One is the prestigious anchor for one of the most notable news programs in television history, an author, and an adjunct professor charged with teaching the young impressionable minds of the future. .
One is the host for the prime time opinion program on a leading global cable news network, the son of a former New York State Governor, brother of the current Governor, and a multiple Emmy Award nominee.
And they are both acting like little more than spoiled toddlers pissing and spitting at each other in a well-publicized playground battle demeaning both of their personal and professional brands.
Honestly, both Chris Cuomo and Chuck Todd need to grow up and act like professionals. I only see that happening for one of them, while the other I believe will wallow in his diapers many more times over.
This all started with a lengthy feature interview on Cuomo by “The Hollywood Reporter”. Cuomo, like a lot of people in the business, has a massive ego that constantly needs stroking. No doubt he wasn’t pleased with an article that made him appear to be more than a little arrogant and smug, but that comes with the territory. It’s the image Cuomo and CNN have developed for him, trying to find a niche that will set him apart from everyone else. It’s a good gamble in this day and age of personality driven news, but it can sting the larger heads among them.
It can also bring out that arrogance for all to see. Cuomo put his on display by taking an completely unwarranted shot at Todd.
“But broadcast news shows, particularly light-hearted morning fare, don’t interest him, despite their larger audiences. It’s an issue of political relevance. “Anderson Cooper is a hell of a lot bigger than any male anywhere on network television,” he says. “I would argue that Chuck Todd ain’t Jake Tapper. Jake Tapper has a much bigger footprint in politics than Chuck Todd does.”
Unwarranted. Unnecessary. lacking in any professionalism whatsoever. And I have zero doubt exactly what Cuomo wanted.
There used to be an unwritten rule among broadcasters, specifically NEWScasters. You don’t shit on your peers. Period. Maintain a civil tongue about your competition because you never know if and when you’ll be working for then and with them. Sad to say, the mass of channels and the need to be “edgy” has crushed what were once the rules of a respectable profession.
Cuomo is doing nothing more here than seeking publicity, which he’s obviously getting in droves. But is this the kind of publicity and notice you want for yourself? That of being a preening jackass seeking to make a buck off the backs of your peers?
Which brings us then to Chuck Todd.
Todd was not a unanimous choice to fill the shoes of the late Tim Russert at “Meet the Press”. He wasn’t even the first choice, and had to take over the reins after a disastrous six year run by David Gregory. Despite a solid news background, he was not considered by even some of his bosses to be the guy for a long term future. Honestly, no one could fill Russert’s shoes. The man was an interviewing genius. Todd was considered a rising star, and has taken his share of shots, not all of them deserved. Everyone has to go thru the growing pains, and Todd has handled it admirably without a lot of missteps.
Personally, I’m impressed with the manner he’s handled all the nonsense taking over MTP. He’s busted his ass, handled it with aplomb, and bucked the odds. That’s tough in this business, and for that he gets major chops.
What then makes Cumo’s shot even more self-pandering and useless is that as of this writing and those comments, Todd and “Meet the Press” have been on a ratings roll. The show would seem to have found it’s footing, and is certainly drawing more of an audience than Cuomo in that CNN prime time slot. It’s not even close. So Cuomo’s offhand comment was quickly proven to be nothing more than an ego trip in order to try and drum up a phony controversy and grab some more numbers.
All Todd had to do was keep his mouth shut, and let the gasbag in Cuomo take his shot. That’s the classy and professional things to do.
It’s not as if Todd wailed away at Cuomo, but while appearing on a shock jock radio show in NYC, he took a shot back at Cuomo. To use his own word, “dude”, unnecessary. Very Unprofessional.
Todd had the high road right there in front of him. All he had to do was take the path and smile. Sure, be asked the question by someone seeking to do nothing more than stick a poker in someone’s eye for the purpose of their own ratings The radio show in question now has their name plastered over the report and using Todd, just like Cuomo is using Todd. For ratings and money.
Instead of one diaper wearing dandy, we now have two.
“Mastering the Media” begins with a simple mantra.
YOU are in control of your media destiny. YOU make the decisions that will set your personal and professional brand. YOU make every single choice in how you will be judged.
YOU are in control, and if there comes a time when that control is being usurped by someone else, you have the power to wrest it back.
In a sense, Cuomo has indeed mastered the media in this instance, He has used it to his advantage, garnering millions of dollars in free publicity. It might even help his ratings. However, he did so at the expense of a colleague, one who never to our knowledge sought out this pissing contest.
If Chuck Todd is now the smarter man in the room, and I believe he is, he’ll walk away from this and never speak of it again. He will go about his business and let Cuomo play the arrogance card. It’s the smart thing to do. Cuomo, for his part, relishes such fights and I doubt this is the last we’ll hear of it.
In the end, I believe Todd will come out on top of this national skirmish IF he plays it smart. Cuomo has already lost and in private broadcast circles is the target of mockery and derision.
Which side would you rather be on?