Chris Cuomo's revisionist history

© The Hill Chris Cuomo’s revisionist history

Chris Cuomo returned from a pre-planned vacation to his CNN anchoring duties on Monday night and addressed his brother’s resignation as New York’s governor, which occurred last week during said vacation.

The primetime anchor had avoided publicly discussing the multiple allegations of sexual harassment against his older brother, Andrew, for months as the story unfolded; he cited a 2021 network rule (that was the opposite of a 2020 network rule) saying he couldn’t talk about his brother in any capacity. (More on that in a moment.)

“I said last year that [Gov. Cuomo’s] appearances on this show would be short-lived, and they were. The last was over a year ago, long before any kind of scandal,” Cuomo claimed at the end of his 9 p.m. program on Monday.

In Chris Cuomo’s world, “short-lived” apparently is defined as having your brother on your program 11 times in the spring of 2020. And these weren’t your standard 4- to 6-minute interviews that really weren’t interviews at all but, instead, were PR for the then-popular governor. They were also usually twice as long as other interviews, and it was this kind of primetime political promotion that helped the governor land a $5 million book deal and an Emmy in 2020.

Chris Cuomo also claimed that the interviews occurred well before “any kind of scandal” involving nursing homes emerged. But that scandal was actively being reported in May 2020, while the governor was still appearing on the show in June of that year.

Overall, the theme of Chris Cuomo’s statements around why he advised his brother centered on placing family above all else, including his role as a journalist.

“I’m not an adviser, I’m a brother. I tried to do the right thing and I just want you all to know that,” he said before later adding: “I did advise my brother to resign when the time came.”

That advice likely came after the New York attorney general’s report released earlier this month, which includes references to Chris Cuomo’s involvement in advising his brother on how to respond to allegations of sexual harassment.

It appears as though Chris Cuomo helped craft Gov. Cuomo’s Feb. 28 statement responding to the Bennett allegations. pic.twitter.com/EYII4yZY1J

– Alex Weprin (@alexweprin) August 3, 2021

On TV and social media, the CNN anchor bills himself as someone who holds the powerful accountable – apparently with the exception of Democrats. On Monday night, for example, he proceeded to place much of the blame for the Afghanistan debacle not on President Biden but on former President Trump. He also slammed two Republican governors – Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott of Texas – over their handling of resurgent COVID cases in a way that couldn’t have been better scripted by the Democratic National Committee.

CNN’s @ChrisCuomo defends Biden, blames Trump, for Afghanistan humanitarian crisis: “We are here right now because Biden carried forward with the Trump deal made with the Taliban to exit and didn’t do it well.” pic.twitter.com/isXTkoOMKZ

– Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 17, 2021

Just minutes before having to address his brother’s resignation, Chris Cuomo squeezes time in to bash GOP Govs. DeSantis and Abbott over their opposition to COVID mandates.

Recap of Cuomo’s coverage pre-vacation:https://t.co/qjUBaocPXd

– Joseph A. Wulfsohn (@JosephWulfsohn) August 17, 2021

Getting back to the whole conflict-of-interest excuse, what an insult to the intelligence of anyone who remotely followed CNN’s “Keeping up with The Cuomos” programming last year, when CNN allowed the younger Cuomo to talk about his governor-brother and aggressively promoted the segments. The “Cuomo Comedy Hour” rated, and that seemed to be all that mattered.

The only place to start is with @CNN, where Cuomo’s brother @ChrisCuomo works.

I’m sure you all remember what the love fest looked like back then. This is meant to be straight news coverage! pic.twitter.com/LDXD3SQQe7

– Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) August 3, 2021

“Obviously I’ll never be objective, obviously I think you’re the best politician in the country,” Chris Cuomo told his brother on air in June 2020. “But I hope you feel good about what you did for your people because I know they appreciate it. I’ve never seen anything like what you did and that’s why I’m so happy to have had you on the show. And I hope you know that.”

Tell that to the families of the 15,000 reported dead in New York nursing homes after the governor sent COVID-positive patients back to those facilities. Needless to say, that bombshell – like many others involving the governor – was not reported on CNN’s 9 p.m. program.

So how and why was Chris allowed to return to the air?

Just spit-balling here, but perhaps suspending or firing the anchor would be seen as a victory for “right-wing media,” where there have been several calls for his ouster. But there’s one problem with that thought process: This isn’t a rightwing push to get rid of Chris Cuomo or at least investigate what happened; instead, it’s something that has been discussed across the board in journalism circles.

New @Sulliview on “the deplorable behavior at CNN, where the governor’s brother, Chris Cuomo, is a popular host who has put brotherly love ahead of journalistic propriety. And where the network’s leadership has let him get away with it.” https://t.co/tLi0XmCCxE

– Paige Williams (@williams_paige) August 9, 2021

CNN must investigate Chris Cuomo. https://t.co/1xjelRQr4Y

– ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) August 9, 2021

The Cuomo brothers should both resign. My latest for @msnbc: https://t.co/FfbZdhccN6

– Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) August 3, 2021

CNN’s Chris Cuomo running cover for his powerful brother amid sexual harassment allegations is why so many women do not come forward.

There should be a price to pay for this. #FireFredo pic.twitter.com/J7FexNt06g

– Jen Perelman (@JENFL23) August 4, 2021

Or perhaps Cuomo’s close relationship with CNN’s senior management supersedes any concern for potential ethics violations that may have occurred here.

One wonders what the women of CNN must think as they see this all play out.

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill and a Fox News contributor.

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