Ex-CNN producer says Chris Cuomo's ‘conflict of interest’ on COVID goes beyond his brother

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As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ongoing nursing home scandal continues to generate headlines across the nation, a former CNN staffer feels the liberal network’s "conflict of interest" has also become national news and pondered if the governor’s kid brother should be allowed to cover the coronavirus at all.

Gov. Cuomo’s little brother, Chris, hosts "Cuomo Prime Time" on CNN, regularly providing a platform last year for the governor to appeal to viewers by conducting playful on-air conversations masquerading as news interviews at the height of the coronavirus pandemic’s early stages. The siblings famously joked about who their mother prefers, performed prop comedy and largely avoided lingering questions about the governor’s role in thousands of nursing home deaths across the Empire State.

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Cuomo, who his younger brother sometimes adoringly refers to as the "Love Gov," has been accused of withholding data on COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes to avoid federal scrutiny and even bullying political opponents. He is now facing intense backlash over the scandal, including a federal probe into his administration's handling of the crisis

As a result, CNN announced last week it reinstated a ban on its 9 p.m. ET host, covering or interviewing his older brother. The original ban on Chris Cuomo interviewing big brother was lifted early on in the pandemic, a move that would tarnish CNN's reputation. 

Steve Krakauer, a former CNN digital producer who now edits the Fourth Watch media newsletter, reported additional details on Monday.

"A source familiar with the matter expanded on it further to me, saying that the exception was made to create familiarity and comfort, but as soon as the story became a controversy, the appearances were stopped to avoid a conflict," Krakauer wrote.

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"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," Krakauer continued, noting that the little Cuomo sibling as recently criticized Republican politicians such as Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"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.

CNN’s Cuomo finally mentioned the nursing home controversy to his brother after ignoring it during at least 10 on-air interviews since the scandal began, but the governor quickly pointed to how there were nursing home deaths "all across the country" and said "we have to figure out how to do it better the next time" before the next virus wave occurs.

Shortly afterwards, the governor stopped appearing on his kid brother’s show, so anyone who relied on CNN’s 9 p.m. program for information would be completely in the dark about the unflattering details that have emerged over the past several weeks.

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"There has been no follow-up," Krakauer observed. "The nursing home scandal, after months of relegation to right-leaning outlets only, has become national news. The conflict of interest at CNN is becoming national news too."