December 2, 2021

He says he’s sorry. But will it be enough for CNN’s Chris Cuomo to keep his job?

Cuomo addressed his suspension from the network briefly during his SiriusXM radio show on Wednesday. According to this tweet from New York Times media reporter Michael M. Grynbaum, Cuomo said, “It hurts to even say it. It’s embarrassing. But I understand it. And I understand why some people feel the way they do about what I did. I’ve apologized in the past, and I mean it.”

Cuomo added, “It’s the last thing I ever wanted to do, was compromise any of my colleagues. … I know they have a process that they think is important. I respect that process, so I’m not going to talk about this any more than that.”

In case you haven’t been following, Chris is suspended while CNN looks further into what role he had in helping his brother, Andrew Cuomo, fend off sexual harassment allegations while Andrew was the governor of New York.

Many in media circles believe Chris should be fired, but it doesn’t seem as if anyone has a good read on whether CNN actually will fire him. Anderson Cooper filled in as host of “Cuomo Prime Time” Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Anderson hosted a CNN special on COVID-19 during Cuomo’s normal 9 p.m. Eastern time slot. Variety’s Brian Steinberg reports that Cooper is expected to fill in for the rest of the week and that CNN is still formulating a plan for what to do if Cuomo’s suspension lasts beyond this week. (That, actually, leads one to wonder if CNN even has a replacement in mind should it fire Cuomo.)

I’ve received several emails from readers who have repeated what many are saying publicly: Shouldn’t Cuomo get a bit of a pass because, after all, he was helping his brother? They ask, “Wouldn’t you do the same for a family member or loved one?”

In her media column for The Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan wrote, “This was not about taking a leave of absence from your job as a teacher, let’s say, to donate a life-saving kidney to your brother. I hope we would all do that. No, this was about a high-powered media star using his considerable juice to blunt credible accusations of sexual assault and misconduct against the governor of New York State. Power helping power, in the service of disrupting the investigation of potential crimes.”

Actually, during an interview with NewsNation’s Dan Abrams, Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple put it smartly when he said, “We don’t skip over or void or exempt people from ethics because it’s their brother. It’s the reverse. We have ethics rules because they’re your brother. That’s the whole reason they exist.”

Strong coverage

Kristen Welker, left, leads MSNBC’s coverage of the Supreme Court on Wednesday. (Courtesy: MSNBC)

The cable news networks, especially MSNBC, did a thorough and impressive job covering the Supreme Court on Wednesday — in particular, the justices hearing arguments concerning a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. If the law is upheld, as many observers expect it will be, that could ultimately lead to the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

It was fascinating listening to the audio of the justices asking questions and, as MSNBC’s panel of analysts noted, really talking to one another in those questions.

MSNBC’s post-hearing coverage, led by Kristen Welker, helped viewers better understand what we had heard, and there was insightful analysis from NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams, MSNBC anchor Yasmin Vossoughian, NYU law professor Melissa Murray, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance.

Later, Chuck Todd did a commendable job in the studio talking to Williams, helping break down all that had happened. Williams talked extensively about the liberal justices warning the more conservative justices that it would be dangerous to uphold or overturn laws just because the makeup of the court has changed.

In perhaps the most powerful moment of the hearing, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible.”

Here are some notable pieces to catch up on the latest involving the arguments before the Supreme Court:


Early- and mid-career journalists, apply by Dec. 10 for $10,000 reporting fellowship

Apply today for the Higher Education Media Fellowship, which aims to increase the number of journalists equipped with the tools and networks they need to deliver comprehensive coverage on postsecondary education, particularly career and technical education. Win a $10,000 award — $5,000 as a stipend and $5,000 towards a reporting project. Details here. Open to all media types.

Tweet of the day

In Wednesday’s newsletter, I wrote, “From respected journalist to trolling opinionist: What happened to Lara Logan?” The former CBS News reporter (and now Fox Nation host) went on Fox News and, grossly, compared Dr. Anthony Fauci with Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Her comments were quickly denounced by various groups, including the Auschwitz Memorial Museum.

On Wednesday, Columbia Journalism School professor Bill Grueskin pointed out that Logan had blocked the Auschwitz Memorial Museum on Twitter. When it comes to blocking someone on Twitter, can you imagine anything more incredulous?

Grueskin tweeted, “Congratulations to Rupert and Lachlan (Murdoch). Lara Logan, one of your Fox hosts, just blocked the Auschwitz Museum. And Paul Ryan, Fox board member — take a bow. You deserve some credit here as well.”

