Entertainment

CNN’s media reporter says Chris Cuomo’s briefings to Andrew were ‘more considerable’ than realized

CNN’s media correspondent Brian Stelter has admitted the network was caught off-guard by fresh revelations surrounding its biggest star Chris Cuomo. 

Stelter – writing in a piece published on CNN’s own website Monday – said his employer hadn’t realized the extent of Chris’s involvement in defending his sibling Andrew Cuomo  – the former Governor of New York – after Andrew was accused of sexual harassment.  

CNN on Monday said they were reviewing the latest information revealed in a report by New York Attorney General Letitia James, and would make a decision about their $6 million-a-year man in the coming days. 

‘Monday’s revelations cast some doubt on his statement about his interactions with the press,’ Stelter wrote on Monday night, in an analysis of the situation written with his colleagues Oliver Darcy and Sonia Moghe. 

CNN’s media correspondent Brian Stelter has admitted the network was caught off-guard by fresh revelations surrounding its biggest star Chris Cuomo 

Stelter and his colleagues added: ‘The documents indicated that the scope of how the anchor aimed to help his brother was more considerable and that he was more intimately involved than previously known, prompting CNN to initiate a review of the material.’  

It also flagged an apparent contradiction between what Chris Cuomo previously said on air about ‘never’ making calls to the press about the Andrew sex allegations. 

During testimony given to AG James, Chris admitted he had in fact done just that to try and get ahead of upcoming revelations about Andrew. 

Stelter said in response: ‘Monday’s revelations cast some doubt on his statement about his interactions with the press,’ indicating that Chris’s contradiction had been picked up by his bosses.’

Stelter’s piece could make tense reading for Cuomo, amid growing calls for the broadcaster to be fired, including from DailyMail.com columnist Meghan McCain.

She tweeted: ‘There are good people who work at @CNN. 

‘What the network is doing to so many hardworking people by continuing to employ @ChrisCuomo is nothing short of ethical malpractice. 

‘He is a disgrace to journalism and a national embarrassment who tarnishes every SINGLE person at @CNN.’   

Cuomo, who hosts Cuomo Prime Time on the network, was revealed on Monday to have had extensive communications with the crisis team working for his embattled brother,  former New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

Chris, 51, helped his 63-year-old brother’s team with inside information about forthcoming articles, and suggested how to handle the media response to allegations made by 12 women of sexual harassment.

The news anchor struggled this year to know how to handle the news, which broke in the spring and culminated with Andrew’s resignation in August. At times he refused to cover it entirely, while in other moments he defended his actions. He also apologized once it emerged that he had been helping his brother on media strategy. 

Newly-released texts from CNN host Chris Cuomo (right) reveal he helped strategize brother Andrew Cuomo's (left) response to the sexual harassment scandal earlier this year

Newly-released texts from CNN host Chris Cuomo (right) reveal he helped strategize brother Andrew Cuomo’s (left) response to the sexual harassment scandal earlier this year 

On March 1, Chris said that he was aware of the accusations about his brother, after a third woman came forward to accuse him. 

But he said he could not report on it.

‘Obviously I am aware of what is going on with my brother,’ he said. 

‘And obviously I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so.’

He then moved on, having thanked his audience ‘for being straight with me, and I’ve always been straight with you’. 

He said he ‘always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so.’

Several weeks of extremely uncomfortable handovers then ensued, as Chris refused to discuss the news – which at the time was a big story – while his co-hosts before and after discussed it extensively. 

Despite having said he did not want to talk about it, when news of his assistance for his brother emerged in May, Chris apologized to viewers and colleagues.

When the New York attorney general’s report was published, on August 3, Chris Cuomo pointedly refused to discuss it – even while it was the lead item on his colleagues’ shows. 

On August 16, shortly after Andrew resigned, Chris changed tack and addressed it again.

This time he defended his behavior, telling CNN viewers that he was not an adviser to the former governor, but rather: ‘I’m a brother.’ 

He added: ‘I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.’ 

Chris’s stated intention of ignoring the story, and then being forced repeatedly to address it, has led to the anchor having a torrid year, with frequent calls for him to be fired. 

In a statement to DailyMail.com on Monday evening, CNN said: ‘The thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits that were released today by the NY Attorney General deserve a thorough review and consideration. 

‘We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days.’ 

Stelter previously defended his colleague, telling Late Show host Stephen Colbert in August that he was concerned about the CNN anchor’s ‘odd conflict’ of interest.

