CNN has been strongly criticized by a panelist on the network’s own air for anchor Chris Cuomo’s fawning interviews with his brother Andrew, which were described as ‘a major black eye for this network’.
Erik Wemple, The Washington Post’s media critic, appeared on the media review show Reliable Sources on CNN on Sunday morning.
Wemple and several other panelists were discussing coverage of the sexual harassment scandals involving Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York. Seven women have now accused him of inappropriate behavior. He is also facing a separate inquiry into his handling of COVID patients who lived in nursing homes, and a possible cover-up of the death toll.
Erik Wemple appeared on CNN on Sunday to discuss coverage of Andrew Cuomo
Wemple said that the ‘elephant in the room’ was Chris Cuomo’s interviews with his brother
Chris Cuomo produced a giant swab to mock his brother’s televised COVID test
Chris Cuomo said last week that he could not cover the growing scandal – although his CNN colleagues have.
Wemple said that the network was operating on a double standard, whereby Cuomo could recuse himself when the story was uncomfortable for his brother, but was allowed to use his show to boost him.
‘I would be remiss, Brian, if I didn’t mention CNN’s own huge media story here with Chris Cuomo,’ Wemple said.
He recalled all those ‘wonderful love-a-thon interviews’.
‘They suspended the conflict-of-interest rule for Chris Cuomo for those interviews, yet all of a sudden they’ve enforced it again now that Andrew Cuomo is in the midst of an historic scandal in the Albany state house,’ Wemple said.
‘It is a major black eye for this network.’
Wemple (top right) said the network had ‘a major black eye’ over the Cuomo interviews
Cuomo was seen on Friday pacing the grounds of the governor’s mansion wrapped in a blanket
Wemple has been criticizing CNN’s decision to have Chris Cuomo interview his brother for some time.
Last month, he reported that Andrew Cuomo, 63, made more than 10 appearances on his 50-year-old brother’s show, Cuomo Prime Time.
Wemple noted with sarcasm: ‘The heartwarming moments stick out.’
He recalled how, in May, Chris Cuomo presented a gigantic test swab to joke about the governor’s televised coronavirus test.
Andrew Cuomo appeared on Chris Cuomo’s show at least 10 times over the summer
CNN explained that they lifted a 2013 rule to allow the two brothers to appear together
They laughed about their parents: At the end of one appearance, Chris Cuomo thanked his brother for coming on the air.
‘Mom told me I had to,’ replied the governor.
In late June, Chris Cuomo admitted: ‘Me having you on the show is an unusual thing. We’ve never really done it. But this was an unusual time.’
He acknowledged he could not be independent, saying: ‘I’m wowed by what you did. And, more importantly, I’m wowed by how you did it.’
He tweeted frequent praise of his brother, calling him ‘the Luv Guv’.
Wemple wrote: ‘But in ‘unusual times,’ principles of journalism merit even more rigorous adherence, not an expedient suspension. Those ‘unusual times,’ after all, include the past few weeks, during which Andrew Cuomo’s management of covid-19 all of a sudden doesn’t look so wow-worthy.’
He continued: ”Cuomo Prime Time,’ after all, brands itself as a locus of chest-beating integrity and righteousness.
‘Yet the asymmetrical coverage of his brother — over-the-top praise when the governor is up; silence when he’s down — is indistinct from the model that CNN (quite rightly) accused conservative media outlets, including Fox News, of following vis-à-vis the Trump administration.’
CNN told Wemple: ‘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.
‘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. CNN has covered the news surrounding Governor Cuomo extensively.’