OPINION: One Cuomo Down, One to Go

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Chris Cuomo attend the HBO Documentary Film "RX: Early Detection A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee" during The Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theater on April 26, 2018 in New York City.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for HBO

Anyone could have seen this day coming. A series of damning reports, over a number of years, exposed Cuomo’s scandals, destroyed his credibility, and rendered it untenable for him to keep his job.

Of course, I’m talking about Chris Cuomo. His history of breeching journalistic ethics and breaking his word to his viewers means that CNN must make a choice immediately: Chris Cuomo must resign (or be fired), or CNN must publicly admit that viewers should assume everything it reports is a lie.

Today, media coverage centers on brother Andrew, who decided to escape impeachment by announcing he will step down as governor of New York in 14 days. His resignation acknowledges that Attorney General Letitia James’ report on his purported sexual harassment of 11 women decimated his authority.

Which brings us to Chris Cuomo. The scandals that finally brought down New York’s second-strongest political dynasty reveal that he lacks journalistic integrity, political strategy/judgment, and personal authenticity.

Chris Cuomo became entirely forthcoming about his role as an adviser to his brother, the instant he had no other choice. In May, The Washington Post revealed that Chris Cuomo had advised his brother on how to handle the allegations that he groped or propositioned a series of women who worked for him. The day the story broke, both Chris Cuomo and CNN promised that they had learned their lesson. Cuomo swore “it will not happen again,” in part because of how it reflected on CNN:

I understand why that was a problem for CNN. It will not happen again. It was a mistake, because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot. I never intended for that. I would never intend for that. And I am sorry for that.

CNN called Chris Cuomo’s actions “inappropriate,” because he could not objectively cover his brother. The network promised, “He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”

It’s true that Cuomo could never cover his brother objectively. He certainly made no effort to do so during their Smothers Brothers-derivative comedy routines, when Chris told his brother, “I think you’re the best politician in the country. But I hope you feel good about what you did for your people, because I know they appreciate it.” (15,000 former nursing home residents could not be reached for comment.)

Thanks to the attorney general’s 165-page report, we now know that Chris Cuomo’s role went far beyond what was publicly acknowledged. He got access to confidential information about his brother’s accusers and helped shape a narrative to protect the governor, regardless of whether the allegations were true.

But it turns out, both Cuomo and CNN lied. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Governor Cuomo “continues to confer with … his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, according to people familiar with the situation.” To date, Cuomo has not denied the report.

CNN and Cuomo promised, less than three months ago, that this would never happen again. It has happened again. CNN can either find a way for the younger Cuomo to quietly leave the network or publicly rebuke him for lying to his audience over their airwaves. If CNN keeps Chris Cuomo on the air, it will prove that viewers cannot trust anything the network tells them, even about itself.

The report also calls into question Cuomo’s political judgment. According to The Washington Post, it was Chris Cuomo’s idea for his brother to hold tight to the reins of power. The Post reported:

The cable news anchor encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not to resign from the governor’s office, the people said. At one point, he used the phrase “cancel culture” as a reason to hold firm in the face of the allegations, two people present on one call said.

That is, in essence, what Governor Cuomo did. In his tone-deaf response, Andrew Cuomo called nearly a dozen women’s allegations “distractions,” accused his accusers of not understanding his sensitive and well-intentioned desire to “help” them, and equated groping women’s breasts and butts with absent-mindedly mumbling, “Ciao, bella!”

That proved a less than successful strategy. Chris admitted his advice flopped and advised his brother to resign, according to a story in Tuesday’s New York Times. So, CNN can’t bring Chris back as a political analyst, either.

The episode shows not only that the younger Cuomo lacks journalistic ethics and political sense but personal integrity and credibility. Chris Cuomo looked his audience in the eye and lied to them about his intentions — which is nothing new. Why would anyone believe anything he had to say after that? For that matter, why would they believe anything he’d said before?

Chris Cuomo has been caught coaching former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on how to answer questions on the air. Cuomo, who now zings Governors Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Greg Abbott (R-TX) for opposing mask mandates for kindergartners, was threatened with a $500 fine for violating his building’s mask order. He lied to viewers that he quarantined himself in his basement and, after getting caught verbally accosting a man outside, posted a contrived video of himself emerging from his basement.

The network brass has steadfastly stood by Cuomo, CNN’s highest-rated host, for years. The only reason Chris Cuomo still has a job, according to a “longtime industry insider,” is that “he’s untouchable.”

But has Chris Cuomo finally committed the unforgivable sin: making powerful network executives look like idiots? Seemingly, the only way to get justice is to offend those who hold the levers of power. Eliot Ness got Al Capone, who killed an untold number of peasants in Chicago’s slums, for withholding taxes from the U.S. government. BLM and Antifa rioters destroyed neighborhood after neighborhood until they threatened candidate Joe Biden’s polls. Governor Cuomo has been dislodged from office, not for forcing frail and elderly people to wheeze alone in isolation until the life left their bodies, but for sexually harassing the relatively privileged liberals in his professional orbit (which, it goes without saying, is deplorable, impeachable, and possibly criminal behavior on its own). And CNN may yet fire Chris Cuomo for making his colleagues and benefactors look bad, not for his career-long violation of journalistic ethics, canons, and norms (presumably because the network is equally committed to those violations).

But at this point, whatever works is fine. Cuomo can prolong his current “long-planned vacation” to finish whatever midlife crisis he seems to be in the middle of. And the dismissal could only be good for CNN.

Removing Chris Cuomo from the airwaves would go a long way toward reassuring the rest of us, who live in a world where the powerful play by a different set of rules, and no one in the nation’s elite ever seems to face the consequence of his actions. It would be poetic justice if the powers-that-be were forced to restore a measure of political and journalistic credibility by punishing two people named Cuomo for their respective roles in the same scandal.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  OPINION: One Cuomo Down, One to Go