WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- CNN’s Chris Cuomo confessed on Monday that he “obviously” cannot cover the controversies involving his brother and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
- Chris admitted that he “profoundly” cares about the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding his brother.
- Journalist professors raised ethical implications of Chris’ previous coverage of the governor.
During his CNN show on Monday, anchor Chris Cuomo told the viewers that he “obviously” cannot report the news about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), his brother.
The governor has been recently accused of sexual harassment by three women and is facing calls for impeachment due to his pandemic management which concealed the COVID-19 death tolls in nursing homes.
It was an awkward coverage for CNN, which aired segments where the two brothers had banter on several occasions during the start of the virus outbreak. The exchange captivated some viewers as ethical experts questioned Chris’ involvement in such coverage.
“Obviously, I’m aware of what’s going on with my brother,” Chris said Monday. “Obviously, I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course, CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively and they will continue to do so.”
The 50-year-old news anchor said that he “profoundly” cares about the sexual harassment claims of the women who have accused his 63-year-old brother.
After joining the network in 2013, Chris had been prevented by CNN to cover stories about his older brother for a simple journalistic rule: a viewer can’t expect a reporter to objectively deliver a report about his/her own relative.
Last March, however, the network forewent the rule. As Chris contracted the virus and continued his newscast from his basement in his residence, New York was the epicenter of the pandemic. The daily briefings by the governor were a TV hit and the network opted to make the two brothers face each other on-air to the delight of its audience.
In late June, CNN took back the rule.
“The situation CNN finds itself in illustrates why journalists should not deviate or make exceptions, even well-intentioned ones, from fairly well-established principles of journalistic ethics,” Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin ethics director Scott Stroud said.
According to Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication professor Jacqueline Jones, Chris should have been well-reminded about the implications of his doing.
“Too much of broadcast and cable news programming has blurred the lines between straight news, punditry, and entertainment,” Jones said. “It confuses viewers and strains credulity for the networks and their show hosts about the straightforwardness of their reporting.”
Per Northwestern University journalism professor Steven Thrasher, it would have been better if Chris would take a backseat and let someone take over his show for the time being.
The Cuomo siblings are sons of the late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. Their father, who is a Democrat, served for three terms way back in the 1980s to 90s.
Andrew is now on his third term as the Empire State’s governor.
Source: The AP