CNN’s Chris Cuomo: ‘Tell Us What We Reported That Is Untrue’

Washington Examiner's David Drucker interviews Chris Cuomo for the Examining Politics podcast.

If the term fake news has been co-opted out of any meaningful utility, as demonstrated most recently by Donald Trump‘s use of the phrase as an invective against CNN’s Jim Acosta during Wednesday’s press conference, CNN New Day host Chris Cuomo nevertheless has a response. “Tell us what we reported that is untrue.”

It was a refrain he kept coming back to in an interview with Washington Examiner’s David Drucker for the Examining Politics podcast. “Often the reaction validates the reporting,” said Cuomo. “I am proud of [Jake] Tapper, [Jim] Sciutto, Carl Bernstein, Evan Perez and all their teams that made this happen,” he said, referring to CNN’s report on the intelligence briefing the president and president-elect received on an unsubstantiated but potentially damaging document detailing Russia’s stash of compromising information about Trump. He continued, “I get that you don’t like this story — if you’re from the right, or a follower of Trump, or you’re a fan of his, I get it. You shouldn’t like the story. But tell us what we reported that is untrue.” The CNN report did not provide details on the contents of the document itself.

Cuomo also defended his colleague, saying, “I think it was wrong for them to villainize Jim Acosta. When [Sean] Spicer put out his original comments (he was wrong to be disrespectful, I think it was too far) I didn’t know who he was talking about, the president-elect or Jim Acosta, because I felt the comments equally applied to that.”

When Drucker asked how that applied to the relationship between the press and politicians in general, of “how combative we as journalists should be with high profile politicians, and particularly the president of the United States,” Cuomo’s response was mixed.

“Gotta respect the office,” he began, “and I think that people often feel that that’s a hedge. It isn’t. You have to respect the office and what it means. Part of the respect of that office is holding it to account and testing power.”

Cuomo went on to say that Trump’s response belied the fact that “he is thin-skinned,” something not likely to be a winning strategy. “He likes to attack his critics. He enjoys it, he thinks it works to his advantage. I think he’s right. I think attacking CNN as fake news works for his base. I see in social media that that’s enough for 40 percent of the American people that, ‘yup, Trump says it, I’m with him. Fake news, hate the media, I’m right there with you.”‘

But going forward, Cuomo said, that 40 percent would not be a substantial enough percentage for someone who craves popularity as much as Cuomo suspects Trump does. “It’s not enough to get to a majority, and I think Donald Trump wants to be liked very, very much, maybe even more than presidents past in recent history. I think popularity is more a measure for him than principle at this stage, so we’ll see how that goes.”

You can check out the entire 47 minute interview here.