In the movie “Network,” character Howard Beale famously declared on national television that “I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.” CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo, 49, reportedly went full Howard Beale on Monday on his SiriusXM show in denouncing his work at CNN, denouncing both Democrats and Republicans, and declaring that President Donald Trump is “full of sh*t.” The CNN host is recovering from COVID-19 and appears to have emerged with something of an epiphany. There was a refreshing, if brutal, honesty to Cuomo’s revealing remarks.
Cuomo is quoted as saying “I don’t want to spend my time doing things that I don’t think are valuable enough to me personally,. I don’t value indulging irrationality, hyper-partisanship.”
He was clear that his future plans do not seem to include his CNN gig: “I don’t like what I do professionally I don’t think it’s worth my time.” He said that he was through “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.” He also said he had enough with Trump “who we all know is full of s–t by design.”
The part that many of us might relate to was Cuomo’s frustration with the life of a celebrity in not being able to tell off rude people, though he never seems to have been particularly chaste in such encounters.
He recounted how he was confronted for going outside with his family on Easter Sunday: “I don’t want some jackass, loser, fat tire biker being able to pull over and get in my space and talk bulls–t to me, I don’t want to hear it.” He wants to be able to tell such people to “go to hell” again and “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.”
Returning to his profession as an anchor, Cuomo declared “I have to tolerate people’s opinion about me because I’m a public figure. I don’t want to do that, I don’t think it’s worth it to me.”
I do not think that he was longing to be intolerant as much as unrestrained I can respect that. I have seen past confrontations with Cuomo and it continues to amaze me that people feel that they have license to be absolutely rude to people who they see on television.
The question is how all of this goes down with CNN if Cuomo seeks to return, which certainly did not seem in the cards. There is also a question of his contract and what penalties and continued restrictions would be incurred from an early and unilateral cessation. Cuomo hosts one of the flagship primetime shows. A mutual withdrawal can certainly be arranged if both parties are willing. Otherwise Cuomo would be under continuing exclusive limits on his appearances under the standard talent contracts.
However, radio just does not cut it for such moments. Any break really should be done alive and dripping in a raincoat for the full Beale effect: