Ex-ABC's Simpson: 'I'm a Fan of' Cuomo, 'Very Much Wish' He Were Prez

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Sunday's AM Joy on MSNBC, former ABC News weekend anchor Carole Simpson admitted that she is a "fan" of New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and declared that "[I] wish very much" that he were President. The show also demonstrated that President Donald Trump's administration will be criticized no matter how they handle the pandemic because, within the same show, members were criticized for being both too positive and too negative in public discussions of the crisis.

At 11:00 a.m Eastern, host Joy Reid introduced a segment to discuss media coverage of the administration, and not only complained that the media were giving too much positive coverage to the President, but that Trump has been too optimistic in his coronavirus briefings. Reid began:

JOY REID: The media is still quick to praise Donald Trump when he exhibits even a hint of normal behavior. The reality is, Trump's handling of the pandemic has been anything but normal. He brought back the daily press briefings which frankly the press had been hungry for. But, instead of characters like Sean Spicer or Sarah Huckabee Sanders, it's Trump himself who's serving as his own communications director. And, true to his reality show form, he's turned the daily briefings into a TV show. He even brags about the ratings.

She then complained that the President promotes "false hope" as she added:

REID: And during this daily reality show, he uses reporters as antagonists, or what NYU media expert Jay Rosen calls "hate objects," to delight his conservative base, berating journalists for asking perfectly reasonable questions and doling out false hope to his captive television audience, and even peddling misinformation that often contradicts the actual experts standing frankly too close to him for social distancing purposes.

The MSNBC host then went back to complaining that the media are being too nice to President Trump: "And, in response, the media has fallen right back on this tick of seemingly needing to normalize Trump's behavior. And we're seeing this even when journalists and media organizations are simultaneously calling out his dishonesty."

After a while, the segment was interrupted by Governor Cuomo's daily briefing on the pandemic, and the show picked up again toward the end of the hour with the same group of liberal guests, including Simpson. Host Reid then played and contrasted soundbites of Governor Cuomo sounding more optimistic about the near future, but Surgeon General Jerome Powell evoking a more negative tone about the likely death toll in the upcoming week.

Reid then hinted that it was the Trump administration that was being too pessimistic while praising Cuomo for being more positive. The MSNBC host posed:

REID: If, tomorrow morning, you were anchoring the nightly news, and you had these two contrasting soundbites -- the governor of the hardest-hit state saying we are turning the corner, and the surgeon general of the United States saying tomorrow will be Pearl Harbor -- how in the world do you cover that?

The former ABC journalist -- and also former presidential debate moderator -- not only declared her support for Governor Cuomo, but went along with Reid's premise that the Trump administration is being too negative and not comforting enough:

CAROLE SIMPSON: Well, I have to admit that I am a fan of Andrew Cuomo, and wish very much that he were President of the United States now running a national battle against this virus. … he talks to us -- he talks to the people. He tells you about cabin fever. I don't think Trump has any idea of what ordinary people are going through and what they feel. And Cuomo clearly does, and he just makes you feel better. I mean, even though things are awful, he makes you feel better, and Trump makes me feel scared because I don't know that he has a plan.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Sunday, April 6, AM Joy on MSNBC:

11:00 a.m. Eastern

JOY REID: The media is still quick to praise Donald Trump when he exhibits even a hint of normal behavior. The reality is, Trump's handling of the pandemic has been anything but normal. He brought back the daily press briefings which frankly the press had been hungry for. But, instead of characters like Sean Spicer or Sarah Huckabee Sanders, it's Trump himself who's serving as his own communications director. And, true to his reality show form, he's turned the daily briefings into a TV show. He even brags about the ratings.

And during this daily reality show, he uses reporters as antagonists, or what NYU media expert Jay Rosen calls "hate objects," to delight his conservative base, berating journalists for asking perfectly reasonable questions and doling out false hope to his captive television audience, and even peddling misinformation that often contradicts the actual experts standing frankly too close to him for social distancing purposes.

And, in response, the media has fallen right back on this tick of seemingly needing to normalize Trump's behavior. And we're seeing this even when journalists and media organizations are simultaneously calling out his dishonesty.

(…)

11:55 a.m. Eastern

REID: Carole Simpson, I'm going to give you the last word on all this. If, tomorrow morning, you were anchoring the nightly news, and you had these two contrasting soundbites -- the governor of the hardest-hit state saying we are turning the corner, and the surgeon general of the United States saying tomorrow will be Pearl Harbor -- how in the world do you cover that?

CAROLE SIMPSON, FORMER ABC NEWS ANCHOR (after laughing): Well, I have to admit that I am a fan of Andrew Cuomo, and wish very much that he were President of the United States now running a national battle against this virus.

REID (laughing): I mean, kind of, isn't he? I mean, isn't he actually? I mean, in a way, he is President.

SIMPSON: Well, he's just -- he talks to us -- he talks to the people. He tells you about cabin fever. I don't think Trump has any idea of what ordinary people are going through and what they feel. And Cuomo clearly does, and he just makes you feel better. I mean, even though things are awful, he makes you feel better, and Trump makes me feel scared because I don't know that he has a plan. What is he going to do about this stuff? Where are we going? I just -- I don't know what to say -- it's so depressing.

REID: Yeah, no, I hear you, and it's always such an honor to talk with you.

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