“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense. The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second. However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”
—CNN’s official statement last night.
Verdict: Unethical, and signature significance for an ethically brain-dead organization. First, Cuomo should have been fired for cause, immediately. (He should have been fired years ago anyway, as I reminded readers yesterday.) The evidence was enough. Second, the statement that Cuomo was in a “unique position” is pure, rationalization-polluted crap. There’s nothing unique about conflicts of interest and family crises for a professional, which is what journalists claim to be (but seldom are). If one feels he or she must put family before duty to one’s employers and stakeholders, the ethical course is to disclose the conflict, respect the necessary ethical boundaries, and, if necessary, quit the job. Third, there is nothing to evaluate. Cuomo lied to CNN’s audience. That disqualifies him as a host, as a pundit, and as a broadcast journalist.
- “Flashback to what I said during a lengthy on-air report about the Cuomo brothers in August: ‘This has been a conundrum for CNN that has no perfect answer, no perfect solution. I think those words remain true today…”
—-Brian Stelter, CNN’s fake media ethics correspondent
Verdict: What a shameless, inexcusable hack (but we knew that). What does “no perfect answer” mean? Does it mean no magic spell that somehow sends CNN back to the time before it was screamingly clear that Cuomo was a) a fool b) conflicted c) a liar and d) guaranteed to have a major ethics scandal sooner or later? Does it mean no way for CNN to keep cute Chris without looking like the corrupt propaganda organ it has become? What? And Stelter has the gall to cite his own moronic quote as if it was prescient. Who watches these people?
- “For what it’s worth, when [ Cuomo] addressed his actions on the air back in August, he said ‘this will be my final word on it,’ and he hasn’t addressed the matter on TV since.”
—-Stelter again, writing in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter and noting that Cuomo did not mention the scandal on his show Monday night.
Verdict: Anyone who subscribes to a Brian Stelter newsletter needs idiot mittens and a leash. What’s this supposed to tell us, that we can trust Chris Cuomo because he kept a promise not to discuss is back-alley abuse of his position?
- “Among other things, CNN will have to determine if helping your politician brother smear the women accusing him of sexual harassment is a more serious journalistic offense than masturbating in front of one’s colleagues on a Zoom call. The network’s chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, was fired from his job at the New Yorker after pleasuring himself during an online work meeting in October 2020. CNN apparently does not consider public masturbation to be a fireable offense.”
—Andrew Stiles in the Washington Free Beacon today.
Verdict: Funny, but stupid. Toobin’s disgrace was a professional and personal offense, not a journalistic one: it had nothing to do with journalism. Cuomo’s offense directly involved breaches of journalism ethics
- “…Chris’s advice to Andrew—and undisclosed privileged testing access, while he presented himself on air as a COVID everyman after coming down with the illness—revealed a basic inconsistency in his show’s self-conception: Chris has seemed to shuffle between the roles of family man, opinionated motormouth, and objective journalist as it has suited him. This was never sustainable, whatever you think of the quality of his show—and to my mind, the latest revelations, while very gross in their specifics, really only add layers of detail to a conflict of interest that was long visible and fundamentally untenable. Chris should never have been permitted to have it all ways. He now may not have it at all.”
—Jon Alsop in the Columbia Journalism Review
Verdict: Bingo, and essentially what I’ve been writing here for years.