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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Former CNN Producer: Ban on Cuomo Brothers Raises More Questions

A former CNN producer says the network’s decision to bar Chris Cuomo from interviewing or doing stories on his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, raises more questions and makes his conflict of interest more glaring when he “refuses to even say the words ‘Andrew Cuomo’ anymore on his program.”

“In theory, this all makes sense, but it raises more questions and opens the network up to more issues. If Chris Cuomo really wanted to never cover the story, then he could no longer cover anything having to do with COVID at all,” Steve Krakauer, a former CNN digital producer who now edits the Fourth Watch media newsletter, reported Monday.

CNN last week reinstated a ban on Chris Cuomo covering or interviewing his big brother after Andrew Cuomo was accused of withholding data on COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes to avoid federal scrutiny.

A CNN spokesperson told The Washington Post that it previously had a “rule” barring Chris Cuomo from interviewing or covering Gov. Andrew Cuomo on his show due to a conflict of interest, but made an “exception” during the pandemic.

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“The early months of the pandemic crisis were an extraordinary time,” the spokesperson said. “We felt that Chris speaking with his brother about the challenges of what millions of American families were struggling with was of significant human interest.”

“As a result, we made an exception to a rule that we have had in place since 2013 which prevents Chris from interviewing and covering his brother, and that rule remains in place today. CNN has covered the news surrounding Governor Cuomo extensively.”

Chris Cuomo, who hosts “Cuomo Prime Time,” regularly had Andrew Cuomo on the show to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic but rarely asked tough questions. The pair joked on air about trivial topics while the scandal was unfolding, discussing which of the two would be considered their mother’s favorite child. In one interview, the CNN anchor even gave his brother a cartoonishly oversized cotton swab to use for a coronavirus test.

“Cuomo’s show is aggressively and consistently about conflict — calling people in power out. That’s the choice he and CNN have made, but it makes his own conflict of interest more glaring then, when he refuses to even say the words ‘Andrew Cuomo’ anymore on his program,” Krakauer wrote.

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