MATTHEWS: CNN fires Chris Cuomo, but his terrible legacy will not be forgotten 

FILE - Chris Cuomo attends The Hollywood Reporter's annual Most Powerful People in Media cocktail reception on April 11, 2019, in New York. CNN fired Cuomo for the role he played in defense of his brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he fought sexual harassment charges. CNN said Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, it was still investigating but additional information had come to light. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

If someone had told me in December 2020 that a year later the Cuomo brothers would be out of work — with one resigning in disgrace and the other being fired for abusing his position as a cable news anchor to aid his brother in the scandal that would eventually bring him down — I would have laughed. 

But that is indeed the state of things now for former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in August rather than face the possibility of impeachment over sexual harassment allegations and his disastrous management of the pandemic outbreak, and ex-CNN “Prime Time” host Chris Cuomo, who was fired from the struggling network Saturday. 

He was booted not quite a week after New York state Attorney General Tish James’ office released a new batch of transcripts, texts and emails that revealed the extent in which Chris Cuomo advised his older brother as the sexual harassment scandals unfolded. 

The documents revealed that both Chris Cuomo and CNN were dishonest with viewers and readers about the depth of his involvement in crafting an expansive and targeted response strategy to the allegations. 

Previously, Chris Cuomo had suggested that while it was “inappropriate” for him to be advising his powerful brother, that the extent of it was being “looped in” to a few strategy phone calls. That wasn’t true, based on the information released last week. He was heavily involved in not just helping draft statements for his brother but also in abusing his position as a journalist to be on the lookout for potentially damaging stories as well as using journalistic sources to seek out information on some of Andrew Cuomo’s accusers. 

From both ethical and moral perspectives, what Chris Cuomo did was indefensible and inexcusable. He has said before that he puts his family first, something most people do. But he should have taken a leave of absence from CNN in order to advise his brother. It would have been the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, Chris Cuomo has demonstrated often in his career, especially over the last 20 months, that he is not a very responsible person. 

In late March 2020, Cuomo tested positive for the coronavirus. He lectured other virus sufferers during basement broadcasts about staying home and away from others to keep people safe, and yet he was caught breaking quarantine when he visited his under-construction East Hampton home. When a senior-citizen bicyclist rode by and happened to see him standing outside, he called out Cuomo for breaking his brother’s COVID protocols. Chris Cuomo’s response was to allegedly threaten the man with bodily harm. 

A week later, he staged a “basement emergence” video which aired on CNN and in which he claimed to be coming out for the first time since catching COVID, a lie based on what was known about his East Hampton outing. 

Soon after, Cuomo began hosting Gov. Andrew Cuomo on his show as questions were being raised about the deadly nursing-home order he put in place that led to thousands of senior deaths. Chris Cuomo never questioned his brother on it. Instead, he brought him on to sing his praises and to joke about the size of his nose with oversized cotton swab props. 

During this time, CNN did not run a single story on the nursing home scandal. 

Concurrently, Cuomo brought on a discredited critic of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — a frequent target of CNN — to allege he was fudging COVID death case numbers. It was a lie, but Cuomo brought her on anyway, trying to make his brother look like a hero in comparison. 

In the summer of 2020, Cuomo encouraged demonstrators at the Black Lives Matter protests to riot. 

Chris Cuomo may be gone from CNN, but he leaves a disgraceful legacy that won’t be forgotten. 

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.