Somebody send over to CNN and their media reporters Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter the journalistic ethics guide. Not the whole thing; just page one. Or maybe just paragraph one. Circle the part that says, “It is unethical to use your journalistic position to obtain special favors from public officials.”
Then ask: Why hasn’t Chris Cuomo been fired? What he’s done is the very definition of corruption. Look it up in your Merriam-Webster: there’s now a picture of Chris Cuomo holding up a giant cotton swab.
If, during the darkest days of the pandemic, Donald Trump had taken scarce COVID tests away from NIH and ordered the Secret Service to take them over to Ivanka’s house to get her and the family tested, CNN would have done five solid days of coverage demanding impeachment for abuse of office.
We now know that Andrew Cuomo was doing this for his baby brother and other family members and cronies, speeding their tests to the front of the line in a state that at the time was capable of running only a few hundred tests a day for its 19 million people. The reaction from CNN at this is “Hey, Chris is only human.”
Here’s the unbelievable, unapologetic, straight-from-Marie-Antoinette’s-press-office official statement:
“When Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would.”
Cool, but not every human being is the brother of the governor of New York. Chris Cuomo is supposed to be, as a CNN employee, a representative of the people who poses tough, or at least interesting, questions to those in power. Instead, throughout the pandemic he has acted like a flack for a close family member who is a high-ranking public official. Then he acted like a guy who was entitled to special favors from that same elected official.
None of this is close to acting like a journalist. Chris Cuomo works for the CuoBroShow and Andrew Cuomo is happy to be the leading man, winning himself an Emmy and a book deal rumored to be $3 million. (For selling 46,000 books, or $65 per copy).
Andrew Cuomo’s coverups, abuses of power and disastrous decisions are now piling up before the legislature. CNN treated him like he was family, because he is. But CNN can’t fire Andrew Cuomo. Only Albany can do that. What it could do is signal that its broadcasters are required to play it straight.
Instead, it shrugs. Chris is only human, after all, and a thing human beings do is . . . cheat.