Just a short while ago, CNN President Jeff Zucker announced that suspended CNN anchor Chris Cuomo had been terminated “effective immediately.”
You are all aware that earlier this week we made the decision to suspend Chris Cuomo while we evaluated some new information that came to light regarding his involvement in his brother’s defense. Today, I let Chris know that we are ending his employment at CNN. It goes without saying that these decisions are not easy, and there are a lot of complex factors involved. But, as always, it was important to me to be upfront with each of you.
Below is the statement we will be releasing publicly shortly.
STATEMENT FROM CNN
“Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother’s defense. We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately. While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate.”
This whole melodrama started back in May when the Washington Post and New York Times reported that Chris Cuomo had been involved in discussions with his older brother Michael…I mean Andrew…who was governor of New York at the time. The discussions were about the media strategy Andrew Cuomo should pursue to tamp down the swirling maelstrom of sexual harassment allegations engulfing him, which eventually drove him from office and has made him the subject of a federal investigation.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo advised his brother, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and senior members of the governor’s staff on how to respond to sexual harassment allegations made earlier this year by women who had worked with the governor, according to four people familiar with the discussions.
Cuomo, one of the network’s top stars, joined a series of conference calls that included the Democratic governor, his top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers, according to the people familiar with the conversations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private sessions.
The calls occurred earlier this year, when a growing number of claims that Andrew Cuomo made inappropriate comments or touched women without their permission had escalated into a political crisis for the three-term governor.
The cable news anchor encouraged his brother to take a defiant position and not to resign from the governor’s office, the people said. At one point, he used the phrase “cancel culture” as a reason to hold firm in the face of the allegations, two people present on one call said.
The behind-the-scenes strategy offered by Chris Cuomo, who anchors CNN’s 9 p.m. nightly newscast, cuts against the widely accepted norm in journalism that those reporting the news should not be involved in politics.
Apparently, the rule in that last paragraph is either new, or it was in mothballs from 2017-2020.
Chris Cuomo might well have survived that debacle because CNN had already let him interview his brother on his brother’s Wuhan virus response and produce hard-hitting journalism like: “I hope you are able to appreciate what you did in your state and what it means for the rest of the country now and what it will always mean to those who love and care about you the most. I’m wowed by what you did, and more importantly, I’m wowed by how you did it. This was very hard. I know it’s not over. But obviously, I love you as a brother, obviously, I’ll never be objective, obviously, I think you’re the best politician in the country.”
Then, on Monday, more documents surfaced. These were leaked by someone in the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating Andrew Cuomo’s conduct. They showed that Chris Cuomo was actively involved in trying to discover the identities of some of the anonymous complainants in his brother’s case (read). CNN suspended Cuomo. Tucker Carlson noted his suspension.
It is difficult not to draw the obvious conclusion from this firing. It has nothing to do with a violation of journalistic ethics or social boundaries. After all, Jeffrey Toobin, who banged a colleague’s daughter and tried to coerce her into having an abortion, and who was suspended from CNN for jerking off during a Zoom meeting, has been reinstated to his position at CNN.
The firing had nothing to do with ratings. Tater distributed Chris Cuomo’s response.
"…in the most competitive time slot. I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work." (2/2)
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 4, 2021
The tweet gives the impression that Cuomo’s program was the top show in its slot. I would just point out that “CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot,” was CNN’s only show in that slot and its ratings were on par with the Yule Log Channel.
No, the obvious link to everything is that Andrew Cuomo is no longer governor. So long as Andrew was governor and appeared to be the Democrat frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination, Chris Cuomo’s lack of talent, crappy personality, and inferiority complex camouflaged by an overweening ego were perfectly fine.
But when Andrew Cuomo was perp-walked out of the governor’s mansion in Albany, all of that changed. Cuomo had lost all of his pluses, and CNN was left with only the minuses. And so, on this wintry December afternoon, Jeff Zucker sent Fredo for that last boat ride out on the lake.