Chris Cuomo is having a corona-induced hyper-self-aware existential crisis

Chris Cuomo at arrivals for Warner Media...

I’ve never really cared one way or the other about Chris Cuomo as a news personality or journalist, if he even *is* a journalist. I’ve enjoyed his on-air fights with his brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during the quarantine, and I feel sorry for Chris that he’s been sick with the coronavirus. But before all of this happened, I just thought he was sort of a meathead on CNN who was sometimes bad at his job and sometimes okay at his job. It turns out that he’s corona-fever is giving him some kind of existential crisis though. On Monday, Cuomo was doing his SiriusXM show and he said this:

“I don’t like what I do professionally… I don’t think it’s worth my time.” Cuomo said he missed the freedom to tell his critics to “go to hell,” saying: “That matters to me more than making millions of dollars a year… because I’ve saved my money and I don’t need it anymore.”

Speaking about his job as the host of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, he said he doesn’t want to spend his life “trafficking in things that I think are ridiculous,” like “talking to Democrats about things that I don’t really believe they mean,” and “talking to Republicans about them parroting things they feel they have to say.” Cuomo concluded: “I’m basically being perceived as successful in a system that I don’t value. I’m seen as being good at being on TV and advocating for different positions… but I don’t know if I value those things, certainly not as much as I value being able to live my life on my own terms.”

[From The Daily Beast]

There were a lot of jokes about how Chris Cuomo has finally gained sentience and some kind of sense of self-awareness about the absurdities of his CNN gig. But of course, after everyone half-way clapped for those statements, he sort of took it back. On Tuesday, he said:

“It’s not true. I never said it. I never meant it… I have never been in a better position, professionally, than I am in right now. They’ve been so good. They’ve been so supportive of me in ways I could never have imagined. … I’ve never had a group of people professionally care about me the way they have shown. I’ll never be able to repay them, but I’ll try hard to do so. I’ve never been more grateful. I’ve never been on a better team.”

Cuomo revealed to viewers that he recently signed a “long-term” contract extension, before the spread of the coronavirus. “I love where I am, I love the position that I’ve been given, and I love who I’m doing it with. Those are all matters of fact for me,” he said. “No place has ever been better to me. No place has ever given me the opportunities that [CNN president] Jeff Zucker has.”

Still, the primetime host made clear to viewers that he is wrestling with existential questions about the role of television news and what he can bring to the medium, particularly amid the present hostility toward the media.

“It is frustrating to do this job in an environment where people are not interested and open,” Cuomo said. “It is hard to practice journalism when people are so intent on believing what they want to believe for political advantage. It makes you question: Is it worth the effort? Can I make a difference? Can I personally make a difference? Is the way I’m doing this working?” … I love where I am. I love what I do. That doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating. I don’t think it’s ever mattered more than it has during that administration.”

[From THR]

Then when Cuomo appeared on CNN on Tuesday, he was part of a discussion with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Cuomo was all “blame it on the co-co-co-co-corona.” No, he said that the virus “creates emotional illness and creates psychological illness. I’m telling you, it is in my head. Not just figuratively, in terms of messing with you because you’re sick for a long time — it is causing people depression and it’s creating brain fog and it’s creating edginess in people. … I am experiencing that.” Which I believe – I think when the entire world is going through a deadly pandemic, there’s a profound psychological effect. Add to that, the actual emotional and psychological issues that go along with simply being really sick for weeks. Of course it starts to mess with your mind. And of course a lot of people are probably going to have existential crises about it too.

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, WENN.

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52 Responses to “Chris Cuomo is having a corona-induced hyper-self-aware existential crisis”

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  1. MeghanNotMarkle says:

    He shouldn’t have walked it back but I guess he knows which side his bread is buttered on.

  2. Melissa says:

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. I really appreciated his comments, the 24 hour news cycle is toxic and contains more chest beating than actual information these days.

    Having said that, I also see how he needed to back off a little, it is his very lucrative livelihood. I’m sure we have all been in that position in some form.

