Yesterday was an absolute bombshell of a day for CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who has been lying since day one about his brother’s job as Governor of New York.
It Cuomo Prime Time anchor repeatedly had his brother on the air at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in New York and yucked it up with some friendly brother-versus-brother banter all while Andrew, the Governor, was sending COVID-19 patients into nursing homes and (allegedly) sexually harassing women left and right.
Then it came out that the anchor was actually part of his brother’s PR team. His role was denied by him, stating that he had listened to the broadcast and provided advice. He refused to talk further about the matter.
We are now back in yesterday’s past, when leaked text confirmed our suspicions: Chris Cuomo had been lying to us about his involvement.
A text exchange takes place between @ChrisCuomo and top Andrew Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, the CNN host asks to “please let me help with the prep” of his older brother’s sexual harassment defense and helps devise a PR strategy. pic.twitter.com/XnQ3W2axWE
— Josefa Velásquez (@J__Velasquez) November 29, 2021
His involvement in the scandal was not limited to this. You can read more about it here.
These texts came out as part of New York attorney general Letitia James’s investigation of Andrew Cuomo, and they paint a very disturbing picture: A media-embedded Chris Cuomo used his sources and contacts to help his big brother’s team find out who the accusers are so they could go after them.
Chris Cuomo is still relatively unharmed from the scandal, but documents that were released Monday reveal that he was more involved in the advice of his brother than he previously acknowledged. The primetime anchor, who was accused this year of making unwanted sexual advances against an ABC News executive in 2005, claims he encouraged his brother to apologize to his accusers. Cuomo also denies trying to discredit any of the governor’s accusers, though his exchange with DeRosa may call that claim into question.
Cuomo told DeRosa in a message on March 4 he had a “lead on the wedding girl,” a reference to Anna Ruch. Ruch told the New York Times on March 1 that Cuomo touched her inappropriately and asked to kiss her during a wedding reception in 2019. When asked about the text messages at a deposition on July 15, Chris Cuomo testified he had heard from a friend that Ruch accused Andrew Cuomo of wrongdoing because “she had been put up to it.” Cuomo said he did not pursue the matter further after speaking with DeRosa, who said Ruch had complained about the incident soon after it happened.
Two issues are at stake here. First, the cover-up and attempt to obtain dirt on Andrew Cuomo’s accusers. It is certain that this issue has been the focal point of much of the media coverage. However, the second issue at play is a wider condemnation of the modern media as a whole, one which did very little to shine a light on just how corrupt and unethical the CNN personality’s coverage of his brother was.
The problem at CNN isn’t just Cuomo. While his behavior is unacceptable, the problem at CNN runs deeper.
This isn’t a “the media has a Democrat bias” issue. It’s a leadership problem. It’s a Jeff Zucker problem. When he arrived at CNN, he brought an entertainment-focused focus (remember Lisa Ling’s hiring of Mike Rowe and Anthony Bourdain?), pulling in stars who could expand CNN’s audience. However, the focus on entertainment was too much. While the network may have its own biases and a few people are not able to be moved into prime slots, it is not the right thing to do when you’re focusing on news. If you’re looking to bring in large crowds, this is what you do.
Between Zucker forcing a paradigm shift at CNN and the power of advertising creeping in and pushing the network’s corporate leaders further away from the mission of the network, there was never a chance that journalism would win out.
Chris Cuomo absolutely shouldn’t have a job right now. CNN appears to be finally realizing this. But the damage is already done. CNN has struggled to reach a million people as a network. CNN’s prime-time programs are far behind. The network has lost so much trust in media. Its brand was built on trust in news. CNN is complicit in the absolute journalistic farce that is Chris Cuomo’s journalism failure, if not in Andrew Cuomo’s cover-up.
It is amazing that Chris Cuomo has not lost his job, but it’s also completely expected. I still don’t quite buy the idea that he’s going to be fired. I pray that I’m wrong on that, but at this point, nothing the executives of that network have done inspires much confidence that they can right the ship.