Abrams: Reactions to Cuomo hiring shows fear from media

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — Media reaction is pouring in after my interview with former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night.

I first asked him a variety of tough questions about his past and challenged him on various statements he’s made. Then, he made a major announcement during our final moments.

“I’m going to come to NewsNation. I want to build something special here, work with Dan, work with the team here. They’ve got great people who are really hungry to make a difference in ways that I think matter,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo is joining us here at NewsNation with the new prime-time show set to launch in the fall.

As expected, the announcement got a lot of attention. But one thing that struck me was how threatening NewsNation seems to be to the status quo media, and to the politicized media in particular.

Cuomo will have to earn your trust once the show starts. As I said to him last night, he’ll have some work to do, with conservatives in particular, but he seems up for the challenge.

Now, regardless of what you think about Cuomo, I noticed a trend among those who wrote about NewsNation on Tuesday. And I mean, in the media, many of the outlets who ran stories on the big news have gone out of their way to minimize this network by focusing on our status as a newcomer or our ratings in their coverage.

Now, put aside the fact that for a better part of the past year, we were the fastest-growing cable network in America. I recall in the early days of MSNBC and Fox, when CNN was still the king of the hill, that they got the same sort of treatment. But now, it feels like our mission of doing less overtly partisan news is threatening or even bothersome to the politicized media.

The liberal website The Wrap posted an article with the headline “Chris Cuomo plans return to cable on CNN’s much smaller competitor NewsNation.” The left-wing site The Daily Beast, which often has come at Cuomo from the left, wrote “Chris Cuomo lands new gig with little watched NewsNation.” The Washington Post took a shot at us with “Chris Cuomo is returning to cable news, but on a much smaller channel.”

And it was not different on the right-leaning media. Fox News took a shot at the network’s quote “weak viewership.” The Daily Wire threw in a pot shot about NewsNation being a “small network.”

Just about every story I saw on the politicized media made reference to NewsNation being a new network or having lower ratings than the big three. NBC News called us a fledgling outlet.

First off, this show had its biggest ratings ever last night, thanks to all of our viewers. While it was still below the big three, we are getting a lot closer.

But here’s the most important point. We’re a startup. We’re just turning the news lights on here. We’re not even a full 24-hour news network yet.

I’m excited that we’re very close to changing that. The network is on track to go 24-hour news in 2023.

News networks are not built in a day. It took years and years after its launch in 1980 for CNN to gain a serious foothold in the American consciousness. Some would argue it didn’t really happen until more than a decade later.

We’re trying something ambitious here at NewsNation, and I’m really proud to be a part of it. At this network, we believe the media too often caters to the extremists on both sides. Most of us lie somewhere in the middle.

Until NewsNation arrived, Cable News viewers had no real option but to turn to outlets that regularly play to the far left and far right.

Seeing all this coverage trying to minimize us drove home such a crucial point for me. And it’s a big part of the reason I’m here. The politicized media wants NewsNation to fail.

In a media landscape full of extremists, a network that gives voice to a moderate point of view is an outlier. We’re a disrupter. We represent an existential threat to a media that for so long has profited off of driving us to the fringes, a media that is badly dividing us all.

So at the end of the day, I guess it shouldn’t really surprise me that the politicized media would take this tactic in covering NewsNation, because we’re doing something that could upend the entire media ecosystem. We’re danger to the status quo.

In particular, I found some of the comments from left-leaning outlets to be totally hypocritical. These are the same people who, when Fox News rightly brags about its terrific ratings, respond that it shouldn’t be all about the ratings. And yet, many of the same people are going after NewsNation’s ratings now, trying to use that as a way to minimize us.

Look, ratings matter. I look at them closely every day. I love the direction we’re going. But for now, they’re the Goliaths. We’re David, the underdog. We’re fighting against an entire politicized media that wants to see us fail.

Well, I thought Cuomo had it right last night when he talked about the media having too much skin in the game for it to be the impartial arbiter that the country needs.

“The beauty of this and the timing of it is that we need this right now. Because this binary system is killing us. And the media is trapped in it very often,” Cuomo said.

I don’t know what Chris’s show is going to be. I saw a lot of support, and a lot of criticism last night after the interview. I’d ask those critics to reserve judgment for the time being. Let’s wait and see what he brings to the table starting this fall.

What I do know is that I wholeheartedly agree that our media is trapped in a vicious cycle of partisanship, and they are trapping the rest of us.

This network’s mission, my mission, is to get us out of that cycle. I see our audience growing, and it’s going to continue to get dramatically larger.

Hockey star Wayne Gretzky once famously said, “Skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been.” Well, the puck for the last decade or so has been stuck on a tiny sliver of ice on the far left and far right. But there is a wide open space in the center, and it’s the space where most of us live.

It’s no wonder that others in the politicized media are trying to trip us up. So thank you for joining us on this journey. I read your comments. I think about them. I changed the show because of them. And I’m proud to be in this fight with all of you who make up the silent, moderate majority in this country. Now more than ever, it is vital that our moderate voices be heard together.

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