If CNN’s Brian Stelter is to be believed, Chris Cuomo’s “indefinite” suspension could just end up being a very long Christmas vacation.
Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday morning, Stelter said the network’s star anchor was merely “on the bench” and could be back on the air as early as January. Cuomo was suspended Tuesday evening after documents from the New York attorney general’s investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, showed the CNN host was far more involved in the PR counteroffensive than he let on.
(We’ve been reporting on CNN’s double standard regarding Chris Cuomo here at The Western Journal since the beginning — and we’ve been busy chronicling plenty of other of examples of the network’s hypocrisy. You can support our mission to keep the media honest by subscribing here.)
According to Stelter, the network is sifting through the trove of documents released by the Attorney General’s Office and would make a decision after that review concludes.
“It’s a complicated situation. I think the bottom line is that Cuomo is on the bench for now,” Stelter said.
“We’re heading into a holiday season. I think it’s possible he will be on the bench for several weeks. It’s possible he’ll be back in January.”
Stelter: A “lot of viewers” are “now ticked off that he’s off the air, and they want to see him back….Cuomo is on the bench for now. We’re heading into a holiday season. I think it’s possible he will be on the bench for several weeks. It’s possible he’ll be back in January.” pic.twitter.com/lDSksRuWBO
— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) December 1, 2021
“I think that what’s going to happen now here at CNN is a more thorough review of the New York attorney general’s document dump in order to find out more about what happened,” he added.
Stelter is (excuse the pun) a reliable source on this. He shared a byline on two CNN stories about Cuomo since the attorney documents were released, one about the dump itself and the other announcing Cuomo’s suspension from the network. Not only is he involved with the story, this is essentially CNN reporting on itself; one imagines there isn’t any paucity of sources giving Stelter information, even if it’s just what those sources think viewers want to hear.
If Cuomo wasn’t going to be coming back, furthermore, it’s difficult to see why the network would be temporizing by announcing a “more thorough review” of the documents, given everything they needed to summarily terminate Cuomo was available by Monday afternoon.
In an August mea culpa, Cuomo said he was “not an adviser” to the governor, but “a brother.”
“I was there to listen and offer my take, and my advice to my brother was simple and consistent: ‘Own what you did, tell people what you’ll do to be better, be contrite and, finally, accept that it doesn’t matter what you intended, what matters is how your actions and words were perceived,’” Cuomo said after his brother resigned.
“There are stories and critics saying all kinds of things about me, many unsupported, but know this: My position has never changed. I never misled anyone about the information I was delivering or not delivering on this program. I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation. I never influenced or attempted to control CNN’s coverage of my family.”
This is belied by his text messages with top Andrew Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, however, in which he said “please let me help with the prep” of his brother’s PR strategy against sexual misconduct allegations.
In another message, he told DeRosa what the governor’s statement “should have said” when he defended himself against allegations from former aide Charlotte Bennett, including an annotated version of why the original statement was wrong.
In yet another exchange from March, DeRosa asked for “intel” about a Ronan Farrow report on the allegations that was supposedly about to drop.
“Rumor about Ronan getting ready to move,” DeRosa said in a March 9 message. “Can u check your sources?”
“Story not ready for tomorrow,” Cuomo said on March 15. The piece would be published in The New Yorker on March 18.
Earlier in March, after a woman named Anna Ruch accused Andrew Cuomo of sexually harassing her at a wedding in 2019, Chris Cuomo sent a message to DeRosa saying, “I have a lead on the wedding girl being put up to it.”
WARNING: The following tweets contain graphic language that some readers will find offensive.
In a text exchange between @ChrisCuomo and top Andrew Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, the CNN host asks to “please let me help with the prep” of his older brother’s sexual harassment defense and helps devise a PR strategy. pic.twitter.com/XnQ3W2axWE
— Josefa Velásquez (@J__Velasquez) November 29, 2021
.@ChrisCuomo was giving updates to DeRosa about the state of @RonanFarrow’s story on a former Gov. Cuomo aide who accused him of sexual harassment, using his sources to relay information to the administration, text exchanges show. pic.twitter.com/VTsHt3v4OJ
— Josefa Velásquez (@J__Velasquez) November 29, 2021
Chris Cuomo: “I have a lead on the wedding girl being put up to it.”
This apparently refers to Anna Ruch, who accused Andrew Cuomo of putting his hand on her lower back and, when she objected, putting his hands on her cheeks and asking to kiss her.https://t.co/c6HUWOpKRj pic.twitter.com/DvHaNyQqzP
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) November 29, 2021
When Chris Cuomo is telling his brother’s top aide that “we are making mistakes we can’t afford,” that’s not him acting as a brother. The “we” in that statement doesn’t refer to CNN, nor does it refer to the Cuomo family. It refers to the leviathan political apparatus built up around Andrew Cuomo — an apparatus in which Chris Cuomo was a de facto adviser.
All of this was well known on Tuesday evening when a CNN spokesperson said the new documents “raise serious questions” and that “we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”
I’ll admit to being an eternal pessimist when it comes to CNN doing the right thing about Chris Cuomo, who should have been told by network executives to stop acting as a paid political promoter for his brother long before he was tainted by scandal. However, these are smoking-gun documents that require no further evaluation. They don’t raise any questions. They speak for themselves.
If CNN needs anything worse than this to immediately begin the firing process, I’m thinking Chris Cuomo would need at least a Class B felony conviction to get himself canned from the network.
If that does happen, I hope Jeffrey Toobin — another beneficiary of CNN’s lax termination policies — covers the trial extensively. It only seems right.
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