Chris Cuomo: The Things I Said on Camera Are Not What I Said

After making headlines with the second episode of his podcast, The Chris Cuomo Project, for saying the January 6 Committee was largely playing a “gotcha game” and the idea former President Trump would get charged with “treason” was a play to “fringe aspects” of the Democratic Party, Chris Cuomo walked back some of his assertions on Thursday and claimed media reports weren’t telling the truth and weren’t quoting him.

“Let’s turn to the impact of our early efforts,” Cuomo boasted, giving his own version of the old adage ‘if you’re catching flack, you’re over the target.’ “[Y]ou call out The Game, you’re going to get heat from the players … And the proof of that I’m getting heat from the players. My January 6 comments have been weaponized to rile the left,” he said.

After reiterating his previous comments about how he does think there were some prosecutable crimes on January 6 and how he opposes having politics drive criminal proceedings (which NewsBusters did report him saying), Cuomo whined that “the comments are being twisted to make them weaponized. And that is a good example of The Game being exposed.”

He then pulled up a headline from Newsweek with the headline “Chris Cuomo Questions Jan. 6 Committee, Doesn’t See Case for ‘Criminality.’” “[T]his headline is twisted to make it seem like I’m attacking the Democrat efforts, telling them to give it up, like January six doesn’t matter like there’s no proof of anything wrong,” he decried.

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“That’s not what I said,” he proclaimed. Cuomo insisted his comments were twisted “to be fed to the Twitter fringe on the left extreme as a digestible notion that I’ve gone bad on the Democrats, this is retaliation for whatever.” And speaking for those who reported on him, he added: “‘He doesn’t see any proof of criminality.’ I never said that.”

But Cuomo did say that. Here’s what he said about January 6 criminality last week:

Now, absolutely it is in your interest for what happened and by whom to be rooted out and remedied. There could be crimes, especially on this fugazi elector front that we’re just learning about now. Less so I think around the planning and the practical aspects of what happened on January 6. I don’t see that there’s criminality there, at least in what’s been offered.

My question is, are we really learning enough about what matters? Or is this starting to play like a gotcha game? Like the impeachment.

In the middle of this rant about how reporters were doing him dirty with their coverage of his podcast, he announced a “[d]isclaimer” that “I am not going to be talking about myself and my coverage. I don’t care about my coverage. It’s good to have any coverage because it brings attention to the project. But it is such an obvious example of The Game, that I wanted you to see it.”

“And I’m only talking about me because this is a flagrant example of it that’s just easily identified because you can just go listen to the podcast,” he defended himself.

Before cutting to an interview he did with former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang about breaking up the two-party system, Cuomo suggested the biggest tell that articles about his January 6 comments had manipulated his words was that “you don’t see me quoted in any of those articles and I’m telling you a big reason for that is nobody’s going out of their way to get my side of it.”

Earth to Chris: Those are literally your words we’re all quoting, from your podcast, that you put out a video of. And in the case of NewsBusters, we also have a transcript to go along with the report. We included it above and we again will here.

The media came up in his conversation with Yang and he blamed the public for the biased media landscape:

I don’t know that people aren’t increasingly unhappy with the media because they are increasingly interested in confirmation bias. They want to hear what they want to hear. And in that regard. Andrew, I don’t believe the problem is the media, I believe the problem is the consumer.

Of course! It’s not Chris and the media who are out of touch, it’s YOU who are wrong!

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

The Chris Cuomo Project (YouTube)
August 4, 2022
4:13

(…)

CHRIS CUOMO: Now. Let’s turn to the impact of our early efforts. Okay?

You want to be in the business of calling out The Game and defining people as not Democrat, not Republican, not independent; free agents. Inherent in that is a threat to the way things are right now. Okay? And the more, you know, people like me say we have to get away from two parties and the media shouldn’t be fanning all the flames, some flames should be smothered. You do that, you call out The Game, you’re going to get heat from the players. Okay?

And the proof of that I’m getting heat from the players. My January 6 comments have been weaponized to rile the left.

Now. First, let’s remember what I said. And you can go and look at the episode, it will be up there forever. It’s our last episode, the one just before this one, with Joe Manchin.

