Chris Cuomo maintains he isn't surprised by sharp reaction to his Amanda Knox interview.
Now with CNN -- where he will be a host of the weekday-morning program "New Day" starting Monday, June 10 -- the former ABC correspondent and co-anchor of "20/20" questioned the murder-accused Knox on matters including her intimate relations in a special televised Tuesday (May 7). Since then, variations on the phrase "sexual harassment" have informed a number of critiques of the interview.
"Amanda Knox creates a lot of controversy," Cuomo reasons to Zap2it. "The case has since it started. That's why it's covered so much, and that's why it sells books." Indeed, Knox has written her own ("Waiting to Be Heard"), published on the day she also gave an extended interview to former Cuomo colleague Diane Sawyer in an ABC primetime hour.
"People have a lot of strong opinions" about the Knox story, reflects Cuomo, "and in this business, you don't get involved in a controversial thing if you're not ready for that controversy to become part of your work and a reflection of you. That's just the nature of the beast, and this is a very volatile story.
"Every interview is a balance between your responsibility to get the answers out of the subject that are relevant, and the tone and the intention of the interview," adds the brother of New York's current governor ( Andrew) and son of a previous one ( Mario). "Certainly, I had no intention at all to harass Amanda Knox, and she thanked me at the end of the interview. And that's enough for me."
The CNN special encompassed moments of Knox unfiltered, with silent stretches as she considered and measured her responses to queries from Cuomo.
"It is a little ironic," he says, "that some of what is fueling the reaction is a selectively edited clip of the interview. I very purposely did not edit a lot of this conversation that I could have. That said, this story creates a lot of energy. I know that, and I had a responsibility to go into these areas.
"Remember, she lost four years of her life to these allegations; they were a huge part of the case. And remember, a young woman ( Meredith Kercher) lost her life in this situation, also fueling the responsibility to get to the heart of these matters. I take that responsibility very seriously."
Photo/Video credit: CNN