CNN has allegedly reinstated a ban on host Chris Cuomo interviewing his brother, Andrew, despite allowing the New York governor to appear on his show more than ten times last year.
The network was questioned by the Washington Post on Tuesday after Chris, 50, failed to mention his 63-year-old brother while addressing the biggest stories related to COVID-19 on his show the previous night.
The host’s silence came just hours after the governor had finally addressed in a press conference the latest scandal surrounding his handling of the data involving COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes.
And as Democrats continued to turn against the governor, with nine state assembly members on Tuesday accusing him of an ‘obstruction of justice’.
The Post had criticized CNN for allowing Chris to deliver ‘over-the-top praise when the governor is up; silence when he’s down’, after the host completely ignored the press conference, which had been among the main coronavirus stories of the day.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared on his young brother Chris’ CNN show more than ten times last year despite the network’s 2013 ban on his interviewing family members
CNN has said the ban is still in place as Chris suddently stops covering stories involving his brother just the governor finds himself further marred in scandal. They are pictured in 2018
Not objective but true,the facts tell the story.NY had & has its struggles but they’re doing way better than what we see elsewhere & no way that happens without the Luv Guv dishing the real 24/7.He works with relentless intensity & NY’s better for it.And as a brother, I am proud. pic.twitter.com/M1TrAtQwCo
The host’s silence after the governor finally addressed in a press conference the latest scandal surrounding his handling of the data involving COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes
CNN said in a statement to the publication that they had earlier allowed the host to break the rules on him interviewing family members as the first 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,’ it added.
‘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 network also argued that it has ‘covered the news surrounding Governor Cuomo extensively’.
Criticism had begun online last Friday after CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Erin Burnett covered the story, with Tapper tweeting that it ‘keeps getting worse’, but Chris instead dedicated his entire show to Donald Trump’s impeachment trial
The decision to now continue to ban after an extended break comes after months of praise being heaped on the governor by his brother in more than ten appearances on his show.
In one interview on June 24, Chris readily admitted that he was incapable of objectively when it came to his brother.
‘I’m wowed by what you did. And, more importantly, I’m wowed by how you did it, very hard I know it’s not over,’ he said.
‘Obviously, I love you as my brother. Obviously, I’m not able to be objective. Obviously, I think you’re the best politician in the country but I hope you feel good about what you did for your people.’
Earlier in the segment, he had also acknowledged that Andrew should not be allowed on the show.
Chris had previously acknowledged himself that he was unable of objectivity
The interviews say the brothers joking and praising each other
In one segment, Chris admitted that he regarded Andrew as America’s best politician. They are pictured together above in a photo the governor shared for Mother’s Day last year
‘I always won’t be able to keep having you on the show, it won’t be seen as fair in people’s eyes and we both get that and that’s ok,’ he said.
Yet proceeded to gush in his eagerness to heap praise on his brother stating: ‘I hope you’re able to recognize what even I’m able to recognize being spawned by the same wolf pack.
‘I hope you are able to appreciate what you did in your state and what it will mean for the country now and what it will always mean to those who love and care about you most.’
Cuomo’s pandemic: A timeline of the governor’s response to the COVID-19 crisis
MARCH 1: Female nurse, 39, returning from Iran becomes the first in New York to test positive for COVID-19.
MARCH 2: Cuomo gives the first of 111 consecutive daily televised briefings for New Yorkers
MARCH 13: Donald Trump declares national emergency.
MARCH 14: An 82-year-old woman with emphysema is announced as the first patient to die from the virus.
MARCH 17: New York City mayor Bill de Blasio says city should follow San Francisco with a shelter-in-place order; Cuomo says it will be statewide: ‘As a matter of fact, I’m going so far that I don’t even think you can do a statewide policy.’
MARCH 19: California Governor Gavin Newsom issues first statewide lockdown order
MARCH 22: Cuomo signs statewide stay-at-home order.
MARCH 25: Cuomo orders that nursing homes accept convalescent COVID patients back into their facilities.
MAY 10: The nursing home ruling is reversed, to insist on a negative COVID test before return to a nursing home. By now, more than 9,000 people have returned to nursing homes.
AUGUST: Questions begin to be asked about the nursing home policy.
AUGUST 26: Department of Justice opens an investigation into New York’s nursing homes and COVID policy.
OCTOBER 13: Cuomo publishes American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
OCTOBER 21: Cuomo announced a policy of isolating identified ‘micro clusters’ of COVID cases.
NOVEMBER 20: Cuomo wins an Emmy ‘in recognition of his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world’.
JANUARY 28: Attorney General Letitia James released a report finding that New York under-reported the number of deaths among nursing home patients by around 50 per cent, with 15,000 actually dying – not the 8,500 reported.
FEBRUARY 11: Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s secretary, admits that in August they ‘froze’ when asked for nursing home data, and dragged their heels on releasing it. The AP reports that more than 9,000 people were returned to nursing homes to recover from COVID in the period March 25-May 10, a figure 40 per cent higher than the official tally.
The pair also shared anecdotes of their late father Mario Cuomo, a former New York Mayor, in what was viewed by some as a heartwarming interaction and by others as a break from journalism ethics.
