Report: CNN hasn't mentioned Cuomo's COVID testing nepotism scandal all day

Report: CNN hasn't mentioned Cuomo's COVID testing nepotism scandal all day

I’m torn between thinking this looks so shady by CNN that it can’t possibly be true and believing that Caleb Howe and Mediaite wouldn’t have dared make the claim without checking their facts thoroughly before publishing.

And in fact, Howe says he consulted two different transcription services to make sure he didn’t miss anything. According to him, as of 5:40 p.m. ET, CNN programming had gone the entire day without mentioning the word “Cuomo” even though the governor’s latest scandal is now part of the impeachment investigation against him in New York State.

An odd lapse in curiosity by a network that normally dines out on major political news. What could explain it?

“Good evening. Chris Cuomo is off tonight.” That sentence, uttered at 1:02:16 AM Thursday in a re-airing of Wednesday’s Anderson Cooper 360°, is the only time the name “Cuomo” has been spoken on CNN all day. The day after news of yet another scandal involving New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo broke. A story that involves his brother, CNN’s own Chris Cuomo. Who was “off tonight.”…

The story has been making all the media rounds, including at rivals Fox News and MSNBC, as well as dozens of outlets in print and online. Just not at CNN. At CNN there has been radio silence all day. Mediaite conducted two separate transcript searches from two different services to verify what we’d also witnessed monitoring the channel: No report on the story, no mention of the name.

It is a tough spot to be in, to have news such as this involving one of the station’s own employees, a face of the network. That spot was made much tougher by their own hand, in bringing the Governor on for softball interviews, to chat with his brother in a mix of casual conversation and pseudo-reporting on a major pandemic in the state.

CNN *has* covered Cuomo’s other scandals. Chris doesn’t cover them — that would be a conflict of interest, we’re told, unlike last year’s softball interviews that functioned as Cuomo 2022 campaign ads — but they’re fair game for the rest of the network. Until today, when their 9 p.m. guy suddenly became part of the story as the alleged recipient of priority COVID testing early in the pandemic courtesy of his brother.

It’s awkward for a news network to have to cover a scandal that involves one of its own but (a) them’s the breaks if your first duty is to keep your viewers informed and (b) this is only secondarily a Chris scandal. It’s primarily a scandal about the governor of New York abusing his power to give his family preferential treatment during a health crisis. That’s major news. There’s no reason why CNN can’t cover it from that angle while mentioning — because it’s obviously relevant — that Chris was one of the family members who allegedly benefited from his brother’s favoritism. They don’t need to dwell on Chris’s role. But the fact that it’s humiliating for the network to admit that their own newsman hid this information from them and then rewarded his brother with free PR on CNN’s airwaves in the form of lighthearted interviews doesn’t justify their dereliction of duty. It’s a story, it has to be covered.

And then they need to figure out what to do with Chris. Kyle Smith has a proposal:

Why hasn’t Chris Cuomo been fired? What he’s done is the very definition of corruption. Look it up in your Merriam-Webster: there’s now a picture of Chris Cuomo holding up a giant cotton swab.

If, during the darkest days of the pandemic, Donald Trump had taken scarce COVID tests away from NIH and ordered the Secret Service to take them over to Ivanka’s house to get her and the family tested, CNN would have done five solid days of coverage demanding impeachment for abuse of office…

Chris Cuomo is supposed to be, as a CNN employee, a representative of the people who poses tough, or at least interesting, questions to those in power. Instead, throughout the pandemic he has acted like a flack for a close family member who is a high-ranking public official. Then he acted like a guy who was entitled to special favors from that same elected official.

Yes, but he did most of that with the network’s blessing. The one element that CNN likely didn’t know about was that Chris had received a meaningful benefit from his brother related to the pandemic before launching a series of interviews with Andrew aimed at promoting his pandemic leadership. One might call that a corrupt quid pro quo, if not for the fact that it was already corrupt for CNN to let an anchor interview his sibling knowing that familial affection would guarantee that the interview wouldn’t be probing.

As for the horse race between the Cuomos to see who can get fired first, my money’s now on Chris. CNN may still have some standards, or may feel obliged to pretend it has some, but New Yorkers have none and can’t be bothered to pretend otherwise:

He’s +10 in approval despite a new scandal dropping every week. He’s as popular as Kirsten Gillibrand, who recently called him on to resign. It’s gonna be reeeeally weird when an unemployed Chris is relegated to posting TikToks to try to stay in the public eye while his brother is settling into his fourth term as governor in 2023, but that’s where we’re headed. People get the leadership they deserve.

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