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Tim Murtaugh calls out CNN's Chris Cuomo for 'Q-Tip' comedy act with brother during fiery spat on coronavirus

Joe Concha reacts to CNN’s Chris Cuomo praising brother on NY COVID-19 response

CNN’s Chris Cuomo receives backlash for declaring brother, Andrew Cuomo, is ‘best politician in the country’ on his show; Joe Concha, media reporter for The Hill, weighs in.

The gloves came off between Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo in a brawl about the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo kicked off the interview by bringing up the new COVID-19 case increase in the U.S. Murtaugh said President Trump has been tackling the coronavirus "head-on," citing the China travel ban and advancements in treatments and vaccines. 

Cuomo responded by touting what he presented as Joe Biden's plans to tackle the virus and attacked Trump for his inaction early on. 

Murtaugh then invoked Cuomo's own brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  He pointed out how the governor credited the Trump administration for providing his state with "everything they needed."  Cuomo denied the claim. 

"No. He said, 'I went to the federal government. They helped me with things. They did not help with everything. They're still not helping,'" Cuomo claimed. 

The Trump campaign spokesman then accused the "Cuomo Prime Time" host of asking "self-righteous questions and talking about people taking it seriously."

"Does this look like a couple of guys who were taking it seriously?" Murtaugh asked, holding a printed screenshot of Cuomo's Q-Tip exchange with his brother back in May. "You had your brother on for the Cuomo Brothers Comedy Hour, joking about the size of the Q-Tip that you would need for his nose to take the test."

"Yeah, I did. It was funny as hell," Cuomo defended his comedy bit. "Now, you took your swing. It missed. So now let's discuss. Is that all you got? That my brother didn't take Covid seriously? Are you kidding yourself? That I made fun with him at a time of such acute distress?"

Cuomo then defended his brother from the ongoing nursing home controversy, insisting that he "never sent any" COVID-positive patients into such facilities, and took a shot at Murtaugh for "refusing to talk about the president" and instead focusing on the New York governor because he was "coming from a place of weakness." He also told Murtaugh he had "every right to feel righteous."

Murtaugh accused CNN of using the coronavirus as a "political weapon" and told Cuomo he was "advocating for a complete and total shutdown," something Cuomo denied. 

"This is not an interview, Chris. This is a lecture," Murtaugh quipped. 

"I'm not trying to lecture. I'm trying to rebut what you put out there," Cuomo shot back. "You're the one who lectured me with the picture of my brother and I, which was very funny, a time when our country was hurting."

"I didn't think it was that funny," Murtaugh said. 

"Oh, I don't know if you're a good judge of humor because you think what the president is saying at these rallies is funny," Cuomo said.

As Cuomo went on a tirade denouncing the Trump rallies as potential superspreaders, Murtaugh then asked the CNN anchor if he was all about "guideline following."

FLASHBACK: CNN HOST CHRIS CUOMO'S CORONAVIRUS QUARANTINE TIMELINE SCRUTINIZED

"Why did you get reprimanded by your own apartment building?" Murtaugh asked, referring to the letter he received for not wearing a mask around his building. 

"Because I did the wrong thing," a visibly-frustrated Cuomo quickly responded. "Why won't the president adjust his messaging?"

Murtaugh then invoked Cuomo's incident where he allegedly confronted a cyclist who saw him outside his home while he was recovering from the coronavirus. Cuomo denied to Murtaugh he ever broke quarantine.  

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"You came home and you pretended to rise up from your basement like Lazarus even though you had already broken quarantine while you were Covid-positive," Murtaugh said.

"If you want to mock my getting sick, you can," Cuomo said. "You want me to be the story, you want my brother to be the story because you can't handle Trump. The numbers were supposed to disappear!"

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Rep. Paul Gosar calls for defunding NPR over lack of Hunter Biden laptop coverage

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Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., called for defunding National Public Radio after the outlet said it would not cover the Hunter Biden laptop story because it was a waste of time.

“We don’t want to waste our time on stories that aren’t really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listener’s and reader’s time on stories that are pure distractions,” NPR’s Office of the Public Editor wrote in a statement. 

“It’s time to defund @NPR. This is appalling. #DefundNPR,” Gosar wrote on Twitter, joining a chorus of voices calling for the radio to lose its public funding. 

“Defund NPR,” the House Judiciary GOP tweeted. 

NPR public editor Kelly McBride published an inquiry on the radio's website on Thursday from a listener who didn’t understand why the story has been ignored.  

“Someone please explain why NPR has apparently not reported on the Joe Biden, Hunter Biden story in the last week or so that Joe did know about Hunter's business connections in Europe that Joe had previously denied having knowledge?” listener Carolyn Abbott asked.

McBride said there are “many, many red flags” with the story, then suggested Russia might be at hand in the story.

RATCLIFFE SAYS HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP, EMAILS 'NOT PART OF SOME RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN'

“Intelligence officials warn that Russia has been working overtime to keep the story of Hunter Biden in the spotlight,” NPR continued. “Even if Russia can’t be positively connected to this information, the story of how Trump associates Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani came into a copy of this computer hard drive has not been verified and seems suspect.”