Now, what I said is, what happened on January 6 – horrible, could have been much worse, reeks of contrivance, absolutely should be rooted out and exposed, and if warranted, even prosecuted. I said all that. I also said the more significant criminal concern at least involving Trump and Co. affects what we’re learning – not just about January 6 but about these larger extended efforts to manipulate electors is certain states.

(…)

10:18

So, what’s the point? The point is that what I said, which I don’t think you’re taking a lot of exception to – I really don’t think you should – but the comments are being twisted to make them weaponized. And that is a good example of The Game being exposed. Okay?

I want to show you a headline from Newsweek. I’m using Newsweek because they’re, you know, nominally straight. Right? Certainly not an overt fringe outlet or some Twitter creation, but this headline is twisted to make it seem like I’m attacking the Democrat efforts, telling them to give it up, like January six doesn’t matter, like there’s no proof of anything wrong.

That’s not what I said. So, why twist it that way? Because it allows for it to be fed to the Twitter fringe on the left extreme as a digestible notion that I’ve gone bad on the Democrats, this is retaliation for whatever. That’s nonsense. I’m not anti-left. I’m not anti-media. I’m not anti-Congress.

Now, I am anti-the-two-party system and I am exposing The Game where I see it being played in obvious examples between the parties.

(…)

11:48

Disclaimer, I am not going to be talking about myself and my coverage. I don’t care about my coverage. It’s good to have any coverage because it brings attention to the project. But it is such an obvious example of The Game, that I wanted you to see it.

That what they say, ‘Oh democrats should only focus on these other pocketbook issues, not this.’ I never said that. Right? ‘There’s nothing really there. He doesn’t see any proof of criminality.’ I never said that.

See and that matters. And it you know the expression ‘consider the source?’ When you see that reported that way. Consider the source because all you have to do is watch the podcast. That’s not what I said. It’s not certainly not what I meant which is pretty obvious to you. So then why twist it? That’s The Game.

It’s not about me being targeted or some victim or something like that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying you have to be on the lookout. And I’m only talking about me because this is a flagrant example of it that’s just easily identified, because you can just go listen to the podcast.

And I’m telling you it’s not what I meant and it’s not what I think so then why would it be that way; and notice you don’t see me quoted in any of those articles and I’m telling you a big reason for that is nobody’s going out of their way to get my side of it.

(…)

52:45

ANDREW YANG: I’ve met thousands, tens of thousands of Americans, Republican, Democrat, rural, urban. And most everyone is a good person wants the same things. I mean, it’s all of the tropes about how, like, the people are good and like then um, you know, the leadership or the system really doesn’t measure up. I mean that that’s the way you genuinely feel if you go out there.

But the dynamic you’re describing is very much it’s a function of the polarized political environment compounded with a polarized media environment compounded by the social media environment. So the question is, how do we get our way out of this? And so you fix each in turn like you fix the incentives—

CUOMO: Can you get out of it, or is this who we are and where we are?

YANG: Well, it’s who our institutions are trying to make us become. And then the question is, whether we choose that for ourselves.

And there are so many Americans, I mean, you know, a million of them where they’re looking at this and they’re taking a step back and they’re saying, ‘hey, whatever is going on uh is getting crazier and crazier and less and less productive and boy would I love for there to be a media company that I could trust to be politically independent.’

Which by the way, maybe free agent here uh from Chris Cuomo’s living room.

CUOMO: We’re an ‘and’ I want people to go out, get their media, get their stuff. What I want to do here – When I’m lucky enough to have somebody like you, then it’s easy, this is this is a home run.

What I don’t like about – and you’re right, you’re right. So I’m – I’m wrong in that people are okay with the media, they’re not okay with the media. But they’re not okay with anything and I try to push back on cynicism and stick to skepticism. You know? Let’s deal with where the real problems are and they’re not.

I don’t know that people aren’t increasingly unhappy with the media because they are increasingly interested in confirmation bias. They want to hear what they want to hear. And in that regard. Andrew, I don’t believe the problem is the media, I believe the problem is the consumer.

YANG: I think I’ll just use myself as an example. It’s like I’ve seen my media consumption habits change a lot over the last number of years. And when I’ve talked to people uh they say to me uh you know, one person will say to me, ‘you know where I go from my news about America? The BBC, because –“

CUOMO: A disinterested observer.

(…)

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