    • Esmom says:

      I don’t know much about him but the little I’ve read in the Trump era suggests he’s sort of a hothead. Add being sick with Covid-19 and I could see where he might start to freak out a bit.

      • Melissa says:

        I’m not a fan of his style of reporting, he is more of a this is my opinion and if you disagree then you are wrong type of personality. I don’t know that I would call him a journalist either, he’s a good looking guy with a family name and money and IMO wields that privilege in a discussion.

      • C-Shell says:

        I’ve learned more about him from watching Andrew Cuomo’s briefings most days. Andrew said that Chris got a law degree, but didn’t want to practice law and wanted to go into journalism. (Andrew: “You can’t be a journalist, you’re a lawyer!” Paraphrasing.) So this wouldn’t be the first instance where Chris wasn’t satisfied with his career path. He does seem like a hot head who speaks first and then realizes the consequences, but I’m not going to shade him this time. Being seriously sick with COVID, continuing to do his daily show, while isolating in his basement would drive anyone beyond reason.

  3. Giddy says:

    There’s also the little matter that Covid-19 has a tendency to kill people. That would mess with your head for sure. I don’t think that anyone should be held accountable for what they say while they are ill. We just need to pray for healing and a return to normalcy.

    • DarlingDiana says:

      You may be giving him too much credit. He has been well enough to do his job and go out on Easter Sunday. He is a hothead that got angry because an old man told him that he should be following his brother’s orders to self isolate instead of being out with his wife and kids.
      I do get that he wants to keep the dough rolling in and I don’t blame hi m for that.

  4. Teresa says:

    I think deep down many news anchors probably enjoy the status, pride, and paycheck way more than ‘getting the scoop.’ Also they’ve all got to feel like useless parrots at this point because all they do is recount the heinous shit Dump says and they have to have some level of professionalism about it. Get rid of the 24 hour news. It does no good.

  5. LaraK says:

    I think he sort of meant it and sort of didn’t. But when you are very ill, your filter goes out the window. We should cut him slack.
    What he is doing is a form of public service and I for one am grateful we have someone willing to share his experience.

    • tay says:

      why is he working in that condition though? he should be on sick leave until he recovers, both for his health, and so he doesn’t put his foot in his mouth like he just did. it’s a really weird situation

  6. Tanya says:

    It definitely causes brain fog. It took a solid 2 weeks after I got “better” to think clearly again.

    • Kate says:

      Agree. I also told everyone I know that I was quitting my job to go to nursing school/med school, and now that I’m not feeling like crap anymore I definitely have no desire to do that!

  7. kd says:

    No comment on Chris I don’t watch cable news. I’m a New York native and his dad was a great Governor. My son is recovering from the virus (i can’t bring myself to type the name) and while in the thick of it, he said all sorts of strange things esp about dying. Thankfully he is on the mend yet still in denial (or shock) of how sick he was.

  8. Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

    “But before all of this happened, I just thought he was sort of a meathead on CNN who was sometimes bad at his job and sometimes okay at his job.”

    Yup. That is Chris Cuomo. I thought he was a better fit on the CNN version of the Today Show, New Day than the “hard-hitting” evening news hour he now anchors.
    Did he take/Has he taken any time off during his illness?

    • C-Shell says:

      Nope. He’s continued to do his daily program, which has to have stretched him to/past the limit. But it’s been beneficial to viewers to see in real time how the virus affects its victims. I’m not going to criticize him this time.

    • KellyRyan says:

      I agree with meathead, and as a reporter he’s far more interested in his own ideas than in others. I have followed intermittently since his diagnosis.

  9. Mac says:

    I read an article about how the brain operates differently in a crisis.

  10. Cdnkitty says:

    I think he meant it. After a brush with illness or death, it’s perfectly natural to see how much BS is in our lives and to wish for a more meaningful existence. After my son died my career in business meant nothing to me, still doesn’t but it pays the bills and it’s ok enough. I’ve been fortunate to spin into a non-profit so that helps.

    But his words had the ring of truth in them, and the stepback is for someone who hasn’t processed all of it just yet and needs to figure out his future. I hope he finds a more meaningful existence.

