Text and email messages between former CNN executive Allison Gollust and former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reveal how deep the Democrats and the network coordinated with each other, with one case looking to be an effort to make former President Donald Trump look bad.
In a recently published story from Rolling Stone, Cuomo reportedly texted Gollust, who briefly worked for him prior to working at CNN, to have former top boss Jeff Zucker call him before appearing on CNN later in the day to respond to Trump suggesting to quarantine New York during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic:
"'Ask Jeff to call me plz.' Zucker’s representatives say he has 'no record' of speaking to Cuomo that day. Regardless, Cuomo landed on a talking point sure to grab Trump’s attention.
"About 30 minutes before Cuomo appeared on CNN by remote feed, Gollust emailed a programing staffer, cc’ing Zucker, and offered the governor as a last-minute guest to talk about Trump’s proposed quarantine. She then told Zucker that the governor would like to speak with him. When the segment ended, Gollust texted Cuomo: 'Well done?.?.?.?Cuomo-W. Trump-L.'
"Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for both Zucker and Gollust, says in a statement that 'Jeff never advised Andrew Cuomo,' and that the notion that Gollust was 'laundering advice to the Governor' was 'far-fetched' and 'patently ridiculous.' But two sources familiar with the matter dispute this. To observers both outside and inside CNN, the network brass’s interactions with the governor represented the worst kind of journalistic lapse — 'one of the most clear-cut ethical breaches you could think of,' says University of Missouri journalism professor Ryan Thomas. News outlets are supposed to expose the wrongdoings of politicians, not serve as their publicists. That’s especially true for the network that bills itself as 'The Most Trusted Name in News.'"
Texts between Gollust, who was having an affair with Zucker, and Cuomo appeared to go beyond advice-giving, as some read to be sexual in nature:
"Two sources familiar with the matter say Gollust and the governor exchanged texts in which they agreed to meet up for drinks on multiple occasions in 2019 and 2020. In early 2020, several months after his split from partner Sandra Lee, Cuomo asked Gollust, 'You don’t want to see me now that I’m single?' She replied, 'A drink with you would be the best date I’ve had in a while.' Four months later, he fired off a text to Gollust suggesting he be her 'pool boy.' She responded that she’d welcome that scenario, and they set up a call. When their texting resumed, Gollust wrote, 'That was fun. Sleep well.'"
Spokespeople for Cuomo and Gollust told Rolling Stone they had a friendship but never had a sexual relationship, with Gollust's Spokesperson telling Rolling Stone the suggestion was "disgusting, sexist, and patently false."
Zucker stepped down from his post in February, claiming the reason was because of his undisclosed affair with Gollust, though it was apparently an open secret at the network and there was more reasons for why Zucker and Gollust could no longer work at CNN.