CNN host Chris Cuomo is recovering from the coronavirus, but his infection and recovery spurred CNN to promote his recovery while at home and his older brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The result has been multiple back-and-forth televised conversations between the brothers.
CNN, in 2013, barred Chris Cuomo from interviewing his brother Andrew during live television interviews. Instead, other hosts and panelists interviewed his brother. Before Chris’s coronavirus diagnosis, CNN had Chris interview Andrew about New York’s coronavirus response. Later, when Chris was diagnosed with the virus, CNN continued to air shows from Chris’s home while he recovered. During his self-isolation, Chris called Andrew during a government press conference. Though it may be a compelling reason to watch CNN, there are multiple ethical issues that CNN must answer.
First, Chris is not a neutral or impartial source since Andrew is his older brother and sources close to the Cuomo family said Chris admires Andrew. CNN cannot be taken seriously as a neutral arbiter of truth when it permits one of its hosts to regularly interview his brother, who also happens to be a state governor.
Second, it sets a bad precedent for journalists and cable news networks. If President Donald Trump’s campaign and Fox News were to follow CNN and the Cuomo brothers’ examples, it could create outrage and stir controversy. For example, Lara Trump, who is one of the daughters-in-law to the president, could interview the president in a similar manner. Would the left-leaning journalists, news outlets, and cable news networks enjoy the interview as much? Very unlikely, given the mainstream media’s consistently-negative coverage of the president.
Third, the Cuomo brotherly love-fest makes for good reality television, but CNN’s past calling cards were its journalism and news reporting. Some of the network’s past slogans were “The most trusted name in news” and “Facts first.”
CNN’s pivot to reality television, featuring the Cuomo brothers, demonstrated the network’s lack of serious journalism.