Before the coronavirus outbreak, the “Cuomo Prime Time” host was barred by CNN from covering his politician brother. However, as the New York governor’s star rose thanks to his daily press briefings and the mainstream media showered the Democrat with praise for his “leadership,” the network allowed its prime-time anchor to hold a series of chummy interviews with his brother in the early weeks of the pandemic.
Their exchanges largely involved teasing each other for their looks, competing for their mother’s affection, and even prop comedy.
However, with the Cuomo administration being accused of deliberately withholding data on nursing home deaths from lawmakers following the governor’s ill-fated order that assisted living facilities accept COVID-positive patients, critics are calling on CNN’s most-watched show to cover the latest developments.
However, The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Cuomo has been told to steer clear of his brother’s political woes.
“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,” CNN defended the Cuomo-Cuomo interviews to the Post.
“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.”
The network added, “CNN has covered the news surrounding Governor Cuomo extensively.”
Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple panned CNN’s statement, calling it “an expression of the problem itself.”
“You can’t nullify a rule when your star anchor’s brother is flying high, only to invoke it during times of scandal. You just can’t,” Wemple wrote.
Wemple referred to the Cuomo-Cuomo dynamic as a “conflict of interest” that “poisons the news.”
As other CNN anchors have increased their coverage of the Cuomo scandal in recent weeks, Chris Cuomo has been spending much of his time lecturing GOP lawmakers on morality following their overwhelming support to acquit former President Trump in last week’s Senate impeachment trial.