As our colleague Karen Tumulty noted over the weekend, it appears a question of when, not if, the governor will resign.
Viewers of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” might not have too granular an understanding of these scandals. On his Monday night program, host Chris Cuomo, the governor’s brother, explained why.
“Before we start tonight, let me say something that I’m sure is very obvious to you, who watch my show. And thank you for that. You’re straight with me. I’ll be straight with you,” said the host, elevating chatter about integrity to a theatrical level. He continued:
Obviously, I’m aware of what’s going on with my brother. And, obviously, I cannot cover it, because he is my brother. Now, of course, CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively. And they will continue to do so. I have always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that. There’s a lot of news going on that matters also. So let’s get after that.
What are “these issues” exactly? Chris Cuomo didn’t say, leaving the details to his colleagues. The problem with his attempted disclosure is that he promised to be straight with his audience, and then proceeded to be anything but. Any “straight” disclosure would have included an admission that when the governor’s coronavirus news conferences made him a national star, Chris Cuomo invited him on “Cuomo Prime Time” for a series of image-enhancing chats that raised the profile of both family members; that they switched between policy chatter and family small talk in a way that the governor couldn’t procure on any other show; and that when the appearances wound down in June, Chris Cuomo said this about his brother:
I hope you are able to appreciate what you did in your state and what it means for the rest of the country now, and what it will always mean to those who love and care about you the most. I’m wowed by what you did, and more importantly, I’m wowed by how you did it. This was very hard. I know it’s not over. But obviously I love you as a brother, obviously I’ll never be objective, obviously 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.
The Erik Wemple Blog has asked CNN whether Chris Cuomo still thinks that his brother is the “best politician in the country.” The audience of “Cuomo Prime Time” deserves an answer to that question, as well as the host’s further reflections on the hot water in which his brother now finds himself. CNN responded to our inquiry by directing us to a statement that the network issued to us last month:
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. 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.
That last part is incontrovertible: Chris Cuomo’s colleagues at CNN have indeed covered the governor’s recent crises. But those scandals create a journalistic scandal on the set of “Cuomo Prime Time.” There’s an acute asymmetry at work here: Aggressive coverage by Chris Cuomo of Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2020 glories — when the governor hauled in an International Emmy Founders Award for his news conferences, for example — and no coverage whatsoever of his undercounting and sexual harassment crises. As the Andrew M. Cuomo story gets worse and worse, so does the Chris Cuomo story.