A Monday report in the Washington Post states that CNN anchor Chris Cuomo continues to confer with his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, amid growing sexual harassment allegations.
“[Andrew] Cuomo, who is ensconced in the governor’s mansion in Albany and has not been coming to the office, is left with few advisers. Rich Azzopardi, his longtime spokesman, has said he plans to stay in his post,” the report says. “The governor also continues to confer with longtime adviser Charlie King, a lobbyist at the public strategy firm Mercury, as well as his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, according to people familiar with the situation.”
The report gives only limited details about Chris’ involvement, but any consultation between Chris Cuomo and his brother would further raise questions about his role as a journalist at CNN. In May, Cuomo acknowledged that advising his brother was “inappropriate” and wouldn’t happen again.
WAPO just reported that @CNN’s Chris Cuomo is continuing to advise his brother.
— Dell Cameron (@dellcam) August 9, 2021
Keep in mind that CNN discussed putting Chris Cuomo on a temporary leave last spring so that he could advise his brother without the appearance of impropriety. Cuomo, however, declined that option and said he would no longer consult with his brother.
CNN’s conundrum isn’t going away. Earlier this week, the Washington Post called for CNN to suspend Chris Cuomo for a significant period:
“On Monday evening, Chris Cuomo won’t be on the air as he starts a supposedly long-planned vacation. It should be turned into — at least — an unpaid suspension of significant length,” columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote in response to Chris Cuomo aiding his brother.
“CNN should be transparent with its viewers that its anchor acted unethically and that the network won’t countenance it,” Sullivan goes on. “For the network with dozens of bureaus around the world and some 4,000 employees, it’s a cop-out.”
While both sides of the media bashed CNN’s handling of Chris Cuomo last week, the Washington Post is the first blue-chip outlet to definitively call for Cuomo’s suspension. To CNN and media companies alike, the Washington Post and New York Times remain incredibly influential. Undoubtedly, the Post just increased the pressure on CNN to punish Chris Cuomo.
I discussed Chris Cuomo and CNN at length last week in a column that also questions Cuomo’s long-term future at the network. I expect CNN’s dilemma with its top-rated host to worsen. If the New York State Assembly impeaches Gov. Cuomo, how can CNN ignore a story of that significance at 9 pm, the hour in which Cuomo hosts his show?
The truth is, CNN doesn’t have a good option, any route it takes is negative. CNN will not fire Chris Cuomo, but ignoring the situation has proven to be tremendously negative.
CNN has not responded to the Monday report that alleges that Cuomo continues to confer with his brother. However, the network released the following statement last May, which acknowledges that Cuomo aided his brother in response to sexual harassment allegations:
“[I]t was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”
Hmm, it seems like he’s still participating.