‘Not objective but true,’ Chris wrote in a tweet as he shared a clip of the interview in which he branded his brother the ‘Luv Guv’.
‘The facts tell the story. NY had & has its struggles but they’re doing way better than what we see elsewhere & no way that happens without the Luv Guv dishing the real 24/7.
‘He works with relentless intensity & NY’s better for it. And as a brother, I am proud,’ Chris added.
The CNN host also appeared at the governor’s press conferences where they again shared anecdotes about their father and joked with each other about their family life.
It came after Chris was himself diagnosed with COVID-19 and continued to document his battle against the virus through his nightly show and at the press briefings.
The governor’s appearances on CNN have long been criticized by conservative rival Fox but are now also receiving backlash from the more liberal Washington Post in light of the sudden restarting of the ban.
Media columnist Erik Wemple said that even CNN’s explanation for why they allowed the governor to appear initially is an ‘expression of the problem itself’.
‘You can’t nullify a rule when your star anchor’s brother is flying high, only to invoke it during times of scandal. You just can’t,’ Wemple wrote.
‘Now the rule is back, conveniently at a time when the governor is getting a battered for his mishandling of this tragedy,’ he said.
Chris’ lack of coverage on the governor comes just as the elder Cuomo brother is facing intense backlash over the nursing homes scandal.
On Tuesday, nine Democratic state assembly members issued a letter to their colleagues in which they asked other Assembly members for support in stripping Cuomo of his emergency pandemic powers.
They accused the governor of a federal obstruction of justice in his handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
‘It is now unambiguously clear that this governor has engaged in an intentional obstruction of justice, as outlined in Title 18, Chapter 73 of the United States Code,’ the letter reads.
It warns that if they don’t act, ‘then we too shall be complicit along with this administration in the obstruction of justice and conscious omission of nursing homes death data’.
‘We must absolutely consider above all the sanctity of the democratic institution that we call the Legislature of the State of New York, and resolutely pursue justice in the face of an executive who we can say without hesitation has engaged in criminal wronging.’
The letter came after last week’s revelation by the New York Post that Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa told state Democrats in a video conference call that the administration had feared COVID-19 deaths in nursing home could ‘be used against us’ as the Justice Department investigates New York and three other states.
State lawmakers have since been calling for investigations, stripping Cuomo of his emergency powers and even his resignation after new details emerged about why certain nursing home data wasn’t disclosed for months.
More than 15,000 people have died in New York state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities from COVID-19, but as recently as last month, the state reported only 8,500 deaths.
Gov. Cuomo has remained defiant and placed the blame for the nursing home scandal on a ‘lack of information’ despite the revelation last week that his administration had hidden the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the facilities. Pictured, medical workers attend to a patient outside Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in New York City inn May 2020
Cuomo slammed ‘conspiracy theories’ around the scandal as he stated in a press conference that his March order on nursing homes was the subject of ‘distortion’. Pictured, a patient is wheeled out of the Cobble Hill Health Center by emergency medical workers in April 2020
The numbers, while accounted for in the full state death totals to the state, were not ascribed to nursing homes for residents who died in hospitals rather than within the facilities.
In January, Democratic state Attorney General Letitia James released the findings of a report about the administration’s failure to tally nursing home residents’ deaths at hospitals.
It was only after the report’s publication, the state finally acknowledged the total number of long-term care residents’ deaths is nearly 15,000, up from the 8,500 previously disclosed.
That followed a Freedom of Information request showing that more than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients in New York were released from hospitals into nursing homes in the pandemic’s early months.
This was more than 40 percent higher than the state had said previously because it wasn’t counting residents who returned from hospitals to homes where they already had lived.
Yet even with Democrats abandoning Cuomo this week, he remained unapologetic during a press conference on Monday.
Last week it emerged that Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa (pictured left) reportedly said that Cuomo’s administration had feared that the COVID-19 deaths in nursing home could ‘be used against us’ as the Justice Department investigates New York and three other states
He claimed that a ‘toxic political environment’ is to blame for the backlash he has received over the nursing home scandal.
The governor also slammed ‘conspiracy theories’ and said that his March order on nursing homes was the subject of ‘distortion’ and not responsible for bringing coronavirus – and more deaths – into long-term care facilities.
The order, which Cuomo said followed expert guidelines at the time, stated that COVID-19 patients could be sent back from hospitals to nursing homes, as it was believed then that they were not infectious anymore.
Families claimed it added to the number of deaths, yet Cuomo claimed that 98 percent of the care homes already had COVID-19 in the building before the sick patients were sent back there – and that he was not responsible.
Cuomo insisted Monday the state didn’t cover up deaths but acknowledged that officials should have moved faster to release some information sought by lawmakers, the public and the press.
‘All the deaths in the nursing homes and hospitals were always fully, publicly and accurately reported,’ he claimed.
He explained the matter as a difference of ‘categorization,’ with the state counting where deaths occurred and others seeking total deaths of nursing home residents, regardless of the location.
‘We should have done a better job of providing as much information as we could as quickly as we could,’ he said. ‘No excuses: I accept responsibility for that.’