After being labeled a purveyor of “fake news” by President Donald Trump in a tweet on Thursday, Cuomo appeared on SiriusXM radio, and compared the label to racial slurs.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
"I see being called ‘fake news’ as the equivalent of the n-word for journalists, the equivalent of calling an Italian any of the ugly words that people have for that ethnicity. That’s what fake news is to a journalist. It is an ugly insult, and you’d better be right if you’re going to charge a journalist with lying on purpose,” Cuomo told host Michael Smerconish.
"It's like an ethnic disparagement," Cuomo added. "We all have these ugly words for people, that's the one for journalists.”
Cuomo’s assertion was met with a sharp backlash online over the comparison.
“White people, seriously. It’s Black History Month for Christ’s sake. I can’t say this plainly enough: Please, pretty please with Frederick Douglass on top, stop equating the struggle that black people have gone through to any first-world problems you’re having,” Stephen A. Crockett Jr. wrote for the Root. “Your struggle, no matter how intense, is nothing like ours.”
Nearly immediately after his comments began to go viral, the CNN pundit took to Twitter to apologize.
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) February 9, 2017
"I was wrong. Calling a journalist fake (is) nothing compared to the pain of a racial slur. I should not have said it. I apologize,” he tweeted.
Smerconish also took to Twitter to defend his guest, writing, “re: @ChrisCuomo interview — I know what he was getting at –he had NO intention of minimizing pain of racial slur.”
Trump has repeatedly referred to CNN and their reporters, as well as several other media organizations, as “fake news,” over coverage of his presidency.