Barely Trying: CNN Finally Covers Cuomo Claims...But Gives It 96 Seconds in Two Days

February 25th, 2021 11:43 PM

After over 24 hours of silence, CNN decided to acknowledge on Thursday Lindsey Boylan’s sexual harassment claims against Prime Time host Chris Cuomo’s brother and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and the latest blows in the state’s nursing home scandal, but only tossed scraps to the viewers they treat like small-brained proles with only 96 seconds over two news briefs. 

Worse yet, neither brief came on any of CNN’s evening or primetime shows.

Meanwhile, MSNBC ended their silence with a combined nine minutes and 45 seconds, but it only came from three shows (and, like CNN, none came in primetime).

Boylan published her Medium post-Wednesday morning and then tweeted it out at 10:10 a.m. Eastern, but it wasn’t until 12:49 p.m. Eastern Thursday when Inside Politics host John King broke the ice with a 39-second brief.

King followed suit of a article from an hour earlier when he chose to frame it based on denials from Cuomo and his inner circle and not what Boylan had alleged.

The other CNN mention came exactly four hours later on The Lead with host Jake Tapper tying Boylan’s Medium post to Cuomo’s coronavirus scandals (the latter of which he dared to call a “cover-up”).

Here were those respective briefs (click “expand”):

KING: Moving onto Andrew Cuomo denying sexual harassment allegations from another adviser. In an essay published on Medium, Lindsey Boylan, who once worked for the state’s economic development agency, alleges the governor kissed her on the lips following a one-on-one meeting in his New York City office back in 2017. Boylan also says the governor allegedly suggested they play strip poker, that allegedly happening when they were on a flight together in 2017. In a statement from Cuomo’s office, four staffers who were on that flight dispute Borylan's story. And the governor’s press secretary says her claims of inappropriate behavior are “quite simply false.” Borlen is running for Manhattan Borough President. She first accused the governor of sexual harassment on Twitter back in December. 


TAPPER: Problems are piling up for Democratic governor of New York Andrew Cuomo. His former Secretary Steven Cohen issuing a statement ahead of a state budget hearing that the department of justice’s inquiry into COVID nursing home deaths is a political, “game of gotcha.” And Cohen insisting there was no cover-up despite one of Cuomo's top aides confirming in a private phone call a few weeks ago that there was, in fact, a delay in reporting the data to state lawmakers, what some might call a cover-up. All of this while Cuomo is denying new sexual harassment allegations made by former aide Lindsey Boylan, who worked for the state’s economic development agency and is now running for Manhattan borough president. Boylan alleges that Governor Cuomo made unwanted advances toward her, including kissing her in 2018 and asking her to play trip poker in 2017. Cuomo's office said Boylan’s claims are, “quite simply false” CNN has been unable to corroborate Boylan’s allegations. She has refused to give further comment on the record.

And again, after that, evening hosts Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett refused to mention Cuomo, and primetime hosts Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon followed the lead in helping Fredo and his brother keep their viewers from negative headlines surrounding the “Luv Guv.” The network also recently banned Fredo from reporting on his brother.

MSNBC ended their blackout much earlier than the noon Eastern hour. Surprisingly, MSNBC’s Morning Joe broke the glass with a 76-second brief from co-host Mika Brzezinski in the 7:30 a.m. Eastern half-hour that told of Boylan “accusing him of pervasive harassment during her time working for his administration” and then largely stuck to excerpts from Boylan’s piece and the Cuomo administration’s denials.

Weekday morning MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle added another 65 seconds in the 9:00 a.m. Eastern hour with a similarly-worded brief and that was it for another four years until MTP Daily and host Chuck Todd took over.

To Todd’s credit, he showed a seriousness to all of Cuomo’s growing scandals with a seven-minute-and-23-second segment focusing on what’s gone on over the last year, what possible consequences he could face, and whether he still has any prominent allies in the Empire State.

In addition to his own prognosticating, Todd brought in someone on the ground in Albany in the form of Albany Times Union managing editor Brandon Lyons, who gave a thorough recap of Cuomo’s shrinking spheres of influence.

To see some of their highlights, click “expand”):

TODD: Moments ago, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's accuser deserves to be heard. This comes as a former adviser is coming forward with allegations calling pervasive harassment by the governor, which included kissing her....Boylan, who’s now running for Manhattan borough president, tweeted in December that the governor sexually harassed her but did not get into specifics at that time. Governor Cuomo's press secretary released a statement denying Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior. This came on the same day that House Republicans sent a letter to New York Congresswoman and house oversight committee chair Carolyn Maloney urging her to subpoena Cuomo to testify about COVID deaths in nursing homes.


LYONS: I don’t think it gets any worse for a sitting governor at this time for someone who had been really on top of his game last year. He had a national audience for his daily briefings. Many people believe that New York had really set the path for many states in how to deal with COVID and had been doing what people thought were so many things were right about it. The nursing homes and the states, like many other states, the policy to — the directive to have nursing homes accept COVID-positive patients has become an issue that will not go away. Initially, they — they dismissed this as a political witch hunt by the Trump administration and the Justice Department's Civil Division — but recently — recently that became an FBI investigation along with the Eastern District of New York. So it's very unclear that they are the same investigations. And in fact, the Eastern District investigation may be based on additional or other information. And then in the backdrop of all this, you've got now allegations of the governor's and his people, intimidating lawmakers, bullying lawmakers, and as you just noted, Lindsey Boylan —a former staffer with economic — you know, she comes forward in December, it's sort of died after her tweets about that. But she —  wrote this very detailed essay yesterday and it has now brought even Democrats saying this — this cannot be ignored. The question is, who's going to investigate it? 


TODD: Where does he go from here? I mean, is he — the Cuomo I know, I think, tries to keep going and will cling to this to keep running and not quit, or not — or keep trying to run for reelection. But what's the rest of the party going to do? 

LYONS: It's a good question. Yesterday, we saw a lot of key Democrats, including the state Senate majority leader, issue statements condemning any form of sexual harassment. So they're not circling the wagons right now for the governor. Earlier today, his former chief of staff, his former secretary Steve Cohen, who is an attorney and also had been a member of the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District, held an extraordinary conference call with reporters to essentially argue for the governor, to — to act as a character reference for him and say that through the years he had never seen this sort of behavior. But this is troubling for the governor. You know, I think, you know, on one hand you've got to deal with an FBI investigation. The administration has been subpoenaed. They're fighting on that front. You have the state legislature — the Republicans who are pushing for subpoenas of the governor and more of an investigation of the nursing homes and how that was handled[.]

TODD: You know, Brendan, the three highest profile New York politicians after Cuomo — right — are the two senators and AOC. Kirsten Gillibrand was the first Democrat senator to call for Al Franken's resignation in the allegations against him. I can't imagine AOC or Schumer coming to Cuomo’s rescue here. I mean, he does appear to be on a New York Democratic island here.

But following Todd’s example of what a Cuomo segment should look like, no one had the journalistic bona fides to utter Cuomo’s name, whether it was in the afternoon, early evening, or primetime.

CNN’s cover-up of the Cuomo scandals was made possible by supportive advertisers such as (but not limited to) Farmer’s Insurance, Fidelity, Nutrisystem, and Uber. Follow the links to find their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.