CNN responds to stories that household ties helped Chris Cuomo get entry to COVID testing

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CNN is standing by its prime-time host Chris Cuomo after stories that he was in a position to obtain hard-to-get COVID testing final yr because of his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A number of information shops reported Wednesday that Chris Cuomo was among the many individuals near the governor who acquired precedence entry to testing final March because the pandemic escalated and accessible testing was scarce.

Gov. Cuomo’s relations, together with his brother, his mom and at the least one in all his sisters, had been examined by prime New York well being division officers — some a number of occasions, in accordance with sources who talked to the Albany Occasions Union.

Chris Cuomo introduced that he contracted the coronavirus on March 31 of final yr. He continued to broadcast from house whereas he was being handled, giving viewers a firsthand account of his signs and his fears about infecting his family.

The testing story is the most recent in a current cascade of damaging information about Gov. Cuomo, and it places a highlight on CNN’s determination to permit Chris Cuomo to conduct breezy interviews along with his brother quite a few occasions on his program final yr throughout the top of the pandemic. Media critics and conservative information shops have criticized CNN for selling a blatant battle of curiosity.

CNN issued an announcement supporting Chris Cuomo and stated the revelations wouldn’t have an effect on his standing on the community.

“We usually don’t get entangled within the medical choices of our staff,” stated Matt Dornic, head of strategic communications for CNN Worldwide. “Nevertheless, it isn’t shocking that within the earliest days of a once-in-a-century international pandemic, when Chris was exhibiting signs and was involved about attainable unfold, he turned to anybody he may for recommendation and help, as any human being would.”

Since he joined CNN in 2013, Chris Cuomo has been banned from overlaying the governor. However the community’s executives made an exception final yr as Gov. Cuomo was hailed by the general public and press for his each day take-charge press conferences on the state’s dealing with of the pandemic.

The Cuomo brothers appeared at the least a dozen occasions on “Chris Cuomo Tonight” in 2020, mixing dialogue of the coronavirus with fraternal banter. Executives believed that the character of the disaster on the time gave them the latitude to have them seem collectively in what would usually be thought-about a breach of journalistic ethics.

“The early months of the pandemic had been a rare time,” a CNN consultant stated when requested concerning the determination final month. “We felt that Chris talking along with his brother concerning the challenges of what hundreds of thousands of American households had been combating was of serious human curiosity. Because of this, we made an exception to a rule that we’ve got had in place since 2013 which prevents Chris from interviewing and overlaying his brother and that rule stays in impact at the moment.”

As a stunt, the brother-to-brother conversations labored because the rankings for “Cuomo Prime Time” climbed throughout these appearances. Their final joint look in Might had Chris Cuomo wielding an enormous cotton take a look at swab whereas poking enjoyable on the governor.

However Gov. Cuomo’s public stature has deteriorated because it was revealed that his workplace undercounted the variety of COVID-19 deaths that occurred within the state’s nursing houses.

Final yr, Cuomo’s Division of Well being ordered nursing houses to take COVID-positive sufferers although there was an ample provide of hospital beds to deal with them.

The governor additionally has been underneath hearth in current months over sexual harassment allegations from a number of ladies, together with two present staffers in his workplace. The allegations are being investigated by the New York state meeting in addition to the New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James.

Chris Cuomo informed viewers of his program on March 1 that he couldn’t cowl his brother’s scandals on his program and has steered away from them.

CNN has reported on Gov. Cuomo’s present woes on its different applications, most forcefully on “The Lead With Jake Tapper.”

CNN’s rankings have declined in current weeks, coming off the community’s historic excessive in January. “Cuomo Prime Time” — incessantly probably the most watched program on CNN — has dropped barely greater than the remainder of the lineup.

For the reason that week of Jan. 25, CNN’s prime-time rankings have declined by 39% in accordance with Nielsen. “Cuomo Prime Time” is down 42% over that very same interval.

Chris Cuomo is at the moment on a beforehand scheduled trip this week.

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