It's unclear why CNN decided it would be a good idea for the Cuomo brothers to have an on-air act ripped from Vaudeville but one would think that there was a lot of attention given to the positives of having a primetime host this close to a major newsmaker. So while the duo's good-natured ribbing and rivalry made for some interesting television as the New York governor was climbing up the media-darling vine, it was entirely predictable to foresee some potential debt on the back end. Someone had to have a plan in place for what the network and its 9 p.m. time slot would do should the politician ever run into political strife.
If they did, it appears the extent of it was to just have one Cuomo punt faster than Bo Pelini facing 4th-and-2 from his opponent's 39-yard line. Here he is last night.
"Obviously I am aware of what is going on with my brother," he said. "And 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 I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Just a shocking disdain for the intelligence of viewers and casual observers alike. Who are the suckers meant to swallow this line hook, line, and sinker? Who believes a journalistic tenant exists which allows someone's brother to come on television to bask in success and raise political power, but forbids someone's brother to come on and face the music?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's presence on Cuomo Primetime was ubiquitous during the first few months of the COVID-19 crisis, running concurrent to his process of writing a book about his leadership during that time which has aged like stale beer.
"Nine times between March 19 and June 24, 2020, the governor appeared on his brother’s show. The trash-talking and brotherly love between the two Italians from Queens was fun if occasionally cheesy, like when Chris Cuomo mocked his brother’s big nose with a giant cotton swab he said would be necessary to give him a COVID-19 test."
On a human level, one understands the choice Chris is making. And there's earnest debate to be had over if he should be the one asking questions of this gravity given his personal relationship. Candidly, almost every person in media would make the same choice he did if given the opportunity.
Which is why CNN never should have allowed such a ranging conflict of interest to manifest in the first place. It put everyone in a bad situation. The network. The anchor. The governor.
And for what? The immediate returns of some people delighting in seeing a pair of brothers get really familiar and swap jokes, zingers, and stories about their famous father? It's honestly a shocking misstep.
Chris Cuomo was a reporter as his brother made his rise in the New York statehouse. Their paths didn't have much chance of diverging without intention and therefore a reasonable wall of separation was allowed to exist. Once the reporter's star began to rise at CNN and he was fitted for a coveted nightly suit, someone should have had the difficult conversation about the conflict and put some speed bumps in the way to prevent against this inevitable crash.
Because the news that one Cuomo can't cover another Cuomo seems to be news to everyone involved.