I went after Chris Cuomo earlier this week for elevating easily disproven racist garbage that regurgitated the Obama birther controversy, but with Kamala Harris at the center of it. I still stand by everything I wrote, as that was an unconscionable error that literally repeated the mistakes of the past. Kamala Harris was born in Oakland and the 14th Amendment exists—end of non-story. Insinuating that she may not be eligible to run for president means that you are either ignorant of basic constitutional matters, or you are suggesting that she wasn’t born in America.
That said, this new video from last night is making me rethink phrases that I wrote, like “TV anchors like Cuomo” [are] “desperate for the eyeballs of white America and more trained to cosplay a journalist than to actually be one.” This clip is hard-nosed journalism, and Chris Cuomo’s diatribe here is simply incredible for how truthful it is and how aggressively it cuts against the grain of average American discourse.
“You know what’s 100% preventable? Poverty! You know what’s 100% preventable? Hunger!”
Here’s a clip of leftist Twitter watching this segment last night:
This minute of fire-breathing honesty should serve as a template for every single Democratic politician who wants to win the 2020 nomination. While some of you may raise your eyebrow at Cuomo’s extremely correct assertion that poverty is 100% preventable, I promise you that the math backs that claim up. The THREE richest Americans hold more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans. The Forbes top 400 richest people have $2.68 trillion in wealth—which is more than the GDP of Britain. If we were to simply divide up that $2.68 trillion and distribute it evenly across all 330 million men, women and children in America, everyone would have an extra $8,000 in their pocket (that’s a 23% raise for your average single household).
Obviously not every man, woman and child would need that payout, so if we narrowed it down from 330 million people to the 127 million households in America, dividing the top 400 richest Americans’ wealth evenly across every household would give each home an extra $21,000 (that’s the poverty line in America for a three-person household).
Don’t tell me that poverty isn’t 100% preventable with figures like that. Even if we just took half of the wealth of the top 400 Americans, that would still give $10,000 to each and every household—which equates to about a 20% raise on the average salary in America. Widespread poverty is unequivocally a choice in this country.
It would be remarkable enough if one of CNN’s prime time TV hosts stopped there, but Cuomo went on to critique U.S. foreign policy better than any Democratic candidate for president in my lifetime. Per Cuomo:
”Venezuela? Cuz that’s a great strategy you’ve got goin there, right? You starve these countries of support, then you create environments on the ground where they can blow up, and then you stand back and watch them burn. What are we gonna do there now?”
Sanctions don’t really work to achieve their intended outcome. We’ve known this for quite some time. Sure, you look at a country like Russia right now, and how their ruling class is boxed in, leading them to try to use Trump to lift sanctions on the Russian elite, but at the end of the day, sanctions hurt the populace more than they hurt the ruling class—as the deteriorating situation in Iran is currently demonstrating. What always winds up happening is that sanctions cut off funding and supplies to the country, so the ruling elite hoards as much as they can while less funding and supplies reach the people. Like Cuomo accurately pointed out, our foreign policy on this stuff basically amounts to “you stand back and watch them burn. What are we gonna do there now?”
Critiquing the mainstream media is simultaneously an incredibly easy and difficult endeavor. While unforced errors like Cuomo elevating birther BS about Kamala Harris are easy to find, ascertaining why these unforced errors occurred is more difficult. The kind of thoughtfulness and journalistic clout that Cuomo displays in this short clip above is betrayed by the both-sides nonsense he demonstrated in elevating the birther BS.
It’s a clear fact at this point that the mainstream media trains its journalists to think in the untrue both-sides worldview that was on display when Cuomo unnecessarily elevated false garbage about Kamala Harris from the far-right. However, Cuomo’s extremely thoughtful pushback against “but Venezuela!” and the astounding and correct claim that poverty is preventable makes me believe that the problem with our mainstream media isn’t anchors like Chris Cuomo, but the higher-ups in his ear dictating the bankrupt both-sides worldview that has helped lead us to an utterly preventable, poverty-stricken America.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.