Chris Cuomo, like Andrew, was fired for the wrong misdeeds

Asia's Tech News Daily

andrew cuomo, chris cuomo, Coronavirus in NY, Media, nursing homes

CNN indefinitely suspended Chris Cuomo before firing him. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

CNN fired its star anchor, Chris Cuomo, after first suspending him following revelations he used his journalistic clout to try to blunt sexual-misconduct allegations against his brother, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. CNN’s statement alluded to “additional information” that had “come to light,” which turned out to be an anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct against Chris himself from his time at ABC.

Sexual misconduct is a serious matter. And Chris was unethical in using his media network to track accusers and even dig up dirt on them.

But it does nothing to minimize those allegations to say that both brothers engaged in something much worse — and have gotten a free pass from the press.

Long before the sexual-misconduct allegations, back when he had gotten a $5 million book deal and an Emmy “in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the governor was signing the death warrants of tens of thousands of the most vulnerable New Yorkers — and then worked hard to cover it up.

andrew cuomo, chris cuomo, Coronavirus in NY, Media, nursing homes

CNN fired Chris Cuomo for the role he played in defense of his brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for HBO

His March 2020 edict forced nursing homes to take in COVID-positive patients. He reversed it in May, but it was too late: More than 6,000 such residents had been admitted to nursing homes, where the disease predictably spread like wildfire. Who knows how many of the more than 15,000 New York nursing-home deaths could have been prevented? And rather than take responsibility, Cuomo’s office engaged in a lengthy coverup.

And it wasn’t just nursing homes: Another directive barred group homes for the developmentally disabled from denying readmission “based solely on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.” At least 552 residents of such homes died of the virus.

Yet there was comparatively little outrage about the betrayal of the developmentally disabled and the elderly, New York’s most vulnerable, certainly nothing akin to the (justified) outrage over the sexual-harassment allegations.

andrew cuomo, chris cuomo, Coronavirus in NY, Media, nursing homes

An anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct came out against Chris Cuomo from his time at ABC.

REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

And just as Andrew Cuomo’s downfall came ultimately for sexual misconduct, not the deaths of seniors and the disabled, his brother Chris’ downfall was the result of acquiring his own accuser, rather than failing to cover the nursing-home scandal, an insider told The Post.

It would be one thing if Chris had simply avoided reporting his brother’s COVID misdeeds. But he had Andrew on his show for hammy segments full of familial banter and props. Families getting the news their mothers had died were treated to TV segments featuring the brothers fighting over who their mother loves more. And far from a bug, that coziness was a feature at the network, sanctioned at the highest level. “You get trust from authenticity and relatability and vulnerability,” CNN President Jeff Zucker told The New York Times in April 2020, while the edict was still in place. “That’s what the brothers Cuomo are giving us right now.”

Even the evidence that Chris used media sources to help his brother track his accusers only got him suspended. It seems it took an allegation of years-old sexual misconduct at another network to turn his suspension into a firing.

There is little evidence to suggest a pattern of sexual misconduct with colleagues and subordinates like his brother Andrew’s. The only other sexual allegation against Chris in his years as an anchor came from a former boss, who alleged that two decades ago he touched her inappropriately at a party after they no longer worked together, for which he immediately apologized.

andrew cuomo, chris cuomo, Coronavirus in NY, Media, nursing homes

Andrew Cuomo arrives to depart in his helicopter after announcing his resignation in Manhattan, August 10, 2021.

REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs/File Photo

One can both deplore sexual misconduct and still note that a society that ranks it a worse sin than sending the most vulnerable to their deaths and covering it up is in some way deeply sick. Seniors and the developmentally disabled often have no one to advocate for them; they rely on the state and the press to do so. Here we saw the opposite, not just a governor hastening their demise and his celebrity brother ignoring their plight but a larger media climate in which workplace sexual misconduct outranks sending seniors to their deaths and lying about it, over and over.

You can learn a lot about a society by how it treats its most vulnerable. But you can learn perhaps even more by where it places its outrage. And the full force of our outrage in the brothers Cuomo case was reserved for sexual misconduct.

Why? What is it about us that makes it so easy to empathize with the devastating effects of being sexually harassed at work and so hard to empathize with a developmentally disabled person sent back to a place where infections spread like wildfire? Why is it so easy for us to get enraged by someone digging up dirt on a sexual-harassment accuser but so hard for us to get enraged at a husband testing positive for COVID at a hospital, then sent back to a group home to infect his wife and watch her die?

I wish I knew. But one thing I do know: The brothers Cuomo were brought down for the wrong thing.

Batya Ungar-Sargon is the deputy opinion editor of Newsweek and the author of “Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy.”

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