Chris Cuomo’s helping his brother has wider implications

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo helped his beleaguered brother, New York’s then-governor Andrew Cuomo, more than originally thought, according to newly released documents.

They show that he’d strategized for his older sibling, who’s facing sexual misconduct allegations related to his time as governor, and used his connections in the journalism world to get information that would assist in formulating plans to battle the accusations. The senior Cuomo resigned from office in August. (Chris and Andrew’s father, Mario, was governor of New York, from 1983 to 1994. He and wife Matilda had five children.)

Among Chris Cuomo’s actions was communicating a lot with his older brother’s aide Melissa DeRosa and reaching out to New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow for details about what was in an upcoming story.

The revelations have repercussions beyond New York—as far away as Atlanta. CNN said it will conduct a “thorough review” of the new documents, but the network continues to face intense criticism for not taking the issue seriously enough months ago.

The anchor is also catching flak for appearing on Cuomo Prime Time last night shortly after news broke of his deeper involvement in his brother’s mess—and failing to mention it. Among the critics was Northeastern University journalism professor Dan Kennedy, who tweeted, “Well, now. Not only is Chris Cuomo on tonight, but he’s talking about Omicron as if there was nothing else for him to address,” and later added that there was no mention of the brother news at the close of Cuomo Prime Time either.

Back in May, the Washington Post first reported that the journalist had been advising his older brother, actions the cable news network at the time called “inappropriate.” CNN didn’t discipline him; he stopped helping his sibling.

Since then, Chris Cuomo has himself been accused of sexual harassment. His former boss at ABC News, Shelley Ross, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times two months ago about how he’d grabbed her behind at a work party in 2005.

Her essay includes his response to the resurfaced story: “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”

Ross ends her essay with a call for accountability: “I’m not asking for Mr. Cuomo to become the next casualty in this continuing terrible story. I hope he stays at CNN forever if he chooses. I would, however, like to see him journalistically repent: agree on air to study the impact of sexism, harassment and gender bias in the workplace, including his own, and then report on it.”

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