Last year, as COVID-19 spread like wildfire in New York’s nursing homes, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo enjoyed fawning media coverage for his handling of the crisis. Despite leading the nation in deaths per capita to this day—trailing only neighboring blue state New Jersey—corporate media praised Andrew Cuomo as “America’s Governor” even as he forced elder-care facilities to accept COVID-positive patients, resulting in an untold number of tragically unnecessary deaths.
The fourth estate’s obvious disinterest then in investigating the truth about the nursing home scandal and the endless stream of fluff pieces about the governor that didn’t match the evidence on the ground were an obvious embarrassment to the profession of journalism during the early days of the pandemic. Shockingly, just this week it was disclosed that an additional 12,000 New Yorkers lost their lives to COVID under Andrew Cuomo’s scandal-plagued leadership.
But few in the news industry exemplified the corporate media’s naked partisanship and de facto role as Democrat Party cheerleader than CNN’s primetime news anchor, Chris Cuomo, who shamelessly abdicated every tenet of journalistic ethics by regularly having his brother on his show to hold truth to power and discuss the tough issues like their mother’s meatball sauce recipe. Who cares about dead grandmas and grandpas. CNN’s primetime news hour was no place for serious questioning of a top elected official.
Unfortunately, CNN’s and Chris Cuomo’s willingness to sacrifice journalistic objectivity for personal gain didn’t end there. It got even worse. This week, Andrew Cuomo finally resigned as governor after an extensive investigation led by New York’s Democrat attorney general showed he engaged in serial workplace sexual harassment and abuse.
Among the investigation’s findings were that his news-anchor brother helped lead the public relations effort to cover up the predator governor’s sexual abuse. Just as he did during the nursing home scandal, Chris Cuomo again used his platform, connections, and expertise not to scrutinize a powerful politician but to help him evade accountability.
It used to be universally accepted in journalism that one could not cover an issue or an individual when there was a conflict of interest. This was to build trust and credibility among the public. No exceptions, even in a crisis, such as a pandemic. After all, it is during times of crisis that maintaining the public trust is most important.
It also used to be universally accepted that the duty of a journalist is to hold politicians accountable and expose wrongdoing, not assist politicians in covering up wrongdoing. On both accounts, these practices appear to be from a bygone era, at least at CNN.
Andrew Cuomo initially refused to resign and denied wrongdoing, despite the extensive evidence, and only agreed to quit after it became clear he had no choice as his supporters would no longer stand beside him. The former governor’s Democrat allies, outside political supporters, and a sympathetic media finally deserted him.
Shame wasn’t enough to bring down Andrew Cuomo. It took condemnation from those most loyal and committed to the former governor to force his hand.
For his rejection of basic journalistic ethics and his aiding and abetting in the coverup of his brother’s nursing home scandal and workplace sexual abuse, Chris Cuomo should join his brother in shame and in resignation.
By now it’s clear, however, that shamelessness runs in the Cuomo family. Like his brother, Chris Cuomo will not resign unless he is pressured into it. That means journalists who are interested in restoring their credibility among the public must be loud and clear: one Cuomo brother has resigned—the other Cuomo brother must be next.