CNN reinstated a ban this week on opinion host Chris Cuomo being able to interview or cover his scandal-ridden brother, New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo, which comes as reports surfaced on Wednesday evening that a criminal investigation has been launched into Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to nursing homes.
“The early months of the pandemic crisis were an extraordinary time. 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,” CNN said in a statement. “As a result, we made an exception to a rule that we have had in place since 2013 which prevents Chris from interviewing and covering his brother, and that rule remains in place today. CNN has covered the news surrounding Governor Cuomo extensively.”
The announcement comes as news reports surfaced on Wednesday evening that federal law enforcement officials have launched an investigation into the Cuomo administration’s handling of the pandemic.
“The probe by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York is apparently in its early stages and is focusing on the work of some of the senior members of the governor’s task force,” the Times Union reported. “Nearly three weeks after the governor’s task force was announced last year, the state health department issued an order directing nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that they must accept residents who were being discharged from hospitals even if they were still testing positive for the infectious disease, as long as they were able to care for them properly.”
CNN was repeatedly slammed for allowing Chris Cuomo to interview his brother in segments that were largely entertainment-oriented and that critics said made a mockery of Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic.
“This is one of the most embarrassing and self-destructive things I’ve seen a news outlet do,” far-left reporter Glenn Greenwald said. “I doubt even North Korean State TV would allow an anchor to ‘interview’ his own brother and use their airwaves to declare him a Great and Noble Leader.”
Greenwald said that the segments were the result of “Dynastic political power + State TV.”
This is one of the most embarrassing and self-destructive things I've seen a news outlet do. I doubt even North Korean State TV would allow an anchor to "interview" his own brother and use their airwaves to declare him a Great and Noble Leader. Dynastic political power + StateTV: pic.twitter.com/nuMgSXYAnl
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 25, 2020
Left-leaning Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple slammed CNN’s statement, writing:
To what extent has “Cuomo Prime Time” covered the undercount scandal in recent weeks? Not one bit. The host has plowed through plenty of worthy topics: coronavirus vaccines and variants, QAnon and conspiracy theories, the Capitol riot and impeachment, and more. But the absence of coverage of the nursing-home scandal contrasts sharply with other CNN precincts, which have stayed on top of the story. On Sunday’s “State of the Union,” for example, host Jake Tapper ripped away, “So Governor Cuomo, who has declined to appear on this show despite dozens of requests over the past year, including this past week, made a bad decision that may have cost lives. And then his administration hid that data from the public.”
Not that the work of Cuomo’s colleagues absolves him. “Cuomo Prime Time,” after all, brands itself as a locus of chest-beating integrity and righteousness. Yet the asymmetrical coverage of his brother — over-the-top praise when the governor is up; silence when he’s down — is indistinct from the model that CNN (quite rightly) accused conservative media outlets, including Fox News, of following vis-à-vis the Trump administration.
“The CNN statement is an expression of the problem itself: You can’t nullify a rule when your star anchor’s brother is flying high, only to invoke it during times of scandal,” Wemple concluded. “You just can’t.”
This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information.
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