Yesterday evening CNN terminated Chris Cuomo from his employment by the network. His termination converted an indefinite suspension into a permanent arrangement. Both the suspension and termination followed up on the news that Cuomo had participated in the defense of his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. To promote his false image of effectiveness in dealing with the epidemic, Governor Cuomo had frequently appeared on his brother’s show with the approval of CNN management.
Chris Cuomo’s service as an advisor to his brother had already been exposed. Cuomo apologized for his work with Governor Cuomo’s staff as they sought to preserve his time in office. Yet new evidence released last week suggested that Cuomo’s apology was not entirely forthright. CNN retained counsel to undertake an investigation — to do what, exactly? — to review the evidence.
According to CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter, the firm submitted its findings to management on Friday. Stelter to the contrary notwithstanding, the news stories linked below do not make it clear that the investigation is complete. On Twitter Stelter quotes Cuomo: “I have already told you why and how I helped my brother.”
Now a woman has stepped forward to accuse Cuomo of sexual misconduct. It appears, however, that this is nothing more than an accusation at this point.
One can observe several strands implicit in the events culminating in Cuomo’s departure from CNN in the New York Post story covering it. The New York Times has the bylines of three reporters on its story. CNN’s statement on Cuomo’s termination, quoted in its story, is a model of ambiguity and nondisclosure (below).
Statement on Chris Cuomo’s termination from CNN. pic.twitter.com/yKPwYtMznD
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) December 4, 2021
CNN wants to be seen upholding its integrity as a news outlet. What didn’t CNN know and when didn’t it know it? And how hard did it try not to know it? We won’t find out any time soon, if ever. The investigation must observe limits set by CNN itself. CNN has not even disclosed the name of the law firm conducting the investigation (or whatever it is).
As I wrote at the time of Cuomo’s suspension, one can fairly infer that CNN first had to suspend and now terminate Cuomo in order to keep up appearances that it is a legitimate news outlet. CNN has to keep up appearances in order to maintain the value of its service to the Democratic Party.