CNN is facing mounting calls to fire its star host Chris Cuomo for breaching journalism standards by helping his brother Andrew respond to sexual harassment claims while ignoring the subject on air.
Chris’s show Prime Time with Chris Cuomo aired on Tuesday night at 9pm after round-the-clock coverage by every major news outlet about the report into his brother by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
He ignored the subject entirely.
Now, outraged viewers and media pundits are calling for his resignation or termination by CNN, saying it’s a clear conflict of interest that can no longer be ignored.
CNN did not respond to requests on Wednesday afternoon and it has offered no public statement on the issue.
The AG’s report named Chris, who makes $5million-a-year-at CNN, as one of his brother’s advisers and told how he’d helped Andrew write statements in response to the allegations of 11 women.
He wanted to make sure he sounded ‘contrite’ enough, according to the report.
Chris Cuomo is shown at a heliport in the Hamptons on Monday flying back to New York. The host – who is paid $5million a year by CNN – didn’t address the sex scandal engulfing his brother last night on air. Critics say it’s the cherry on top of unprofessional year of reporting and that Chris should be fired
Chris Cuomo has been slammed as unprofessional and unethical for his coverage of the scandal
Media pundits say his conduct has been unprofessional and that his generally inappropriate working relationship with his brother needs to come to an end.
‘The idea that it was fine for Chris Cuomo to ‘interview’ and ‘report on’ his brother-Governor when his brother was popular — but now cannot utter a word about his serious scandals — is obviously pitiful,’ said Glenn Greenwald.
‘CNN wallowed in unethical journalism and is now stuck in this corner.
‘If CNN, from the start, had just said: Chris Cuomo cannot objectively report on his brother and therefore will abstain and others will do it, that would have been fine.
‘Instead, they cheered as he heaped praise on his brother and touted him as a future President.’
Others have pointed to the fact that CNN VP of Communications, Allison Gollust, used to work for Governor Cuomo as his communications director.
She joined his team in 2013 after working with CNN President Jeff Zucker at NBC for 15 years.
Gollust only spent four months on the Governor’s team then went to CNN to reunite professionally with Zucker.
Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night was discussing COVID – and studiously ignoring the major news scrolling constantly beneath his screen. He didn’t mention the AG report – which he is named in – once
These text messages between Cuomo’s senior aides in February this year show how Chris Cuomo helped his brother draft statements to make sure they had ‘enough contrition’ when the allegations emerged. He was ignoring the subject on his own CNN show at the time
On Wednesday, FOX host Ari Fleisher pointed out Gollust’s role and said she is one of the reasons CNN protects the brothers.
‘Do you know who is in charge of communications at CNN? Governor Cuomo’s former communications director, Allison Gollust. She now runs the show.
‘She is the number two to Jeff Zucker at CNN, and one of the reasons CNN has not taken any disciplinary action against journalist Chris Cuomo is because of the relationship she has with Governor Andrew Cuomo.’
Janice Dean, senior meteorologist for FOX News Channel, lost both her mother-in-law and father-in-law to COVID, with the pair dying after Andrew Cuomo ordered that nursing home residents recuperating from the virus be allowed to return to their residences. He reversed the decision several weeks later, but critics say it cost hundreds of lives.
Dean has become one of Andrew Cuomo’s fiercest critics, and told DailyMail.com that Chris Cuomo had been ‘dishonest’ with his viewers.
‘Chris Cuomo never thought anything of it when he had his brother on during the height of the pandemic and instead of asking serious questions about what was happening in New York, resorted to prop comedy and jokes about COVID, his love life and their family,’ she said.
‘As soon as the news stories started to break about his brother’s many scandals, Chris then decided he could no longer interview is brother, and now that we’re finding out Chris was not only involved in the governor’s sexual harassment issues (giving him and his staff advice/drafting his response) we also know he was receiving special treatment using state resources by getting VIP COVID tests while nursing homes were not allowed to receive them to test incoming patients.
‘The fact that Chris Cuomo also faked his own quarantine and lied to his viewers should also raise questions about ethics, honesty and how dishonest Chris Cuomo is to his audience and his employer.’
Other critics include MSNBC’s Laura Bassett, who wrote an op-ed saying: ‘Both brothers need to go
‘It’s extremely inappropriate and unethical for a journalist to advise and craft the statements of a politician, regardless of family relation.
‘New Yorkers deserve better than a lying, harassing, misogynistic creep presiding over the state.
Glory days: Chris Cuomo quarantining in his Hamptons basement last year with Cuomo, speaking with his brother on his show, when Andrew was a pandemic hero
The two regularly joked around on Chris’s show at a time when hundreds were dying of COVID. Chris played with a giant swab on one show.
‘And CNN’s viewers deserve better than a news anchor who is working on behalf of a politician he covers and helps to manipulate public opinion of him.
‘Both Cuomo brothers have amassed massive power and influence, while betraying public trust. And both brothers must go,’ she wrote.
CNN VP of Communications, Allison Gollust, worked for Governor Cuomo as his Director of Comms in 2013
She also referred back to the friendly, light-hearted interviews the pair engaged in on Chris’s show at the height of the pandemic when hundreds of people were dying every day.
‘Chris Cuomo has interviewed his brother on CNN multiple times about the elder Cuomo’s coronavirus response, as scores of New Yorkers were dying in a pandemic; Albany is part of his beat.
‘In one interview, Chris Cuomo told Andrew Cuomo he is ‘the best politician in the country.’
‘The anchor’s attempt at a journalistic compromise was to abstain from interviewing his brother about the sexual harassment scandal,’ she said.
DePauw University journalism professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told FOX News: ‘The lack of professional standards was appalling during the early days of COVID coverage when Chris routinely had the governor on his program to show off about Andrew’s handling of COVID, bash Trump and do comedy sketches.
‘CNN should have never let Chris cover his brother for either good or bad news, and only decided to prohibit such coverage once the governor’s news became all bad.’