Stelter is pictured in August on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Stelter is pictured in August on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Meghan McCain said that Chris Cuomo was a 'disgrace' to the network

Meghan McCain said that Chris Cuomo was a ‘disgrace’ to the network

‘It is an odd conflict,’ Stelter acknowledged. 

‘But I don’t think – if we open up the journalism ethics book, there’s no page for this.

‘The craziest set of circumstances that you can imagine, right? A governor and a brother, both in these high-profile jobs. 

‘This is definitely awkward for CNN, though.’

On Monday, Stelter was also supportive on Twitter when a journalism professor noted that Chris Cuomo failed to address the issue on his show that evening.

‘For what it’s worth, when Chris Cuomo addressed his actions on the air back in August, he said “this will be my final word on it,” and he hasn’t addressed the matter on TV since,’ said Stelter. 

Chris said on his show on Monday night: ‘I hope your Thanksgiving was a reminder for everybody of the good people, and the good things, in your life,’ he said.

‘Lord knows we could use the help, right?’

Chris Cuomo on Monday night ignored the subject of his own communications with his brother Andrew and his team earlier this year, during the then-governor's sexual harassment scandal

Chris Cuomo on Monday night ignored the subject of his own communications with his brother Andrew and his team earlier this year, during the then-governor’s sexual harassment scandal

Cuomo, 51, used the opening segment of his show to discuss the new COVID variant, Omicron, and accuse the media of having over-hyped the mutant strain

Cuomo, 51, used the opening segment of his show to discuss the new COVID variant, Omicron, and accuse the media of having over-hyped the mutant strain

The text messages, released by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, detailed Cuomo’s role in his brother’s public relations crisis as he told senior members of the governor’s team, ‘we are making mistakes we cant afford.’ 

In one text, on March 3, he also asked DeRosa to ‘please let me help with prep’.

He also crafted at least two statements for his brother, one regarding accuser Charlotte Bennett’s claims, and another on Andrew’s refusal to resign. Lines from the latter statement he provided by text were used by his brother.

Texts also revealed Chris Cuomo used his connections to find out about accusers, telling DeRosa he had ‘a lead on the wedding girl,’ in reference to Anna Ruch, who told The New York Times the governor became ‘aggressive’ toward her during a September 2019 wedding.

Other texts show that he asked another journalist for information on a story being written by Ronan Farrow for the New Yorker, which centered around Lindsey Boylan – whose story prompted other woman to come forward.   

Boylan, the first of 12 woman to publicly accuse the former governor of sexual harassment, shared a scathing take on the documents on Monday.

‘It’s almost as if a whole system is set up to protect powerful men from accountability,’ she tweeted. 

‘Two things I will never fully understand: how many people can let abuse after abuse happen without speaking up and how many people need to see a group of women cry on camera to believe we are telling the truth about that abuse.’

Boylan, a former Cuomo adviser, came forward publicly last December on Twitter to claim that the governor had sexually harassed her, made comments on her looks and at one point asked if she would play a game of strip poker with him.

Lindsey Boylan, the first of 12 woman to publicly accuse the former governor of sexual harassment, shared a scathing take on the documents Monday

Lindsey Boylan, the first of 12 woman to publicly accuse the former governor of sexual harassment, shared a scathing take on the documents Monday

She said on Twitter: 'it's almost as if a whole system is set up to protect powerful white men from accountability'

She said on Twitter: ‘it’s almost as if a whole system is set up to protect powerful white men from accountability’

Texts also revealed Cuomo used his connections to find out about accusers, telling DeRosa he 'a lead on the wedding girl,' in reference to Anna Ruch (left), who told The New York Times the governor became 'aggressive toward her during a September 2019 wedding

Texts also revealed Cuomo used his connections to find out about accusers, telling DeRosa he ‘a lead on the wedding girl,’ in reference to Anna Ruch (left), who told The New York Times the governor became ‘aggressive toward her during a September 2019 wedding

Melissa DeRosa, former secretary to the governor, exchanged dozens of messages with Chris Cuomo as her boss's sexual harassment scandal was unfolding

Melissa DeRosa, former secretary to the governor, exchanged dozens of messages with Chris Cuomo as her boss’s sexual harassment scandal was unfolding

She said he cupped her face in his hands and asked: ‘Can I kiss you?’

Cuomo later told investigators that he reached out to a ‘non-journalistic’ source while fishing for information on the wedding incident.

He also told investigators that as the scandal exploded, he reached out other journalists to learn whether other complainants might come forward.

The text exchange at one point turned to Farrow, who won the Pulitzer Prize and helped launch the #MeToo movement after his reporting on disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. 

