The lighter days of CNN’s Cuomo Brothers show are behind us

NEW YORK (AP) – Some TV shows age much better than others.

For CNN, last spring’s primetime jokes between Chris Cuomo and his older brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, look worse in hindsight as the governor’s administration is questioned about its role in not disclosing. the actual number of COVID-19 nursing homes. deceased.

CNN is covering that story, but not on the Chris Cuomo show. The network said it had reinstated a ban on Cuomo from interviewing or doing stories about his brother that he temporarily lifted last spring.

Both brothers were the center of attention last March. Chris Cuomo caught COVID-19 and continued to host his show from his basement as the governor grappled with New York’s hellish days as the nation’s first coronavirus epicenter. Andrew Cuomo’s almost daily briefing was widely televised and, for some viewers, adopted as a counterpoint to those of former President Donald Trump.

Nine times between March 19 and June 24, 2020, the governor appeared on his brother’s show. The trash talk and brotherly love between the two Italians from Queens was funny, if occasionally cheesy.Like when Chris Cuomo poked fun at his brother’s big nose with a giant cotton swab, he said he would need to be tested for COVID-19.

“I found these interviews very entertaining, and maybe Chris could ask his brother questions that other people can’t,” said Roy Gutterman, professor of media law at Syracuse University. “But from the beginning, I thought it was wildly inappropriate.

“It’s Journalism 101,” he said. “We tell our students not to interview their family and friends.”

Politics avoids a conflict of interest: can one really expect one sibling to ask another sibling? – or at least the appearance of one.

Through a spokeswoman, CNN said the first months of the pandemic were an extraordinary time.

“We felt that Chris, talking to his brother about the challenges facing millions of American families, was of great human interest,” CNN said. “As a result, we made an exception to a rule we had in place since 2013 that prevents Chris from interviewing his brother, and that rule remains in effect today.”

Largely bubbling under the radar for months, questions about Andrew Cuomo have come to the fore in recent weeks. The New York attorney general issued a report saying the administration minimized the number of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19 by excluding those who died elsewhere, usually a hospital.

This was significant due to a directive from the Cuomo administration in March that nursing homes should not deny admission or readmission to a patient because they had COVID-19. The policy was terminated two months later.

Keeping the true number of nursing home residents who died hidden would theoretically deflect any blame for a poor policy choice. The governor has blamed staff entering nursing homes for spreading the virus to the vulnerable population, not patients brought in with COVID-19. He has said that it would be discriminatory not to allow such patients to enter nursing homes.

Last week, it was revealed that an aide to Andrew Cuomo told New York lawmakers that the true picture of nursing home deaths was not revealed for fear it would be used against the governor during an investigation launched by the Department. Trump Justice.

The last time the governor appeared on his brother’s show, in June, Chris Cuomo asked him, “Nursing homes. People died there. They didn’t have to. It was poorly managed. And the operators have received immunity. what do you have to say about it? “

The governor replied that some of what his brother said was incorrect. “But it’s okay,” he said. “It’s your show. You say what you want to say. “

He went on to say it was a tragic situation “and we have to figure out how to do better next time.”

CNN has covered the latest developments multiple times outside of the Chris Cuomo show, including at least 24 times in the past week alone. Two notable cases were a full report by Brianna Keilar on January 29. and Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday. Both hosts said they had asked Andrew Cuomo to appear on their show and were turned down, dozens of times, in Tapper’s case.

The governor “made a poor decision that could have cost lives, and then his administration withheld that information from the public,” Tapper said.

Although Chris Cuomo, following his network’s policy, has not addressed the latest stories, the game with his brother emerged just before last October’s election in a heated exchange on his show with Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh .

Murtaugh criticized Cuomo for asking “moralistic questions” about whether the Trump administration was serious about COVID-19 and referred to the giant swab.

“Sounds like a couple of guys who were taking it seriously?” he said. “You had your brother at the Cuomo Brothers Comedy Hour.”

“Yes, I did,” Chris Cuomo replied. “It was phenomenally funny.”


Associated Press correspondent Marina Villeneuve in Albany, NY and researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.


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