CNN commentator Chris Cuomo traced a spate of bomb threats on Wednesday to extreme rhetoric by news outlets, but rejected the notion that such dehumanizing exaggerations come from both sides of the ideological spectrum.
To Cuomo (pictured above right), the invective flows almost entirely from one direction — the Right.
“The idea of lying, twisting what is said, to make you an inimical factor in American society. It’s not just ‘You’re wrong.’ It’s not just ‘You’re inaccurate.’ It’s ‘You’re a bad person. You’re not American,’” he said on air.
“There are a lot of these outlets that do that. And they’re almost all exclusively on the Right and the far-Right fringe. That’s something that you have to assess at this point if you want to take a look, objectively, at why are things as hot as they are,” he said.
One wonders what Cuomo reads and watches.
Characterizing President Donald Trump as not just wrong but evil is an everyday occurrence in the mainstream media — including on Cuomo’s own network — not to mention news sites explicitly on the Left side of the political spectrum.
Liberal commentators — and, occasionally, news reporters — also have declared Trump’s policies “un-American” or opined, “This is not who we are.”
A Google search for “Donald Trump Nazi” turns up 49.1 million results. “Donald Trump un-American” turns up 159 million results.
Some recent examples include former Vice President Joe Biden’s calling Trump’s response to Sen. John McCain’s death “almost un-American;” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson’s decrying the president’s “radically un-American agenda;” a newspaper editorial in Washington state declaring Trump’s attacks on fake news as “un-American.”
Cuomo’s own brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, called the president “un-American” and a “slick salesman” during a speech in Brooklyn this past August.
Someone sent suspicious packages Wednesday to former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton (with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), former Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan, and the New York bureau of CNN. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) also received a package.
CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter (above left) agreed with Chris Cuomo.
“Right, the issue is dehumanizing other people because you think they’re on a different side than you,” he said.
Stelter added that disagreeing with news coverage is one thing.
“It’s another thing to suggest that a figure is evil, or a network is evil, because you don’t agree with what they do,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s the territory that we are in these days.”
Just as with over-the-top criticism of Trump, however, it is far from rare for media commentators to suggest that his supporters are bad people. Last week, for example, panelists appearing on CNN anchor Don Lemon’s show, “CNN Tonight,” agreed that people attending Trump rallies were “cruel.”
It did not take long for a host of celebrities and commentators to blame Trump for the bombs, and Cuomo was no exception.
The president condemned the bomb packages. But Cuomo suggested that the “ugliness and the invective that comes out of the White House” contributes to the environment.
“And when he had a rally last night, calling out these same kinds of people who were targeted, and the media, you can’t think it has no effect,” he said.