CNN has apparently established a new rule: Discussion of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal has been banned from its highest-rated show.
“Cuomo Prime Time” earned more viewers than any other CNN program last week on the news that the New York’s attorney general accused the host’s brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, of sexually harassing 11 women. Letitia James’ report also noted that Chris Cuomo had received confidential information and advised the governor on how to avoid legal ramifications, regardless of guilt.
Yet Chris Cuomo ignored the charges from Tuesday through Thursday, as did guest host Michael Smerconish when he filled in on Friday.
On Monday, the network aired a one-hour special about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), hosted by Dana Bash in place of the program.
Rather than discuss the most significant story of the day, Cuomo and Smerconish spent virtually their entire shows attacking Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) over his opposition to requiring schoolchildren to wear masks in public schools.
Cuomo, who dubbed his show the “COVID Command Center,” has moved from blaming the Republican governor for the low vaccination rate to stating that his opposition to top-down government mask mandates for children as young as five costs lives.
“Less than 20 percent of Republicans support businesses mandating vaccinations for their employees, over 80 percent of Democrats do,” Cuomo said. “The farther you go to the Right, the more the resistance is.”
He blamed multiple Republicans, including Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and John Kennedy (R-LA). But he focused on DeSantis, who is widely considered a frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Cuomo blamed DeSantis for saying, “As a parent, you know, I would like that choice. I, for, particularly for young kids, many of these kids, by the way, have recovered from COVID.” Cuomo described that as a “false argument.”
On Thursday’s episode of “Cuomo Prime Time,” he said the governor’s support for individual choice is “working for him with popularity, but not for his state with the pandemic.”
Cuomo then spent a segment interviewing Charlie Crist, then former Republican-turned-Democratic governor of Florida now running against DeSantis.
“Our governor is playing Russian roulette with the people of Florida,” he said.
But Crist said that Floridians have reason for hope because a poll “has me up on him by about 2 points if the election for governor were held today.”
On Friday’s episode, Smerconish featured DeSantis footage, then interviewed John and Robyn McCarthy who are suing DeSantis over his anti-school masking order. They fear their six-year-old son, who has asthma, would be overly susceptible to the virus and would lose his place at a high-performing magnet school if he attends a virtual school.
Smerconish did not raise the possibility that greater school choice might solve the issue.
Unlike previous nights, Don Lemon relegated the charges against Governor Cuomo to one segment in the middle of his second hour on Thursday. “CBS Evening News” also omitted coverage of the scandal on Thursday night. However, Lemon prominent featured the story on Friday.
Cuomo and his network have come under increasing scrutiny for their relative silence on the host’s familial conflict of interest. Rival cable news network MSNBC posted an op-ed stating that Chris Cuomo “should resign from covering politics or be fired. It’s extremely inappropriate and unethical for a journalist to advise and craft the statements of a politician, regardless of family relation.” The Poynter Institute for Media Studies posted two articles on the twin Cuomo scandals. Boston Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld wrote, “CNN has to do the right thing and remove Chris Cuomo from its prime time lineup.”
Yet the present “vacation” is the first sign any action is in the works. When asked why Cuomo still has a job at CNN, a “longtime industry insider” told Fox News, “he’s untouchable.”