NEW YORK – Some TV shows age much better than others.
For CNN, last year’s spring banter between Chris Cuomo and his older brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, backwards looks worse because the governor’s administration questioned about its role in failing to detect true deaths from nursing homes COVID-19.
CNN covers that story, but not in Chris Cuomo’s show. The network said it had re-established a ban on Cuomo to interview or do a story about his brother, which he temporarily lifted last spring.
The brothers were in the spotlight last March. Chris Cuomo caught COVID-19 and continued to anchor the show from his basement, while the governor dealt with the hellish days of New York as the national epicenter of the early coronavirus. Andrew Cuomo’s almost daily briefing was widely broadcast on television and accepted by some viewers as a counterpoint to those held by former President Donald Trump.
Nine times between March 19 and June 24, 2020, the governor peeked into his brother’s show. The fraternal love of two Italians from Queens in a garbage conversation was fun but occasionally cheesy, as when Chris Cuomo mocked his big brother’s nose with a giant cotton swab, he said he would need to take a test on COVID-19.
“I thought those interviews were a lot of fun, and pers Chris could ask questions to his brother that other people can’t,” said Roy Gutterman, a professor of media law at Syracuse University. “But from the very beginning, I thought it was inappropriate.
“It’s journalism 101,” he said. “We tell our students you shouldn’t interview family and friends.”
Politics avoids conflicts of interest – can one really expect one brother to ask difficult questions to another? – or at least disrespect for one.
Through a spokeswoman, CNN said the early months of the pandemic were an extraordinary time.
“We felt like Chris was talking to his brother about the challenges facing millions of American families of great human interest,” he told CNN. “As a result, we have made an exception to the rule we have in place since 2013, which prevents Chris from interviewing his brother, and that rule remains in effect today.”
Questions about Andrew Cuomo have mostly been boiling under the radar for months in recent weeks. The New York Attorney General released a report saying the administration had reduced the number of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19 except for those who died elsewhere, usually in a hospital.
This was significant because of Cuomo’s directive on administration in March that nursing homes should not deny admission or readmission to a patient because they had COVID-19. The policy was lifted two months later.
If the actual number of wards of the homes who died were to be hidden, any guilt for poor policy choices would be theoretically dismissed. The governor blamed staff entering nursing homes, not patients brought in with COVID-19, for spreading the virus to vulnerable populations. He said it would be discriminatory not to let those patients into nursing homes.
Last week, it was revealed that Andrew Cuoma’s aide told lawmakers in New York that the true picture of deaths in nursing homes was not revealed for fear it would be used against the governor during an investigation launched by Trump’s justice ministry.
The last time the governor peeked into his brother’s show, in June, Chris Cuomo asked him, “Nursing homes. People were dying there. They didn’t have to. It was poorly managed. And the operators got immunity. How about that? “
The governor replied that some of what his brother had said was incorrect. “But that’s okay,” he said. “It’s your show. You say everything you want to say. “
He went on to say that it was a tragic situation “and we have to figure out how to do it next time.”
CNN has followed the latest events outside of Chris Cuomo’s show several times, including at least 24 times just last week. There were two significant cases a thorough report by Brianne Keilar on January 29th and Jake Tper on Sunday’s “State of the Union.” Both anchors said they asked Andrew Cuomo to crash into their show and were denied – dozens of times, in the Tper case.
“The governor made a bad decision that may have cost his life, and then his administration hid that information from the public,” Tper said.
Although Chris Cuomo, following the policy of his network, did not comment on the latest stories, the overcoming with his brother came just before last October’s election in a fierce exchange on his show with Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh.
Murtaugh criticized Cuomo for asking “self-righteous questions” about whether the Trump administration took COVID-19 seriously and called for a giant swab.
“Does this look like a few guys who took it seriously?” He said. “You had a brother in the Cuomo brothers’ comedy class.”
“Yes, I did,” Chris Cuomo replied. “It was funny as hell.”
Correspondent Marina Villeneuve of Albany, New York, and researcher Rhonda Shafner of New York City contributed to this report.