  11. pineapple says:

    Poor, poor man. I think you can be both … appreciative of where you are and what you have, but also, questioning politics and what type of help you can bring in this current situation. Newscasters are so, so important in this time. “Fake news” only exists if people report it.

    He is probably just realizing how crazy this whole situation is. I imagine after almost dying you would question the greed and untruthfulness in Washington.

  12. Texas says:

    I kind of liked it when he went after that guy who called him Fredo. He has kind of a sexy, bad boy persona that I would have just adored in my 20’s when I was young and stupid.

  13. Vizia says:

    Also, there are indications that COVID affects you neurologically, as well as the more usual symptoms.

  14. Darla says:

    He is a hothead, and being Italian myself, I cringed when he went after the guy who called him Fredo. I’m not a fan. I grew up around that kind of behavior and it’s a huge turnoff for me now. But I will give him a pass on this stuff because yeah, I am sure his mind is foggy and he’s questioning all kinds of stuff in addition to that.

    Oh and someone mentioned his father above. I worshiped Mario Cuomo. I believe he really taught me something about values in my formative years. I remember being fascinated with this thoughts on the death penalty, and believe me, this is when the death penalty was hugely popular in NYS, and in fact, that Pataki moron used it against him to eventually unseat him. But I always took his really thoughtful words to heart on that. You can struggle with this when the crime is heinous enough, but in the end, it’s not about who they are, it’s about who you are.

    Let me tell you something, that was a lesson that stuck.

    • sa says:

      Mario Cuomo had thoughtful takes on a lot of issues. He was my Governor as I was first becoming interested in politics and how it all worked, and part of me thinks his thoughtful positions are part of why I’m always so disappointed in current politicians. I never got to vote for him, which bummed me out. I really liked Mario Cuomo a lot, which is why I always want to like both Chris and Andrew more than I usually do.

  15. Steff says:

    Jeez, y’all need to give him a break.

    • Aitana says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I keep reading all these comments abt Chris being a hothead, which hurts me to the core. I think he’s a passionate, intelligent man who has less of a filter than a great deal of other reporters. I love his style & basically agree with most of his opinions. I just love him & Andrew as well.

  16. SilentStar says:

    Like many people, he has just come to realize he needs more meaningful work. This pandemic really puts things like that in perspective, so no surprise. I hope he uses his epiphany to change the way he disgusts and delivers his show, so that it truly can be more meaningful to him and everyone who watches it.

  17. SilentStar says:

    Like many people, he has just come to realize he needs more meaningful work. This pandemic really puts things like that in perspective, so no surprise. I hope he uses his epiphany to change the way he conducts and delivers his show, so that it truly can be more meaningful to him and everyone who watches it.

  18. bekindbekindbekind says:

    The truth is, if you’ve ever been seriously ill for a length of time, it does mess with you emotionally and mentally, as well as physically.

    Cut the guy some slack. He coughed so hard he broke his ribs. He shivered so forcefully he chipped a tooth. He was sleep-deprived for days.

    He’s not alone in these symptoms.

    This is a time for compassion and leadership – two things we sorely lack.

    Be well, all

  19. Jaded says:

    Let’s not forget he said this while he was suffering high fevers. He even admitted he was hallucinating it was so bad, so this hot-headed stuff really was caused by a hot head that was giving him fever dreams and rigours.

  20. Tiffany says:

    I honestly can understand the change in us mentally.

    I have been talking with my mother recently and while I do have a mouth like a sailor I use to do it to get a bit of a funny rise out of her. It was something that we could laugh at.

    Lately there has been nothing. That worries me.

  21. Case says:

    I have no doubt the illness messed with his mind, literally and figuratively. I don’t know anything about him (I read news, never watch it), but he’s going through a lot right now and I feel for him.

