CNN finally comes for Chris Cuomo

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CNN suspended anchor Chris Cuomo indefinitely on Tuesday night after documents released by the New York attorney general’s office revealed the extent to which he tried to assist his brother, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), in fending off sexual harassment allegations.

“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense,” CNN said in a statement Tuesday evening, adding: “The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second.”

Part of Chris putting his family first seems to have involved trying to keep tabs on credible accusers of sexual harassment against his brother, who resigned in disgrace earlier this year. What it almost certainly involved was taking part in strategy discussions with the governor’s team about how to handle the cascade of allegations and tapping his media contacts in order to keep tabs on reporters chasing stories about his brother.

Nowhere in its statement does CNN apologize to its viewers, much less the accusers; it expresses sympathy only for the anchor. 

Here’s one text from Chris Cuomo to top Andrew Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa: “I have a lead on the wedding girl,” an apparent reference to Anna Ruch, who alleges that the governor sexually harassed her at a wedding reception in 2019. 

In another text message exchange, DeRosa wrote to Chris: “Rumor going around from Politico 1-2 more ppl coming out tomorrow. Can u check your sources?”

“On it,” Cuomo replied, before later adding, “No one has heard that yet.” 

CNN heavily promoted Chris Cuomo’s interviews with his brother, whom the media crowned as the most competent and heroic leader in the early days of the pandemic:

New York Times: “Andrew Cuomo Is the Control Freak We Need Right Now”

Vogue: “Why We Are Crushing on Andrew Cuomo Right Now”

Vanity Fair: “Dear Andrew Cuomo, I want to be your First Lady”

Washington Post: “No one does it like Andrew Cuomo”

 

 

During that spring, Chris served as his brother’s top media cheerleader, and much of the rest of the media ate it up. The governor’s approval rating skyrocketed as their extended on-air conversations went viral. The governor went on to sign a multimillion-dollar book deal for “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” 

And over the course of more than ten of those Cuomo-on-Cuomo interviews starting in March 2020, Gov. Cuomo’s nursing home scandal didn’t seem to be of any interest to his anchor-brother, despite growing evidence at the time of a massive cover up. 

When the going was good, “Keeping up with the Cuomos” was difficult to avoid. But in March 2021, as the nursing home coverup and sexual harassment accusers began to come forward, the network announced that Chris would no longer be allowed to cover – or even discuss – these huge national stories. How utterly convenient. 

As November turns to December, it’s hard to see how the 9 p.m. anchor returns, given this overwhelming evidence of journalistic malfeasance. Many media members are calling for his outright firing.

 

 

For a network that has lost three-quarters of its audience since the beginning of the year, things may continue to get worse before they get better. If they get better. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill and a Fox News contributor

Tags Andrew Cuomo Andrew Cuomo sexual harassment allegations Chris Cuomo CNN Cuomo family Melissa DeRosa New York COVID-19 nursing home scandal

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