Loyalty to his family, spying on colleagues and lies to CNN: Chris Cuomo on the ropes

Journalist Chris Cuomo spoke during his primetime show about the harassment allegations against his brother, Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York (CNN)

There is the family and your work as a journalist. The will of Chris cuomo of putting the latter at risk in the service of his brother has led to his suspension by the CNN. The network took it off the air on Tuesday, saying that material released by the attorney general of New York shows that he played a more important role than previously recognized in defending his brother, the former governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, while battling allegations of sexual harassment.

E-mail transcripts and testimony from Chris cuomo before state investigators reveal that regularly strategized with aides to the governor and I tried to help them learn what other journalists were reporting on allegations of harassment.

CNN he said he was more involved than his executives – and not just the general public – had realized. “As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending a new evaluation.”Said a spokesperson.

Neither Cuomo nor the lawyer who represented him in his testimony before the investigators of the state attorney general, Letitia james, they returned messages seeking comment.

CNN's Chris Cuomo during a televised townhall with 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Reuters)
CNN’s Chris Cuomo during a televised townhall with 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Reuters) (MIKE BLAKE /)

The Cuomo are part of a New York political dynasty that began with his father, Mario, who was governor for three terms, from 1982 to 1996. Andrew He was in his third term before resigning earlier this year, and he was burning to beat his father’s record.

Andrew was his father’s most trusted aide and protector during the first campaign of Mario and the first years as governor, an example of loyalty with which Chris He grew up despite the fact that, at 51, he is more than 13 years younger than his brother.

They are often described as best friends. “He is my brother and I love him to death no matter what happens“, said Chris cuomo in his testimony last July. “I only have one”.

Andrew Cuomo with his brother Chris Cuomo 1920 heading
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his brother, the ex? CNN presenter Chris Cuomo (Infobae)

Even so, they were fiercely competitive, he said. Michael Shnayerson, author of “The Contender”, An unauthorized biography of Andrew which was published in 2015.

Always, under mockery and machismo, there was a powerful bond: the Cuomos against the world“, said Shnayerson. “I can imagine it was too easy for Chris to let that link cloud his judgment when it came to reporting the news, and following leads on Andrew’s political enemies.”.

Throughout your testimony, Chris cuomo frequently returns to the family when asked to explain his frequent – often combative – contact with Andrew while trying to find a way to save the governor’s post.

It is about my brother, and I am trying to help my brother through a situation where he has told me that he did nothing wrong”, He testified Chris. “And that’s it for me. How can I help protect my family? How do I protect him? I probably should have given more thought to how I protect myself, which never occurred to me.”.

Research James he discovered that Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women. He resigned as governor in August to avoid likely impeachment.

The last time he spoke to his brother about the allegations, he said Chris cuomo During her testimony, it was to find out what was going to happen and what she would say to her 90-year-old mother. Cuomo has insisted that it has done nothing to try to influence the coverage of the CNN of his brother’s political troubles, and that it would be quickly discovered if he did.

Although people may understand that you want to help a relative, His main obligation as a journalist is with the viewers of the CNN, said Kathleen culver, director of Center for Journalistic Ethics at the University of Wisconsin. These disclosures can damage the reputation of the CNN, and of all journalists, at a time when people already distrust the profession, he said.

Journalists have to establish their independence from news creators. Cuomo he was not independent of his brother in any sense of the term, and that is a very, very big problem“, said Culver.

Chris cuomo
Suspended CNN star host Chris Cuomo in file photo (Grosby)

When The Washington Post reported for the first time last May that Cuomo he had strategized with his brother’s assistants, CNN He said it was inappropriate but did not discipline him.

When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we publicly acknowledged it“The CNN spokesman said Tuesday. “But we also appreciated the unique position she was in and understood her need to put family first and work second.”.

At the request of his brother’s helpers, Cuomo he also used his contacts to find out what other journalists were going to report, especially Ronan farrow, of the New Yorker. Cuomo said “the idea of ​​one reporter calling another to find out what is going to happen is totally common”.

For competitive reasons, journalists are often curious to know what their rivals are working onAlthough a phone call for that reason is likely to result in an angry hang-up.

In this case, Cuomo I was looking for “inside information that is valuable to your family member“, said Culver. “It is not internal information that serves the public. That’s what makes it extraordinary”.

The final decision of CNN about the future of Cuomo it is complicated, in part because it is striking how you have dealt with the matter in the past and your own efforts to investigate your activities. Cuomo stated that he did not tell anyone in CNN that he was contacting other journalists to find out about the article by Farrow.

Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after announcing his resignation from office on August 10, 2021 (AP Photo / Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig /)

His suspension from CNN is the right move, and something that should have happened sooner.“, said Ben bogardus, professor of journalism at the Quinnipiac University of Connecticut. “The longer it went on, the more credibility CNN lost”.

Cuomo Prime Time”Has had an average of 1.3 million viewers per night so far this year, according to the company Nielsen. Although its viewership is down a lot from the 2020 election year, as with many cable news shows, it is still the most-watched show on CNN and the output of Cuomo it would leave a big hole.

Its suspension makes some of the advice that Cuomo He told investigators that he gave his brother during the bullying scandal sound eerily as if it could apply to his own situation.

You have to tell the truth“, said Cuomo that he advised his brother. “You don’t have to be coaxed to tell the truth. You have to assume what is wrong. You have to apologize. And you have to tell people that you have learned from this”.

Whether or not he will have that opportunity is an open question.

(C) The Associated Press.-


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