So, should Chris Cuomo be fired after these revelations? I mean, everyone and their mother has noted Cuomo's very inappropriate behavior concerning how he handled the sexual harassment allegations against his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He's also been officially charged with one of those groping charges. Mr. Cuomo, the elder, was a little grabby with his female staff and now he's facing the consequences. Erik Wemple of The Washington Post had a great piece in August about the ethical lines that were crossed by CNN's Cuomo during this scandal. Wemple even said that there is ground for the network to launch an investigation into this conduct (via WaPo):
…there is no optics problem. It’s all substance. The network acknowledged as much earlier this year when it issued a statement scolding Chris Cuomo for having participated in conference calls to assist Andrew Cuomo: "Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes. In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother. However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward.” (Chris Cuomo apologized on air for the lapse.)
More substance: The Post reported in May that Chris Cuomo, in his discussions with his brother’s support group, “encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not to resign from the governor’s office, the people [familiar with the conversations] said. At one point, he used the phrase ‘cancel culture’ as a reason to hold firm in the face of the allegations, two people present on one call said.” (We put several questions before Stelter, who declined to respond on the record; Stelter did ask to interview Chris Cuomo but was turned down.)
Another non-optics problem for CNN emerges from the attorney general’s report itself: The fellow to whom Chris Cuomo provided crisis-management advice has spent years, per the testimony of his own employees, ruining women’s careers with his sexually suggestive comments and his groping mitts. The 168-page report is redundant and tedious, through no fault of its drafters; the governor reportedly repeated his abusive behavior with victim after victim.
The AG report, of course, focuses on Andrew Cuomo’s conduct, not Chris Cuomo’s. That’s why CNN needs to commission a report of its own to determine just how its star anchor fit into this sexual harassment pushback effort. What, precisely, did he say in the conference calls? Was he aware that the executive chamber had provided false information to the Albany Times-Union as the paper explored the predicament of “Trooper #1”? What role did he play in the governor’s denials?
And what have we learned that's new today? Oh, only that Chris used his sources in the media to find information about his brother's accusers and was in contact with his brother's top staffers about it (via CNBC):
CNN host Chris Cuomo used his sources in the media world to seek information on women who accused his brother Andrew Cuomo, then the governor of New York, of sexual harassment, according to documents released Monday by the New York Attorney General’s Office.
While Chris Cuomo has previously acknowledged advising his brother and his team on the response to the scandals, the records show that his role in helping the then-governor was much larger and more intimate than previously known.
Chris Cuomo was actively in touch with Melissa DeRosa, who was the then-governor’s top aide, about incoming media reports that detailed alleged sexual harassment by Andrew Cuomo, according to exhibits from the Attorney General’s probe and a transcript of his interview with the state’s investigators. He also lobbied to help the governor’s office as it sought to weather the storm of accusations, and he dictated statements for the then-governor to use.
“Please let me help with the prep,” Chris Cuomo said to DeRosa in one message in early March. Then, three days after the New York Times reported in March about how Andrew Cuomo attempted to kiss a woman, Anna Ruch, in an unwanted advance at a wedding, Chris Cuomo texted DeRosa: “I have a lead on the wedding girl.”
DeRosa and Chris Cuomo also discussed in March a yet-to-be published story from New Yorker investigative reporter Ronan Farrow. The article ran March 18.
Prior to that, DeRosa asked Chris Cuomo to check with his sources about the Farrow piece. The records do not show a direct response from Chris Cuomo agreeing to check with his sources. But on March 14, four days be the story was published, he texted DeRosa: “If If ronan has nothing better than boylan thats a great sign.”
“Did u get any more intel?,” DeRosa asked him a day later. “Story not ready for tomorrow,” Chris Cuomo responded that day.
Yeah, unlike what some people at this network say, journalists do pick sides—all the time. You all know this. This isn't new, but this griping mess the Cuomo brothers got themselves into just shows how far they will go to protect one another. Oh, he did it to help his brother? Yes—and that's precisely why Chris should get into a lot of trouble over this operation.
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