CNN confirmed this week it has reinstated a ban on host Chris Cuomo covering his brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), whose administration is facing immense political fallout for covering up the number of coronavirus-related fatalities in nursing homes. Past coverage, CNN asserted, was of “significant human interest.”
“The early months of the pandemic crisis were an extraordinary time. 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,” a spokesperson for CNN said in a statement following mounting criticisms over Chris Cuomo failing to cover his brother’s ongoing nursing home scandal.
CNN noted that it made an exception last year, allowing the host to interview and cover his brother. Evidently, the state’s nursing home fallout is not of “significant human interest” — at least to the level of allowing Chris Cuomo to cover it — per CNN’s statement. The network, however, defended its overall coverage, contending that other shows have covered the Cuomo administration’s nursing home fallout.
“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,” the spokesperson said, adding, “CNN has covered the news surrounding Governor Cuomo extensively.”
Indeed, CNN allowed Chris Cuomo to cover and interview his brother frequently last year throughout the pandemic. The left-wing Atlantic described the interviews as “funny, as the brothers dredged up old beefs, and became poignant when Chris contracted COVID-19.” The brothers faced backlash over a May interview specifically, which saw the younger Cuomo display a giant cotton swab to mock the size of his brother’s nose when talking about coronavirus testing:
Instead of asking his brother, @NYGovCuomo why he decided to pack COVID patients into nursing homes, killing untold amounts of people, @ChrisCuomo pulled out oversized, prop cotton swabs to mock how big his brother's nose was. This is the state of "journalism" on @CNN. Pathetic! pic.twitter.com/undeQMyVeN
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) May 21, 2020
But now, as Cuomo’s administration faces mounting questions over its nursing home coverup following a top aide admitting that they covered up data due to fears of a federal investigation, the younger Cuomo has remained silent, failing to cover the story on Cuomo Prime Time.
While the Democrat governor has refused to apologize, maintaining that his administration did nothing wrong, a New York assemblyman is accusing Cuomo of threatening to “destroy” him for failing to sufficiently defend the administration amid the fallout.
The governor, Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) said, called and threatened him “if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said.”
“He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim, who has since hired a lawyer, told CNN.
“At some point he tried to humiliate me, asking: ‘Are you a lawyer? I didn’t think so. You’re not a lawyer.’ It almost felt like in retrospect he was trying to bait me and anger me and say something inappropriate. I’m glad I didn’t,” he added.