Cuomo Prime Time is a return of the evening show with Chris Cuomo featuring his very effective One on One format of extended interviews with key influencers. In this segment, guest Sarah Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, discusses a variety of issues.

Commentary

There’s been substantial tension between the current White House administration and national news media, in particular CNN. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has been the target of much criticism, so this one-on-one CNN interview with Sanders is unexpected. The invitation to be on the show seems to be an effort on the part of CNN to help repair the strained relationship.

In the first 7 minutes of this interview, Cuomo pressures Sanders to clarify why she said the President didn’t dictate a letter that later the President’s lawyer said he did dictate. Cuomo was apparently hoping Sanders would offer one of two answers: (1) she had lied to the American people about the letter, (2) or she’d say that she’d been lied to and was just relaying what she’d been told. Sanders refused to address this question suggesting Cuomo direct questions to legal counsel. It’s obviously a difficult can of worms and rabbit hole she isn’t able to discuss further at this point. Cuomo could have conceded to this and let it go after 1 or 2 minutes, but didn’t which was unfortunate.

At 9m 48s into the interview, Sanders was asked the question that prompted her to accept the interview invitation, regarding positive accomplishments in the first 500 days of the President. At this point in the interview, Cuomo gives Sanders a chance to share some of the talking points she was hoping to focus on.

The issue of media bias was discussed to which Sanders stated, “When I can read a news story and I have no idea what side the reporter is on, that’s a good story.”

A similar interview between Chris Cuomo and Anthony Scaramucci on 5 June 2018 suggests that there may be a concerted effort on the part of mainstream news media to regain public trust by demonstrating a more balanced presentation of news. These interviews are a win-win for all involved: news media, White House, and the public — by helping to restore civility and showing a willingness to listen to another perspective.