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Monday said that Hunter Biden’s laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign."

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Senate Republicans are investigating Hunter Biden’s emails which reveal that he allegedly introduced his father, the former vice president, to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015, among other allegations. 

Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report. 

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Trump calls NBC's Kristen Welker 'terrible and unfair' before she moderates next debate

Trump, Biden hold competing town hall events in lieu of debate

Fox News media analyst and host of ‘Media Buzz’ Howard Kurtz breaks it all down on ‘Fox News @ Night.’

President Trump let everyone know just how he perceives NBC News' Kristen Welker – the scheduled moderator for the upcoming presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn. — calling her “terrible and unfair” Saturday in a pre-debate offensive attack.

“She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game. The people know! How’s Steve Scully doing?” Trump tweeted along with a retweet from son Donald Trump Jr., linking Welker and her family to prominent Democrats.

Welker’s family has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats over the years and Welker and her family spent Christmas at the White House with the Obamas in 2012.

Trump’s Steve Scully comment was a reference to a C-SPAN journalist who was suspended, allegedly for lying about his Twitter account being hacked before he was set to moderate a scheduled Oct. 15 debate between Trump and Biden in Miami that was ultimately canceled.

Scully had sent out a tweet that some critics saw as biased against Trump over whether Scully should respond to the president's criticisms of him. 

Prior to joining C-SPAN, Scully's jobs included being an intern for Biden and working for the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Welker briefly deactivated her Twitter account after Scully claimed he had been hacked. 

Trump frequently takes issue with interviewers and moderators, including Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who moderated the first debate Sept. 29 in Cleveland, and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, the moderator for Trumps’ town hall that aired in place of the canceled Miami debate.

The president accused both of them of being unfair to him.

“Anyone who’s ever dealt with Welker knows she’s an activist, not a reporter," a senior White House official told the New York Post. 

Trump 2020 senior adviser Jason Miller, conversely, told “The Story” host Martha McCollum last week that he thought Welker would do an “excellent job.”

“I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker,” he said. “I think she's going to do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate. I think she's a journalist who’s very fair in her approach and I think that she'll be a very good choice for this third debate."

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Carsales boss calls for technology focus to drive COVID recovery

Carsales Australia boss Ajay Bhatia says Australia should boost its focus and investment in the technology sector, making it one of four or five pillar industries for special attention to diversify the economy and turbocharge the recovery from the damaging COVID-19 recession.

Technology delivers crucial economic benefits such as productivity and high skilled, high paid jobs, Mr Bhatia said.

Carsales Australia boss Ajay Bhatia says more investment in technology could help accelerate Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 recession.Credit:

"Every time we have a recession everywhere in the world we talk about let's invest in roads, let's invest in more construction. The modern infrastructure is not roads, it's digital infrastructure," he said.

Carsales, which runs online vehicle classified sites in Australia and overseas, is a local tech success story, with its stock price of $22.13 at Friday's close near all-time highs, for a market capitalisation of $5.5 billion.

"We've got to think about how do we invest over the next two years so when we come out of this we're not so dependent on just population growth and mining and agriculture. And we're a much more diversified economy. The tech business in my view is one of those ways to do that," he told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Some of these (US tech) companies, Amazon, Facebook, they're larger than (national) economies. And why can't we produce some of these companies. Well I think there's hope here, because we have produced an Atlassian…we have produced a Carsales," he said.

Mr Bhatia said the recession had underscored the need for businesses to go online to reach customers and keep trading, adding that far too many weren't online.

More support was needed to get small businesses online, adding that they should assume COVID-19 could affect their operations for years.

"I feel we have to live with this COVID impact on the economy for the next couple of years at a bare minimum, no matter what anyone says," he said.

"Even if the vaccine's there, it takes time to implement…in that scenario we've got to start thinking about how do we trade as business in a COVID-friendly manner," he said.

"If we were able to give these small businesses grants to go online…whichever way is the best way to help them get online and to be able to trade online, I think that's the best gift we can give them," he said.

I think technology can really super-charge the recovery.

Small business ombudsman Kate Carnell said research showed 40 per cent of Australian small businesses don’t have a website.

"There's 2.3 million trading businesses in Australia, about 2.2 million of those are small to medium businesses, so they're by far the majority of businesses in Australia and 40 per cent of them don’t even have a website," she said.

"Small businesses that are digitised are much more likely to grow and to employ, and in fact the sorts of figures are 30 per cent more likely to be growing and employing than those businesses that aren't. And the more digitised they are…they are significantly more likely to be more profitable. So it actually delivers growth, staff and profit," she said.

"I think technology can really super-charge the recovery," said Larry Diamond, co-founder and chief executive of the buy now, pay later provider Zip.

"What's been really interesting is that those businesses that have been more technology-enabled have been able to adapt really quickly and have seen extraordinary growth, while there have been a lot of industries that have really struggled," he said.

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