New York’s office of the attorney general has released thousands of pages of testimony related to sexual harassment claims against former governor. Andrew Cuomo is now clear. The new testimony reveals that CNN host Chris Cuomo participated in his brother’s attempt to survive scrutiny. Contrary to Chris Cuomo’s claim that he did not act as an official advisor to his brother, the documents reveal that he actively used his journalistic access and connections to find out more information about the accusers—and potentially, to discredit them.
Chris sent a text to his long-serving brother, Melissa DeRosa about the other accuser, and said, “I have the lead on the bride girl.” Anna Ruch is the wedding girl, and Andrew was accused of taking a swipe at her. Chris said that Chris was her “lead” and that it could be used to ridicule Anna Ruch. Chris informed the Attorney General’s Fact-finders of his knowledge of an individual who may have been able to tell him Ruch might have ulterior motives.
He claimed that he would not oppose research against anyone alleging such things during an interview with the attorney General’s Office. It is clear Engaged in an opposition research. He was not content to listen and offer encouragement, he actively participated in the planning.
It’s not illegal. So it’s not surprising that Chris would support his brother and offer to help. It was wrong of Chris to lie to his viewers about his role. And it was also a gross violation of ethics to not address the scandal in his broadcast, while participating privately in the response efforts by the governor.
CNN did not handle the situation well. At the peak of the pandemic CNN allowed Andrew fluff interviews. These interviewers glorified the former governor’s COVID-19 response. This interview was not appropriate and it is now even more absurd given the details of the scandal at nursing homes and their subsequent covering up.
CNN has to discipline Chris for understating his role in brother’s strategizing. CNN says that it is reviewing Chris’ conduct. If a competent review were to reach the same conclusion, it would be difficult for him to keep his job. Chris Cuomo was clearly caught in a difficult situation. He was the important TV journalist who was the brother to a prominent government official.
CNN could send the message to viewers that journalism ethics is only for small people by keeping Cuomo in the job and on air, wrote writer AtlanticDavid Graham is the author. “Cuomo should take some time off and reflect on his chosen profession—and if and when he comes back, perhaps he should choose a new beat.”
A new type of work could be the right thing.