Cuomo Tries to Link Montana Assault to GOP 'Ratcheting Up Hostility to the Media'

On Thursday's New Day on CNN, Chris Cuomo repeatedly tried to tie the national Republican party to Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte assaulting a reporter. After the CNN host unsuccessfully tried to get the reporter in question -- Ben Jacobs of The Guardian -- to make such a link, he then raised the issue in a later segment as he recalled a "ratcheting up of hostility towards the media" on the Right.

As Jacobs was interviewed by phone at about 8:10 a.m. ET, Cuomo posed the question: "Do you believe that what happened with you and Gianforte is reflective of a dynamic between politicians -- specifically those on the right -- and the media?"

The Guardian reporter brushed off the suggestion by characterizing the event as "unusual" and asserted that he did not want to "tar" other politicians with the incident. Jacobs:

That interaction was so unusual. I mean, I've reported on Republicans, I've reported on the presidential campaign. I've never encountered that. I've had very supportive emails, text messages from Republican politicians, Republican consultants, Republican operatives (inaudible) that I wouldn't want to tar anybody or anything with this. This is one very unusual and surreal interaction...

A bit later in a segment with CNN's Chris Cillizza and David Axelrod, Cuomo again tried to push responsibility for the violence onto other Republicans 

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I do think it's a question for the party. I do think it's a question for other Republicans and the GOP. We all know what's going on here. We know the environment's ugly. We know there's been a ratcheting up of hostility towards the media. It had been talk. There'd been some pushing and shoving, some incidents. And now this is a high, a flashpoint. It's a time to stand up and say what's right and what isn't, not to shut up because you want to win a seat in Congress.

CNN's Chris Cillizza agreed with Cuomo's premise as he responded:

You can't just defer all questions to the Gianforte campaign. You can't do that. That's what national Republicans were doing last night. If you're Paul Ryan, you need to say something that says, you know, this is not conduct that we condone.

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Thursday, May 25, New Day on CNN:

8:10 a.m. ET
CHRIS CUOMO: Do you believe that what happened with you and Gianforte is reflective of a dynamic between politicians -- specifically those on the right -- and the media?

BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN: The interaction that I had -- that interaction was so unusual. I mean, I've reported on Republicans, I've reported on the presidential campaign. I've never encountered that. I've had very supportive emails, text messages from Republican politicians, Republican consultants, Republican operatives (inaudible) that I wouldn't want to tar anybody or anything with this.

This is one very unusual and surreal interaction, and, you know, having reported on enough folks, this is the first time and hopefully the last time I'll ever get body slammed by a politician.

(...)

8:13 a.m. ET
CUOMO: Look, there is a comical nature to this because of how absurd it is, Cilizza. And what I'm seizing on is not the event but the response to the event. Gianforte has gone quite ostensibly because he wants to win his race. And that's fine. It's self-serving. He'll deal with the courts. 

But I do think it's a question for the party. I do think it's a question for other Republicans and the GOP. We all know what's going on here. We know the environment's ugly. We know there's been a ratcheting up of hostility towards the media. It had been talk.

There'd been some pushing and shoving, some incidents. And now this is a high, a flashpoint. It's a time to stand up and say what's right and what isn't, not to shut up because you want to win a seat in Congress.

(...)

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: But as we move into today, you can't just defer all questions to the Gianforte campaign. You can't do that. That's what national Republicans were doing last night. If you're Paul Ryan, you need to say something that says, you know, this is not conduct that we condone.

NB Daily Congress Conservatives & Republicans Political Scandals CNN New Day Montana Video Paul Ryan Chris Cuomo Chris Cillizza


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