Liberal organizations that CNN typically strives to please such as the Poynter Institute, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times and The Washington Post have all put a harsh spotlight on the network’s handling of its lead anchor providing political advice to his powerful brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D.
Poynter’s senior media writer Tom Jones feels Chris Cuomo has a “credibility problem” that only a time machine could fix.
“I won’t go as far as to call for someone’s job, but CNN is in a bad spot here,” Jones wrote. “Politicians that Chris talks about — Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and so forth — have called for Andrew to resign. Might that affect how Chris covers them? The fact that this is even a question is a problem for CNN.”
CNN’s Cuomo was allowed to go on air last week after a report from New York Attorney General Letitia James concluded his brother sexually harassed multiple women and CNN’s biggest star tried to help him fight allegations along the way. The “Cuomo Prime Time” host ignored the bombshell report, which was a direct order from CNN honchos who have banned him from reporting on the major story despite anchoring the network’s most-watched hour.
“CNN made a huge miscalculation in assuming this controversy with Chris Cuomo would just fade away. Now CNN is making things worse by failing to acknowledge its mistakes and taking some sort of action, any action, to discipline Chris,” DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News.
“The situation with Governor Cuomo is dragging out with no quick resolution in sight, which means Chris and CNN’s questionable journalism ethics will remain a part of the ongoing saga,” McCall said. “CNN mistakenly believed it was bulletproof to outside criticism and counted on getting cover from its left-leaning pals in the establishment media. But the public has awakened and now realizes that CNN enabled one of its highest profile personalities to abandon journalism standards.”
Indeed, a plethora of “left-leaning pals in the establishment media” have scolded CNN.
Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan blasted the “deplorable behavior at CNN,” writing the network’s leadership “let him get away with” putting brotherly love ahead of journalism ethics.
MSNBC opinion columnist Laura Bassett has called for Chris Cuomo to “resign from covering politics or be fired,” while the Times reported a major “conundrum” for the liberal network.
McCall feels CNN is now losing on two separate fronts.
“It is taking a beating for its brazen abandonment of journalism standards, plus it is also taking a huge hit in viewership. The decline in ratings alone should prompt the CNN hierarchy to look in the mirror,” McCall said.
The “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake apologized to colleagues and CNN admitted his actions were inappropriate earlier this year, but the liberal network never punished or disciplined the younger Cuomo sibling. Now that the New York attorney general’s report shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s role, newfound calls for CNN to take action have emerged. The esteemed DePauw professor said CNN should take responsibility for its mistakes and take the appropriate steps to transparently explain its standards going forward.
“Chris is probably now prime time poison, so it would behoove CNN to remove him from the air at least temporarily, and then find another role for him in the future, if he comes back at all,” McCall said.
CNN has taken heat from all sides since the scathing AG report was unveiled last week but a new round of criticism has bubbled to the surface on a seemingly daily basis. The prestigious Columbia Journalism Review criticized Chris Cuomo for opening his first show following the damming AG report by declaring he was “focused on COVID,” a nod to viewers that he wouldn’t mention the news about his big brother.
“This was surely an attempt to separate church and state, but it’s worth remembering that COVID coverage is actually central to the Andrew-Chris nexus,” CJR’s Jon Allsop wrote, adding that Chris famously received preferential access to sought-after testing because of his relationship with the governor.
The criticism has only grown with every new tidbit and attempt at damage control.
“A true scolding is actual, tangible action. Suspension without pay. Termination. Not keeping a completely compromised person on the air,” Fox News contributor Joe Concha told Fox News. “And more than a few journalists from the left, right and in-between have called for his suspension or outright firing.”
Critics piled on the scandal-plagued network again on Monday night when it was reported that Chris Cuomo is still advising his embattled sibling.
“At this point, CNN has to do SOMETHING with Chris Cuomo,” Daily Beast contributing editor Justin Baragona declared in a now-deleted tweet. “This is multiple times he’s left the network with egg on its face over his flouting of journalistic ethics. And now he’s outright lied about advising his brother while serving as a CNN anchor.”
CNN has also come under fire because top executive Allison Gollust, now CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, used to be Gov. Cuomo’s communications director.
“CNN has a real ethical problem on its hands,” Air Fleischer said last week on “American’s Newsroom.”
“She now runs the show, she’s the No. 2 to Jeff Zucker at CNN,” Fleischer said, going to suggest one of the reasons CNN has not taken any disciplinary action against Chris Cuomo is because of her relationship with the governor.
On Tuesday, The Media Research Center called for Cuomo to resign or be fired and published a video montage of the friendly interviews between the two brothers last year during the coronavirus pandemic.
“He’s a a Democratic strategist, not a news anchor,” the conservative watchdog said.
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.