Let's be unequivocal, right out of the gate: We are thrilled that CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has apparently recovered from his Coronavirus infection -- and we send additional well wishes to his wife, who he says has also recovered. It is also heartening to see that ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos is evidently handling his COVID-19 diagnosis well. Full stop. But as the country debates the appropriate timetable and pace for 'reopening,' with many New York and DC-based journalists harshly criticizing governors and local officials for taking steps like reopening certain beaches and businesses, it is profoundly unhelpful to the credibility of the news media that these two prominent national news anchors who tested positive for Coronavirus were both spotted breaking their respective quarantines.
Cuomo, the younger brother of New York's governor, left his home in the Hamptons over Easter weekend, while he had the virus. According to his own account, he was accosted by a bicyclist who was furious to see Cuomo in public. Karol Markowicz has more in her latest New York Post column:
It doesn’t help that the lockdown rules don’t quite apply equally to everyone. Cuomo’s brother, Chris, came down with COVID-19 and has been broadcasting his CNN show — featuring grossly obsequious coverage of the governor — from his house in Southampton. Last week, Chris announced that his wife, Cristina, had also tested positive for the virus. Who knows how that happened? But it’s disconcerting enough that Chris has blatantly not been quarantining. A few days before the announcement about his wife, Chris was seen in East Hampton, a 30-minute drive from his home, visiting a property of his that is under construction. He had a verbal altercation with a bicyclist who, correctly, asked what he was doing outside.
That was published before the CNN host staged a made-for-TV "emergence" from his basement -- his quarantine complete, he said, after CDC approval:
Markowicz reviews the timeline and declares this performance propaganda:
April 14- He discusses with Sanjay Gupta that he has NOT gone without fever for 72 hours which Gupta says is what doctors look for to allow someone to leave isolation. Cuomo appears fully aware of that guideline. Cuomo says he went 60 hours. https://t.co/XiGQgLFGwn— Karol Markowicz (@karol) April 21, 2020
What do I want? Why am I so incensed by all this? I'm so angry at this theater that Chris and CNN have put on. Emerging from the basement yesterday? Disgusting. People have died from this and he's blatantly breaking quarantine and then putting on this show as if he hadn't.— Karol Markowicz (@karol) April 21, 2020
Based on his own public statements, it seems undeniable that Cuomo violated his quarantine while knowingly COVID-19 positive and symptomatic, went out in public, and was reportedly in close proximity to at least one person who was not a member of his family. Then, days later, he made a big show of 'graduating' from quarantine on his primetime show, as if his against-the-rules field trip had never happened. That is not good. Here's another bad -- if less egregious, from what we know -- example:
George Stephanopoulos had already irked Hamptons residents by going out in public after his wife contracted COVID-19 — but now the “Good Morning America” anchor is battling the virus himself and is ignoring mandates to wear a mask in public. The pale-looking ABC newsman was spotted by The Post on Monday afternoon taking a stroll in East Hampton, engrossed in a long conversation on his mobile phone with a mask hanging around his neck. One outraged witness said Stephanopoulos — who announced he tested positive for the virus last week after his wife, Ali Wentworth, contracted it — was seen leaving his Hamptons home in a pair of shorts and walking for about a mile along East Hampton lanes, with his mask down the entire time. The witness said, “For somebody who reports on the pandemic every day, and is broadcasting guidelines about safe social distancing, George didn’t really seem to care...He tested positive, his wife tested positive, why can’t he follow the local mandates to wear a mask in public, why can’t he just stay home?”
On Sunday, Stephanopoulos asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about how the tech giant plans to handle social media posts and pages seeking to organize protest rallies against stay-at-home orders, wondering if such efforts to gather represent "harmful misinformation." It's an interesting question, but it's harder to stomach coming from a multimillionaire who has been walking around in public despite having Coronavirus. My thoughts on the demonstrations are very well summarized in this Allahpundit post. Some participants are deeply irresponsible cranks. Others are just normal people who desperately need to get back to work. It's already for difficult for millions of Americans who are at least somewhat sympathetic to this cause to listen to stern lectures from media figures who remain comfortably employed.
It must be positively unbearable for them to listen to the same lectures from media figures, living in hotspots, who are flouting guidelines even when they literally have the disease themselves. It's hard to imagine a more pungent example of above-the-rules, do-as-I-sayism than this. If the press is remotely concerned about the toxic, growing disconnect between elite media figures and average news consumers, they should understand how terrible these optics are. I'll leave you with another Cuomo in need of a remedial course in Coronavirus mitigation:
NY Gov. Cuomo's daughter comes under fire for failing to wear a face mask properly https://t.co/112m3XJhuD— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) April 21, 2020
Parting thought: If it had been a Fox News personality caught breaking quarantine while infected, how would the rest of the media have reacted? How many segments would CNN have run on it? Might we even have been treated to a special emergency edition of the newsletter?
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