WaPo’s Margaret Sullivan Calls CNN’s Handling Of Chris Cuomo A ‘Cop-Out’
Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan called on CNN to suspend anchor Chris Cuomo for failing “to maintain the most basic of journalistic principles, which are independence, fairness and impartiality.”
Cuomo—who is off this week on vacation, CNN says—has drawn criticism for participating in strategy sessions with his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his staff as they planned a response to allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. Last week, the New York Attorney General released the results of a year-long investigation into the governor, which detailed Chris Cuomo’s participation in crafting messaging for his brother.
Sullivan said Cuomo—and CNN—were deserving of criticism for “deplorable behavior…where the governor’s brother, Chris Cuomo, is a popular host who has put brotherly love ahead of journalistic propriety…and where the network’s leadership has let him get away with it.”
Since the AG’s report was released, Cuomo has not spoken about his work supporting his brother, nor has the governor’s political crisis been covered on Cuomo Prime Time, CNN’s highest-rated prime time hour. Addressing the situation on Reliable Sources Sunday, Brian Stelter said network bosses had instructed Cuomo not to talk about his brother, nor to cover the story on his show.
Sullivan said the network has protecting its star host at the expense of its journalists.
“CNN’s higher-ups seem inclined to look away, in a manner all too reminiscent of what Fox News has done when one of its rainmakers does something outrageous or unethical,” Sullivan wrote. “For the network with dozens of bureaus around the world and some 4,000 employees, it’s a cop-out.”
Of Cuomo’s vacation, Sullivan said “it should be turned into—at least—an unpaid suspension of significant length. And CNN should be transparent with its viewers that its anchor acted unethically and that the network won’t countenance it.”