Investigators asked Cuomo during the investigation about a March 2021 text where he wrote to DeRosa: ‘If Ronan has nothing better – better than Boylan, that’s a great sign’.

Texts show Andrew Cuomo's team was worried about an article journalist Ronan Farrow (pictured) was working on, and asked his brother to look into it

Texts show Andrew Cuomo’s team was worried about an article journalist Ronan Farrow (pictured) was working on, and asked his brother to look into it 

He later elaborated to investigators that ‘the concern was that Ronan always has more people. You know, I mean, that’s part of his currency as a journalist, is that people come to him to expand understandings. I know he has his critics. But, to me, that’s when he’s at his best.

‘So the assumption was he must have new people if he’s waiting so long to have written about this. And then he didn’t. So, what the context is specifically is: I had heard that all he was writing – the only person he was writing about was Lindsey Boylan.’

Chris Cuomo told investigators that his brother’s team was ‘very concerned’ with the impending story and that the piece was discussed after it was published on March 18.

‘When Ronan Farrow writes, something, people in the media are going to talk about it,’ he said.

Anna Ruch, now 33, met Andrew Cuomo at her friends’ wedding in September 2019. He was photographed cupping her face

He said he discussed the article with his brother after it was published March 18. 

‘[The conversation was] just asking him, you know, how  how he felt about it, what was in it,’ Chris Cuomo told investigators. 

‘And him asking me what did I think the impact of it was. 

‘He said that he didn’t think the article was fair, that she was being propped up and – you know, that’s it.’

In another exchange, DeRosa asked Chris Cuomo about a ‘rumor going around from politico 1-2 more ppl coming out tomorrow’. 

She also asked him to check his sources, to which he responded, ‘no one has heard yet’. 

Though he admitted to researching forthcoming accusers, he vehemently denied to investigators setting out to discredit them.

‘I would never do oppo research on anybody alleging anything like this,’ he told investigators. 

‘I’m not in the oppo research business. I don’t tolerate a lot of oppo research on any level.’

When asked to define ‘oppo research’, he said: ‘the idea of trying to find ways to disparage people who come forward with allegations like this is not what I’m about.’

The text exchanges contradict Chris Cuomo’s claims to investigators that he had ‘irregular contact’ with DeRosa. 

His testimony was subject to the penalty of perjury. 

He on March 12 sent her a text, dictating how the governor should respond to calls for his resignation.

‘READ THIS,’ Cuomo said. ‘I will not resign. I cannot resign. I am in a different position and I am working with a different standard than these other politicians I understand why they have to say what they are saying. 

‘I understand the political pressure I understand the stakes of political warfare, and that’s what this is… And I understand the conformity that can be forced by cancel culture.’  

Pages of texts messages released by AG Letitia James shows how Chris Cuomo strategized with his brother Andrew's office, specifically with top aide Melissa DeRosa

Pages of texts messages released by AG Letitia James shows how Chris Cuomo strategized with his brother Andrew’s office, specifically with top aide Melissa DeRosa

Discussions centered around Andrew Cuomo stepping down prompted the governor to consider doing so in March, Cuomo said.

‘I told him, ‘If you have done nothing that you believe was wrong, don’t resign,’ Cuomo told investigators. ‘Because resigning is you saying that you did something wrong. Don’t do it.’

Pages of texts show Cuomo strategizing the former governor’s response to the allegations with DeRosa. 

In one exchange he questions why one of his statements on Charlotte Bennett’s claims were not used, asking DeRosa: ‘What happened to the statement?’

He sent a follow-up message March 1.

It read: ‘Here’s what he should have said: ‘I have carefully considered Ms. Bennett’s statement and my own conduct. I don’t dispute that our conversation was as she reports. I also do not dispute that my words and supervisory position may have created a hostile work environment. I apologize to Ms. Bennett and will promptly seek to personally communicate my apology to her. I also apologize to the people of New York State, who have a right to better conduct from their Governor. This will not happen again.” 

Cuomo also sent DeRosa a later statement which his brother used lines from in responding to the allegations against him.   

DeRosa said during her deposition that she talked to Cuomo ‘pretty regularly’ during the scandal and the kept firing over advice that nobody asked for. 

‘Chris sends me a lot of things a lot of the time,’ she told investigators. ‘Half of it I don’t engage in. He gives unsolicited advice.’  

Last week, Andrew Cuomo was condemned as a sex pest who committed multiple impeachable offenses in a new official report.

The investigation, by New York’s state assembly’s judiciary committee, was released November 22 and found ‘overwhelming evidence’ that Cuomo sexually harassed 12 women. 




Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button