Media

Chris Cuomo on changes at CNN: ‘I don’t believe in middle ground’

Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo says he does not agree with changes that have been made at the network that fired him last year over assistance he gave to his brother, disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

“I have to see how it develops. They got great horses there. They have great resources. … I don’t like the idea that they’re saying they’re going to be more middle ground,” Cuomo told journalist Kara Swisher on a recent episode of her popular podcast.

The former prime-time anchor mentioned the recent merger between WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, and media conglomerate Discovery, noting the network’s “new ownership had some reservations or concerns and there is some controversy surrounding that.”

“I think a lot of people in the media [would] like to see CNN go down because it was so powerful, and they tried to make that happen because I believe that that’s what our business is often about, is tearing things down as a negativity as a proxy for insight,” he added.

Recent moves new President Chris Licht has made to CNN’s personnel and programming have created buzz within the network and across the cable news business about what the global news company might look like in a post-Trump media ecosystem. The changes also come amid a trend of sluggish ratings for the cable news company.

Licht in town halls, memos to staff and in other public comments has said his vision for CNN is one where its fact-based journalism takes precedence over the punditry and speculation prevalent across much of cable news.

“But I don’t believe in middle ground,” Cuomo said. “I believe that there’s left and right and then there’s reasonable, and usually the three are very distinguishable from one another. Again, it’s boring to people, it’s tedious.”

CNN has strongly denied suggestions that it is shifting its tone.

“CNN is not shifting from left to right or pursuing a centrist position,” the network said in a statement earlier this month. “We are entirely focused on our core strength and mission — objective journalism, presented in a fair and compelling way. We will continue to acknowledge different worldviews and experiences. We will always stand up for democracy and call out lies — regardless of their origin. That is not centrism, that is journalism.” 

Cuomo was fired late last year by former CNN President Jeff Zucker after it was revealed the host misled network leadership about his efforts to help his brother, the former governor of New York, fight allegations of sexual misconduct. The anchor was also widely panned by critics for segments featuring his brother during the height of the pandemic.

Zucker was subsequently pushed out at CNN following an internal investigation by WarnerMedia. Discovery that found he had violated the company’s personal and professional conduct standards.

In the interview with Swisher, Cuomo defended the segments with his brother and suggested they weren’t entirely his idea.

“This idea that Chris Cuomo had no boss, Chris Cuomo did as he liked when he liked how he liked — these are people who don’t know our business. When Jeff decided to have Andrew on, I believe it was the right call because the country was desperate and starved for comfort,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo has since launched a podcast of his own and earlier this summer was hired to host a show dubbed “CUOMO” at 8 p.m. starting Oct. 3 on NewsNation, a start-up cable news channel owned by Nexstar Media Group, which last year purchased The Hill.

UPDATED: 3:08 p.m.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Chris Cuomo Jeff Zucker Kara Swisher
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