Accuracy in Media

Chris Cuomo appears to be coming around on President Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the southern border, much to the chagrin of his colleagues at CNN.

He hinted at it at the close of his show last Tuesday but got explicit about it the day before in one exchange with Don Lemon and repeated his support for aspects of the president’s proposal in yet another exchange with Lemon later in the week.

His show last Tuesday closed with a 5-minute monologue Cuomo set up as a “farce v. fact” comparison, in which he said Trump is not just fighting to keep his campaign promises but is seeking to appease “the farthest right, most anti-immigrant people in the game.”

The talk of bollards rather than a concrete wall was Trump “knowing what he’s talking about now” and “adjusting his ruse to reality.”

“But also be aware of an important fact. Do the people who keep us safe want bollard fencing … these steel barriers? Yes they do. Do they believe we will be safer if we have them? Yes. But they’ve never told me it’s a panacea. Not even close.”

Trump “only talks about that wall as a cure-all, a panacea, to hold back the brown menace that he wants you to believe in. Like we’re living in some bizarre Game of Thrones drama, except the walkers are brown, not white.”

Cuomo, who attended a lunch at the White House for newsmakers on the day of Trump’s speech, then closed by saying “Barriers matter. They always have … that’s why they have them. They’ve been built and changed for years. If you want more, fine, it’s probably a sound judgment. But we’re not a wall away. And if you say we are, you lose for sure. You need to address the system.”

But the previous night, as Cuomo handed off to Lemon to start Lemon’s show, Lemon suggested networks show the president’s speech on delay so as to correct any misleading statements before voters came to believe them.

“The president will say what he has to say,” Lemon said. “People will believe it whether the facts are true or not. And then by the time the rebuttals come on we’ve already promoted propaganda possibly unless he gets up there and tells the truth.”

Cuomo responded. “Wanting barriers along the border is not propaganda. It’s not immoral. It’s not wrong.” Lemon replied “the facts around” the border wall are wrong, but a border barrier could be part of the larger solution.

Then, after the president’s speech last Tuesday, Cuomo again defended the wall.

After Dana Bash attempted, without evidence, to debunk the talking point that Democrats have steadfastly refused to fund border security, Cuomo interrupted.

“Let’s just get something straight for the audience right now because this is one of those things that’s literally been bothering me – almost ruined my vacation,” Cuomo said. “There is a barrier system all along the southern border. They need more.”

As James O’Keefe of Project Veritas demonstrated when he repeatedly crossed the Rio Grande River into the United States wearing an Osama bin Laden disguise, this is not true. And, as John King pointed out on Cuomo’s panel, the president even now is asking to add only 235 miles of border fencing on a 1,200-mile border.

But Cuomo again pressed his case that border fencing would help but not solve the entire problem. “Anybody who does the reporting, anybody who talks to the people down there doing the work – the men and women – they need more of what the president is increasingly describing as his own idea for a bollard fence.”

When Gloria Borger chimed in during the panel discussion that Democrats argue a wall is not necessary because technology would be a better way to attack the problem, Cuomo responded: “But is that true? Who says that a barrier wall isn’t helpful?”

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