Back in May, when news first broke that CNN’s Chris Cuomo had participated in strategy calls with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Prime Time host defended himself by claiming: “This is a unique and difficult situation, and that’s okay. I know where the line is.” But the younger Cuomo’s utter flouting of journalistic ethics began well before this most recent scandal, when he first started promoting and praising his brother's political fortunes on CNN's airwaves.
Cuomo’s ridiculous televised interviews with his older brother were enough to destroy his credibility as a journalist before this latest scandal even broke:
Back during June of 2020, during one such farcical exchange, the Cuomo Prime Time host sounded like a campaign advertisement:
I’m wowed by what you did, and more importantly, I’m wowed by how you did it. This was very hard. I know it’s not over. But obviously I love you as a brother, obviously I’ll never be objective, obviously I think you’re the best politician in the country.
Later in the same show, he defended his sibling's pandemic response: “Was it perfect? No. But you tell me what is.”
In February of 2021, CNN admitted that Cuomo’s interviews with his brother violated the network’s own rules:
We felt that Chris speaking with his brother about the challenges of what millions of American families were struggling with was of significant human interest. As a result, we made an exception to a rule that we have had in place since 2013 which prevents Chris from interviewing his brother, and that rule remains in place today.
In truth, the network actually made several exceptions, each more questionable than the last. During the slew of “human interest” interviews featuring the disgraced duo, Chris Cuomo played around with giant cotton swabs, hounded his brother at length about considering a bid for the presidency, and discussed the Governor’s sex appeal — at one point describing hm as “single and ready to mingle.”
But the revelation that Cuomo actively advised his brother on how to combat a slew of sexual harassment allegations was too much even for some of his colleagues at CNN to stomach. According to The Washington Post, one employee of the network called Cuomo’s decision “really upsetting.”
An on-air reporter confided in the Post that behind the scenes at CNN, there was a “general sense of frustration” with his behavior, adding: “I don’t think anyone was surprised they spoke about this, given they are family, but calls with lawyers and staff… wow.”
This is all getting a little bit too ridiculous, even for CNN. And that’s saying something.