The timeline here is in dispute. CNN’s stupidity in making this demand is not.
Chris Cuomo, host of the network’s morning show, was grumpy yesterday that big-name Republicans like Cruz and Marco Rubio were turning up in the friendly confines of Fox News to discuss the Parkland massacre but not the supposed Thunderdome of CNN. Why don’t you come on my show, Cuomo taunted them, and try to cope with gun-control questions you’ve answered eight thousand times before in your political careers?
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 15, 2018
That graphic appeared on Cuomo’s show Thursday morning, later trumpeted by their media critic/fanboy Brian Stelter. Cruz responded this morning:
Here's a pic of the @CNN interview — a 15-min exclusive given yesterday — that y'all still haven't aired… (While falsely claiming I'm "afraid" to talk to CNN.) https://t.co/Bo8AzsuGFX pic.twitter.com/sEtt4bTeUT
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 16, 2018
Why was Cuomo calling him out then? Stelter replied this afternoon that Cruz’s interview with the network didn’t happen until later in the day, hours after Cuomo’s show finished airing:
What are you talking about? On CNN's @NewDay, Cuomo pointed out that some GOP reps went on Fox but not CNN or other networks on the morning after the Parkland attack. I tweeted out the graphic from @NewDay at 9am. Later, in the 4pm hour, Cruz gave an interview.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 16, 2018
Cuomo chimed in again this morning:
Be clear: Cruz and others were invited to come on @NewDay and be tested about how to stop these shootings. They declined. If Cruz or others did an intv with Cnn thereafter fine, but they didn’t when we asked. Period. Offer stands. Anytime. Anywhere. https://t.co/Wxy1KsutIo
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) February 16, 2018
Two conclusions seem inescapable. One: Cuomo doesn’t believe the afternoon interview his network conducted with Cruz was as penetrating as an interview he would have conducted. If he did, there’d be no need to reiterate that Cruz declined to appear on “New Day.” Cruz took CNN’s questions, for quite a long time by the standards of the average congressional interview, so why the tough-guy bravado from Cuomo hinting that Cruz is afraid to appear on his show? That’s a bizarre insinuation considering that Cruz is famously confident in his own debating skills — to the point where he’s faced off with left-wing darling Bernie Sanders at least three times in televised debates on, errrrrr, CNN. Maybe he did Fox’s show instead of CNN’s simply because he had a busy morning and could only spare time for one interview. Fear is an unlikely alternative explanation.
Two: This isn’t a request for an interview, it’s a taunt. A network news anchor, who (sort of) pretends to be fair and objective, taunted a right-wing U.S. senator and gun-rights proponent to come on his show and face the music after a school shooting. Cuomo wasn’t looking to interview him, he was looking to grandstand in front of him to earn some “Cuomo really took it to Cruz!” attaboys from likeminded anti-gun liberals. Why should Cruz do him that favor? If anything he did the network a favor by *not* appearing, as CNN already has a problem with too much emoting by the hosts over Republicans they dislike (i.e. Trump). If I were Cruz I’d tell CNN to get bent until Cuomo apologizes for behaving unprofessionally. If he wants to get taunted for thoughtcrimes on guns, he can go on the overtly partisan MSNBC and get taunted by the hosts honestly.