CNN anchor Chris Cuomo dramatically staged a post-coronavirus emergence from his basement on Monday’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” falsely implying the footage captured the “official” first moment he left his basement quarantine. Cuomo’s staged emergence came after the journalist, who reported his diagnosis on March 31, discussed prior travels from his home, rendering Monday’s video report misleading at best and an outright lie at worst.
First and foremost, praise God Cuomo recovered from the virus, his infected wife seems to be healing, and the couple is with their children. But Cuomo himself was first to mention the trip he took outside his home on Easter Sunday.
On his radio show, the brother of New York’s governor complained about the downsides of his high-profile CNN gig. As the New York Post reported, “Cuomo then launched into a tale about a ‘loser biker’ who confronted him on Easter Sunday for being outside his property with his family despite his coronavirus diagnosis.”
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) April 21, 2020
The anonymous East Hampton bicyclist in question later told the Post, “I said to him, ‘Your brother is the coronavirus czar, and you’re not even following his rules — unnecessary travel.”
We know three things: Cuomo was diagnosed with the virus on March 31. He left his home to visit another property on April 12, at least a 30-minute drive from his home. On April 21, he aired “the official reentry” from his basement on CNN. That’s the definition of fake news.
These are facts. CNN might call them apples. They indisputably amount to false coverage. They should raise the ire of media defenders. (But they won’t.)
In the footage aired by “Cuomo Prime Time,” the anchor ascended a staircase claiming, “Alright, here it is, the official reentry from the basement. Cleared by CDC, little sweaty, just worked out, it happens. This is what I’ve been dreaming of, literally for weeks.” Just five days after saying he needed to be separated from his wife for another two weeks, Cuomo sidles right up next to her.
Cuomo’s daughter also captured her dad in the same living room he supposedly “reentered” on Monday, posting a TikTok video of him ostensibly outside the basement two days prior. A day before posting that video, she posted one of him in an indoor-outdoor space as well.
@bellavcuomo##fyp filmed my dads reaction to this dance (before someone annoys me YES i’m more than 6 ft away)♬ Cannibal X Whats My Name X Savage – rapidsongs
@bellavcuomo##fyp 6 ft at all times 💁♀️
The guy clearly left his basement. To be clear, as far as CNN falsehoods go, this one isn’t the worst. It’s not false information about impeachment or the Russia probe. Cuomo’s timeline is hardly the network’s most egregious distortion.
Even Cuomo’s recent string of interviews with his brother, New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are worse. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported Chris “has also been an adviser to his brother… sometimes extending his advice to the governor’s staff,” all while interviewing the man overseeing the epicenter of America’s outbreak on a network that purports to uphold journalistic standards.
Yet the weird attempt to revise Cuomo’s personal history remains a glistening example of why the apple-versus-banana channel has serious credibility problems. The same people who rant daily about alleged lies from the White House twist facts to suit their own narratives. Cuomo’s footage makes a false assertion that glosses over his own controversial break from quarantine.
Perhaps Cuomo and his bosses cleverly framed the segment as image rehabilitation after the anchor caught some heat for flouting his own brother’s “essential travel” guidelines. Perhaps they’re so arrogant the discrepancy seemed immaterial. Either way, it’s more evidence that CNN’s smug claims to the journalistic high ground are emptier than my refrigerator.
UPDATE 4/21/20 1:00 p.m.: This post has been updated to add Cuomo’s appearances on TikTok.