while the move is likely, Biden has not made a final decision.

The possible declaration would be hailed by Armenian communities, lawmakers and human rights advocates who have lobbied for it. But it would also damage already strained ties with Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a statement Thursday in anticipation of Biden’s announcement, said Turkey “will continue to defend truths against the so-called Armenian genocide lie and those who support this slander with political motivations.”

Sixth news item

Ugh. An immediate disqualification:

According to limited public polling as well as private polling, [Andrew] Yang has surged to the front of the mayoral pack, fueled by his name recognition and celebrity status, as well as his cheery demeanor and optimistic discussion of the city’s future. But in the past, he has struggled with issues of tone: His presidential campaign has been trailed by allegations of a “bro” culture; in one of his own books, he admits to having named his pectoral muscles, Lex and Rex.

Seventh news item

Paging Kamala Harris:

Meanwhile, Harris’ political instincts must be telling here that she has to be careful what kind of imagery ammunition she gives to Republicans. The last thing she wants is to get caught on camera against the backdrop of migrant kids stuffed into overcrowded glass holding pens. Watching from a distance means she hasn’t had to stare into the eyes of the more than 20,000 children and teenagers languishing in U.S. custody for longer than the 72 hours permitted by law. So far, she hasn’t investigated troubling allegations about the sexual assault of incarcerated youth—either by one another, or authorities supervising them. She hasn’t had to peer into the giant aquariums that warehouse hundreds of unaccompanied minors. Most of all, Harris hasn’t had to admit that the administration’s response to the crisis is improvised, nor has she offered real solutions to this recurring problem. It’s not just Harris who is failing this course. The whole Biden administration is clueless about immigration and the border—including the two Latinos also tasked with tackling the crisis, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.


In interviews with a dozen Democrats and Republicans — including GOP strategists, Biden advisers and immigration advocates who work with the White House — a picture emerges not just of a Republican Party eager to leverage a policy point that worked well for Trump in his first run for office, but of a Biden White House that was ill-prepared for them to do that. Several Democrats and immigration activists who support Biden said they have grown frustrated that the White House has failed to respond to the attacks more forcefully and fully embrace pro-immigration policies.

Eighth news item


While doubling down during Thursday’s CNN Tonight handoff on their support for Officer Nicholas Reardon’s decision to shoot knife-wielding Ma’Khia Bryant, CNN hosts Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon blasted outlets like NBC who didn’t show the knife in Bryant’s hand while reporting on the shooting. The pair accused such outlets of “journalistic malpractice” because they weren’t being honest (an ironic notion given who was flinging it).

Their knock came as NewsBusters drove part of the Thursday news cycle with a report exposing NBC’s deception against their audience; editing out a key part of the 911 call and not showing the knife, before silently adding them in an update.

“And, we’ve got to be honest about these things. And if we’re not honest about these things, as journalists, then it is a dereliction of our duty as journalists. It’s journalistic malpractice not to do it,” Lemon opined to his friend.

Cuomo noted he had “heard some people were reporting on the incident without showing the knife.” He let his true feelings on the matter known by calling it “malpractice” and said such deceptive outlets were “looking for trouble, and that’s wrong.”

Video at link.


There is too much police brutality. There are too many police shootings. But it is wrong to try to force every police shooting into the same narrative. And it is very wrong to treat cops who stop murders the same as we treat cops who commit murders.


Still stuck on spring:

(John William Waterhouse, A Song of Springtime)

Have a great weekend!



Out: Trump Taking Pandemic Seriously. In: Retweeting Video Making Misleading Claims About Coronavirus Cure (UPDATE) (2nd UPDATE)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:25 am

[guest post by Dana]

Last week I wrote about Trump’s new political strategy of leaning into the pandemic. However, taking the virus seriously was apparently little more than a short-lived experiment, given the president’s retweet of a video in which a doctor claims that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is the cure for the coronavirus. The video was later deleted by Twitter:

Twitter has pulled a video of doctors making false claims about the novel coronavirus after it was shared by President Trump. Late Monday night, the president stumbled across the viral video that showed fringe doctors touting the controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as “a cure for COVID” and doubting the effectiveness of wearing masks. The claims made in the video directly contradicted the advice of Trump’s own public-health experts—but, despite that, he slammed the retweet button. Now, Trump’s page shows a disclaimer where the retweet once was, reading: “This Tweet is no longer available.” A Twitter spokesperson told CNN: “We’re taking action in line with our COVID misinfo policy.” Facebook and YouTube have also confirmed they removed the misleading video. Despite what Trump appears to believe, clinical trials have found that hydroxycholroquine has shown no real benefit in treating coronavirus patients, and has potentially deadly side effects.

Just this past weekend, Trump expressed some regret over his tweets, especially his retweets. I’m guessing hoping that he might be experiencing some of that regret this morning.

These are reportedly some of the views held by a Houston doctor who was part of the controversial viral video that Trump retweeted:

Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.

She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens.

More on Trump’s retweets concerning the coronavirus:

Trump also retweeted tweets defending the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine, including one that accused Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, of misleading the public by dismissing the drug.

“I have not been misleading the public under any circumstances,” Fauci responded on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday morning when asked for his reaction to Trump’s retweets.

Fauci reiterated that the “overwhelming prevailing clinical trials” that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it’s “not effective” in treating the coronavirus.

In spite of plummeting poll numbers, surveys showing that the majority of Americans disapprove of the way he is handling the pandemic, and the concerted efforts of his advisers, handlers, and his own Coronavirus Task Force, the self-consumed toddler-in-chief is simply unable to grasp the severity of the pandemic and the state of the nation. In other words, Trump is just being Trump.

UPDATE: President Trump addressed questions about Dr. Immanuel (in the video) at today’s press conference:



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