Addiction– Philip Seymour Hoffman

I’m not looking for a “here’s what I think of Dennis Rodman” session here but The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman for me is about respect for his family and their loss, of course, but also, and equally important, is to flesh out the disease of addiction and its effects on anybody that encounters. My interest in bringing out the issue of addiction is a disease is a big part of why I wanted to interview Dennis Rodman again. I know there’s controversy surrounding him and basically everything about his life including trips to North Korea. But it is his battle with addiction that I believed could bring us some fruitful discussion and a cautionary message to all those looking on
Addiction is a disease just like cancer. It is not simply about choice and behavior and being responsible. Maybe in the beginning, addiction is about choices that we make in dealing with different types of stresses. However once any drug takes hold, the idea of the behavior being volitional is naïve to the point of being foolish. The data suggests otherwise, the experts know otherwise, and we should be smart enough by now to get out of the delusion that addiction is just behavior and not illness.
So I look for any opportunity to tell stories that_the insidious nature of addiction, the damage it can do to individuals and families by extension, and the ways that it can be treated, just like any other disease. But make no mistake, addiction is an illness, not merely a weakness, and it can be fatal. This last part… This reality… We’ve seen all too often. My respect to Phillip. Seymour Hoffman’s family. May he rest in peace

On Gov. Chris Christie

On Gov. Chris Christie… I think there is a legitimate question about the people he chose to have close to him, and the type of management style he used and tactics that he explicitly or implicitly condoned with respect to those same people. In this way, there is a basis for criticism, that needs no further proof beyond what we know already. They were playing a dirty version of the game there, even for politics. And if the Gov wants to move to the next level, you must trust whom he puts around him in power.
However, of all the allegations we’ve heard, the one involving his AG taking an indictment away from local prosecutors is most troubling. There are credible people complaining and a record that demands explanation. Look for yourself. You dont hear as much about it because it is a little complicated, but it goes to the heart of the integrity of government, raising concerns about allowing politics to corrupt justice.
The other political allegations about the bridge and sandy funds are as yet not proven to any significant degree. You certainly need more proof to make the more serious connection between the governor and the architecture of this dirty game.
Many of you say, “come on, Chris, you know that he had to know”. I don’t know that, and neither do you. It’s an assumption. So we have to wait and see what else, if anything, comes out. And the stakes are too high now to play the assumption game as if it were just the typical politics of deception.

This takes me to my next point. I keep getting asked how cable is different from my experience at ABC News and 20/20, etc. There are many differences. The biggest is that I now know that there is a cable game afoot. For example, there is a network dedicated to the business of pushing the Christie investigation as aggressively as possible. There is another cable network that is in the business of distracting from the Christie investigation as aggressively as possible. Here’s my greater concern: many of you are buying into one side or the other and taking on the seriousness of the presenters feeding you their take. Know this: this tension is now part of the business model for them; it is how they get ratings. For you, it is not business; it is personal. This is your government. Your future. Your job, etc.
Now, I am not saying the people on the cables don’t believe what they say… or that there is some type of disingenuousness. That’s not my point. There are a lot of good people working very hard at the proxy cables (as in proxies for the left and the right), just like at CNN. However, the fight between left and right has become a franchise and they are both in the business of exploiting it whenever they can.
But, again, my concern is that many get caught up in the game and lose sight of what is spin and what is fact. Again the problem with this is that it isn’t a business or a game…these fights and issues matter beyond the blame game; they demand action from our leaders…action that is hard to come by in part because of the success of luring you all into the game so you get more into who is winning than the fact that the longer and more intensely the game is played, the more you lose through the continued division and inaction.
The game ain’t going away…and maybe it shouldn’t to a certain extent, but there is a real need for a REFEREE just like with any game (or cage fight – may be a better metaphor).
I find myself in that role more and more often.
As many of you know I worked at ABC for many years. I also worked at Fox News. I loved the people in both places, though ABC was my home for much longer and those folks are family to me still.
I was also raised a Cuomo, as in Mario and Andrew, the democrat governors (though my mom, Matilda and my 3 sisters are the real stars in the family). This upbringing didn’t inculcate me with political positions as much as it gave me a disposition: I know the game from the inside. I know it well. Better than most. And I don’t like it.
A big reason or my dislike is that I was raised to respect public service…to see it as a privilege … And that is one reason the toxicity of the current state of play is so wrong in my eyes. It bothers me that more of you see value in a comedian mocking politics than in the process itself.
We need these politicians working for us and doing better and we need it now. Making fun has its place but it is not the ultimate value.
I want to help make politicians do their jobs better lby exposing the game and forcing both sides to play fairly and saying when one side is wrong but also when they are right. Ask yourself how often you hear the other side regarded with anything other than contempt on the cables. We have to do better. That’s the challenge that makes me enjoy the job I am doing in particular.