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Letters to the Editor — May 24, 2021
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday defended having his CNN anchor brother take part in high-level strategy sessions about his sex scandal — and stunningly claimed that he gets guidance from other journalists “all the time.”
During a news conference at Long Island’s Jones Beach, the governor confirmed a report that his younger brother, Chris, joined a series of conference calls to help the Democratic governor plan his response to the sexual harassment scandal that’s plaguing him.
“I had conversations with my brother. I always have conversations with my brother because he’s my brother and he’s my best friend,” Andrew Cuomo said in response to a question from The Post.
“Obviously, he was aware of what was going on and I talked to him about it, and he told me his thoughts. He always tells me his thoughts. Sometimes I follow them, sometimes I don’t. He was not covering the story. He had recused himself from the story.”
And in a surprise assertion, Cuomo added: “But I talk to journalists about situations all the time and they tell me their thoughts and their advice.”
The governor didn’t identify any of the journalists or elaborate on the “thoughts and advice” they shared with him or when those conversations purportedly took place.
Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional information to back up his claim.
During one conversation with the governor and senior members of his staff, Chris Cuomo encouraged his brother to ignore widespread demands to resign and used the phrase “cancel culture” as justification, the Washington Post said last week, citing two people who took part in the call.
Confronted with the information, CNN admitted that Chris Cuomo’s conduct was “inappropriate” but said he wouldn’t be disciplined.
“He will not participate in such conversations going forward,” the cable network added.
The revelation also forced Chris Cuomo to apologize to his viewers, saying he was sorry that he put his colleagues at CNN “in a bad spot.”
The nonprofit Poynter Institute, a leading journalism school that specializes in ethics and fact-checking, last week published an article that blasted Chris Cuomo over what it called “a major conflict of interest.”
“It’s one thing to recuse yourself from coverage. It’s another to try to go behind the scenes and try to help shape what happens,” the article said.
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