Skip to main content

The New Republic - March 3, 2021

On Monday evening, Chris Cuomo began his CNN nightly show, Prime Time, with an unsurprising announcement. He would not be covering the day’s biggest story: the sexual harassment allegations that had been made against his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Obviously, I’m aware of what’s going on with my brother,” Chris Cuomo said. “Obviously, I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course, CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively, and they will continue to do so.”

Obviously. Chris has spoken in glowing terms about his older brother; Andrew has described himself as being “somewhere between a father and a brother” to Chris, who is 13 years his junior, when their father, former New York governor and Democratic Party legend Mario Cuomo, was busy. Chris couldn’t be expected to cover his scandal-plagued brother in anything approaching objective terms. He’s family, after all. 

This conflict was just as obvious a year ago, when Andrew was a regular guest on Prime Time. But for three months, CNN allowed him to appear on the program seemingly whenever he liked. The result was a kind of mishmash of helpful information about Covid-19 and a reality TV show, featuring two brothers joshing each other about who was their mother’s favorite. 

The lighthearted “interviews” were integral to Andrew’s rising profile and popularity last year. They’re also the most egregious examples of the media’s kid-gloves handling of Andrew Cuomo during the early stages of the pandemic.

Andrew Cuomo is not the kind of politician one would expect to be a media darling. He is a gruff public speaker, a pugilist without much telegenic appeal. He is famously unpleasant and known for running a press shop built in his own image—which is to say, one known for being overbearing and pugnacious. As a politician, he is a master of the dark arts—of arm-twisting and backroom deals—but has much less to offer as a retail politician. It is impossible to imagine him kissing a baby.

Read full commentary at The New Republic