Logan also went on a Twitter rant Wednesday, attacking Fauci even more. The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona has more.

Alec Baldwin speaks

Actor Alec Baldwin, left, being interviewed by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. (ABC/Jeffrey Neira)

George Stephanopoulos’ exclusive interview with actor Alec Baldwin will air tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC and stream later in the night on Hulu. On Wednesday, ABC News released some of the notable moments from the interview, in which Baldwin talks about how a gun he was holding on a movie set discharged and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.

Baldwin told Stephanopoulos he had “no idea” how a live bullet got on the set and, “The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.”

Baldwin went on to say, “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never. Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property.”

He added, “I think back and I think of what could I have done? She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with (her) and liked by everyone who worked with (her), and admired. … I mean, even now I find it hard to believe that (she’s gone). It doesn’t seem real to me.”

Most haunting passage

A 15-year-old killed four and wounded seven others when he opened fire at his Michigan high school on Tuesday. Reading about the horrific incident, this passage in a Washington Post story written by Lindsay Kalter, Reis Thebault, Laura Meckler and Hannah Knowles stuck in the pit of my stomach:

When a bullet pierced the door of an AP statistics class, senior Kristina Myers began passing out calculators — the only makeshift weapon the students had to throw at the gunman should he enter the room.

They piled desks high in front of the door, and Myers wondered if her life was about to end.

“I had accepted it,” she said. “If my teacher didn’t close the door when she did, our class would have been dead. I know that for a fact.”

Isn’t that just heartbreaking?

Extra, extra, get your newsletters here!

The Atlantic is adding even more newsletters to its stable.

You might recall that last month, The Atlantic launched nine newsletters, including those from David French, Molly Jong-Fast and Charlie Warzel. The free trial for those ended Wednesday, and you now need an Atlantic subscription to keep reading them.

But on Wednesday, The Atlantic announced the launch of five new newsletters and alerts. These will be free regardless of a subscription.

The new newsletters include:

  • Derek Thompson’s “America Is Running Out Of New Ideas.” The Atlantic describes it as a “newsletter about mysteries in the news, guided by Derek’s insatiable curiosity and what he describes as a ‘9 a.m. mindset’ — when, in the morning, he looks at the news, feels ‘desperately curious and unfathomably ignorant’ about it, wants to get to the bottom of why things are happening the way they are happening, and what it means for the future.”
  • Conor Friedersdorf’s “Up For Debate.” The plan is that the newsletter “will offer a welcome alternative (to social media platforms) by highlighting timely, intriguing conversations and soliciting responses from thoughtful readers.”
  • Caleb Madison’s “The Good Word.” The Atlantic writes, “Our crossword editor takes a deep dive into what makes his favorite entry in that week’s puzzles so cross-worthy.”

Meanwhile, two of the newsletter alerts are already live. The first — “One Story to Read Today” — goes out each afternoon, alerting readers to a newly published Atlantic story it believes is worth reading; and “How To Build A Life,” which notifies readers of the new editions of Arthur C. Brooks’ column on happiness every Thursday.

You can sign up for any or all of The Atlantic newsletters here.

Get Up and watch

I have a love-hate relationship with the ESPN show “Get Up!” (Well, more like a like-hate relationship.) It’s a two-hour morning show hosted by the highly competent and pleasant-enough Mike Greenberg with a rotating panel of ESPN commentators. They discuss the relevant sports news of the moment. Because I’m a sports junkie, I instinctively turn it on in the morning and find myself dropping in on many of the conversations — in between my morning routine of coffee, an English muffin and newspapers. But then there are times when I find myself looking up and asking, “Why are YOU YELLING at me?!”

Also, this time of year they should call the show, “Get Up and Talk Football!” because it’s heavy on the pigskin conversation, even if they have to drum up the same topics. (Who’s the MVP? Who will win the Super Bowl? What egomaniacal thing is diva Aaron Rodgers saying this week?)

So why am I talking about “Get Up!” this morning? Because it just had its best month ever. In November, “Get Up!” averaged 433,000 viewers — a 27% increase from November 2020. (The show debuted in April 2018.)

Meanwhile, “First Take,” which comes on after “Get Up,” had its highest audience in nearly two years. “First Take” averaged 451,000 viewers in November, a 19% jump from a year ago. That’s notable because the show recently tinkered with its format. Mainstay Stephen A. Smith now debates and converses with a rotating series of analysts, as opposed to debating Max Kellerman, who was removed from the show in September and now co-hosts ESPN Radio’s morning show.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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