As of Thursday evening, CNN had gone a full twenty-four hours without any mention of the latest bombshell report about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, this one implicating his brother, “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor Chris Cuomo.
The Albany-based Times Union newspaper reported Wednesday evening that “high-level members” of New York’s Department of Health were directed by the governor and state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to “conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor’s relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration.”
“Members of Cuomo’s family including his brother, his mother and at least one of his sisters were also tested by top health department officials — some several times, the sources said,” according to the Times Union.
However, CNN has yet to mention the Times Union’s reporting on-air or on its website.
CNN’S CHRIS CUOMO REPORTEDLY PRIORITIZED FOR COVID TESTING BY BROTHER’S ADMINISTRATION EARLY IN PANDEMIC
The closest thing to CNN coverage of the scandal, which is now being investigated as part of an impeachment probe of the governor by New York lawmaerks, was a mention in Brian Stelter’s daily “Reliable Sources” newsletter, which has a much smaller audience than the network itself.
Mediaite columnist Caleb Howe blasted the Cuomo blackout, mocking the fact that the only mention of Cuomo’s name Thursday was on a re-broadcast of Wednesday night’s “Anderson Cooper 360°,” in which the host mentioned that Cuomo was “off tonight” as he is for the rest of the week.
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“The story has been making all the media rounds, including at rivals Fox News and MSNBC, as well as dozens of outlets in print and online. Just not at CNN. At CNN there has been radio silence all day,” Howe wrote. “It is a tough spot to be in, to have news such as this involving one of the station’s own employees, a face of the network. That spot was made much tougher by their own hand, in bringing the Governor on for softball interviews, to chat with his brother in a mix of casual conversation and pseudo-reporting on a major pandemic in the state.”
“Yes, it’s a hard spot to be in,” Howe later added. “Human beings often suffer in prisons of their own making.”
The pro-Cuomo network did raise eyebrows late Wednesday with a statement that seemed to shrug off the controversy.
“We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees. However, it is not surprising in the earliest days of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would,” CNN head of strategic communications Matt Dornic told Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple.
The “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor was diagnosed with the coronavirus on March 31. As the Times Union noted, the diagnosis came “at a time when many members of the public struggled to obtain coronavirus tests.”
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It is unclear, however, whether Chris Cuomo himself, CNN, or New York State taxpayers funded the test that showed the positive test results.
According to the paper, epidemiologist Dr. Eleanor Adams was sent to the CNN anchor’s residence in Long Island to test him. It is unclear if she was the one who administered his positive test results.
In addition, New York State Police troopers were reportedly ordered to drive such COVID tests, which were referred to as “critical samples,” to the Wadsworth Center laboratory in Albany.
A Cuomo administration official told the Albany paper, “It’s being a little bit distorted with like a devious intent. … We made sure to test people they believed were exposed.” The official added: “All of this was being done in good faith in an effort to trace the virus.”
CNN has not responded to Fox News’ repeated requests for comment.
On Tuesday, the “Cuomo Prime Time” twitter account noted that the host was taking this week off to spend time with his family. He is currently scheduled to return Monday.
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Despite benefiting from priority testing, Chris Cuomo appeared to flout his own brother’s COVID lockdown restrictions by leaving his home as he was recovering from the virus. In April of last year, the anchor reportedly got in a verbal confrontation on the lawn of another property with a cyclist who called him out for violating the governor’s policies.
The new reporting also revives scrutiny of the CNN star’s close ties to the top Democratic politician. After allowing Chris Cuomo to crack jokes and perform prop comedy with his older brother nearly a dozen times on “Cuomo Prime Time,” CNN recently announced that the anchor cannot cover the growing scandals plaguing the Cuomo administration, including a controversy surrounding nursing home deaths and multiple sexual misconduct allegations.