    I think those of us who are fortunate to have been healthy through this time are also impacted psychologically. It’s hard not to be at this point. While I’m a positive person, I’m also a realist, and I don’t think life will ever be “normal” the way it was in December 2019 again. I think we will have periods of self-isolating until 2021-22. I think much, much more will be done remotely, from schooling to working to shopping. And I think that’s all okay, because not all of “normal” is worth returning to, frankly. But there are also a lot of people who fully expect life to be totally back to how it was by June. Which is a perfectly valid opinion, because it’s all uncertain in the end. But no matter what side of “how long will this last/how will it change the world?” you fall on, you’re going to be mentally changed by this experience.

  22. Busyann says:

    I like Chris and prefer his show to some others. The news cycle just spins the same talking points and all of their pundits spin the same responses to fit whatever narrative the network wants. A few hosts deviate from that formula slightly….most notably Cuomo and in my opinion, Chris Hayes. Chris Matthews fell into that category too, but haha not anymore. So I agree with what he said. He probably shouldn’t have said it, no matter how true, but he isnt wrong. He gets a pass in my book.

    I think what’s going on is having a profound affect on people. This is heavy for everyone and really making people put some sh*t into perspective.

  23. Ni says:

    Courage is hard to maintain.

  24. april says:

    Maybe he feels he should be a governor or something of that stature like his brother. Maybe that kind of service would be more fulfilling for him. God bless him! I really like his political views.

  25. Maria says:

    Oh my goodness, I LOVE Chris Cuomo. He is a terrific interviewer who calls the guests out, from all sides of the political spectrum, forcefully but respectfully. He is excellent at his job.

    I love his desire to do good and his support for the little guy.

    It is just a ridiculous sign of the time that we have people here saying oh he’s a meathead (what??) when if anything, he might be a bit too cerebral for the average audience particularly when he discusses some of the ins and outs of the legal issues. Fair enough, not everyone can or wants to track those in as much detail, but to suggest he’s not good at his job is beyond my comprehension. He’s not just good at it, he’s excellent at it.

    And that he might not need his job is probably right. He’s a guy that chooses his own path. His father was governor and he said one time that he could have chosen that life but didn’t want to be a politician because he knew too much about it. So when he said that he’s sick of listening to Ds and Rs say things they don’t believe, he must surely know what he’s talking about and more to the point, I think he means it. Who with a modicum of sincerity and hatred of BS would feel otherwise?

    Lastly, the walking it back. I suppose if it was taken as a criticism of CNN, that is something he would regret. His job gives him a platform to correct misinformation and to advance the public discourse. He may or may not work with good people, I don’t know. But I believe him when he says he’s grateful. Because he has credibility and that is everything to me.

  26. woohoosah says:

    My friend, who has been sick with it, said that he felt like it was making him angry and confrontational.

  27. Moo says:

    There is evidence virus does invade the nervous system as well as blood vessels everywhere (including brain). We are seeing psychological effects beyond the mood effects of being acutely ill.

    • woohoosah says:

      This. I believe that in addition to the myriad of symptoms, it is also affecting sufferers moods and thinking.

  28. AW says:

    I’m embarrassed to write this but find him very attractive even when he is sick.

  29. SJR says:

    We are all under extra stress right now.
    I give CC a no harm, no foul pass on this. For me, I was checking his twitter page and just seeing that he was clearly not well but still able to be online..helped give me some hope that this virus does not automatically kill a young-ish man in good health.

    As for the 24 hour news everywhere…I wish it would be less.
    Maybe a several updates thru the day @ 15 minutes. But the 24 hour talking heads that keep on rehashing and talking over each other in made up drama is too much for me.

    I try to see the CDC site and a quick look at my local news, Dr. Fauci news of the day and then turn off the tv news. My anxiety and depression problems were a concern before C19 hit us, I want to stay informed of actual facts, not constant political theories.

    I fact, I told my own sister I will continue to check in and run grocery/pharmacy errands for her but I do not want her to mention Trump one more time about anything. No more.

  30. Bevvie says:

    I love his brother, he is an excellent NY governor, love him almost as much as I love my governor dreamboat, Gavin Newsome. I’ve always seen Chris Cuomo as a bit of a drama queen, but likeable. So unless he has a guest on his sbow that I want to see, I usually switch to the local news.