CNN is coming under internal and external criticism over its approach to conflicts of interest for journalists after host Chris Cuomo escaped disciplinary action despite advising his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), on how to handle sexual misconduct allegations.
Current and former employees have criticized the host of “Cuomo Prime Time” for the transgression, but a retired CNN ethics executive says the lack of clear cut policies are largely to blame.
“You won’t see any rules that are etched in stone so that a violation could be a firing offense,” said Steve Holmes, who retired from CNN in 2019 after working at the network for more than a decade.
“And I think you see sort of the results. I mean the Chris Cuomo thing, they can’t say that he’s violated any written policies because there aren’t any, period,” said Holmes, who reported to the executive vice president of news standards and practices when he was at CNN.
Last week, CNN staffers started weighing in on Cuomo advising his brother.
“I cannot imagine a world in which anybody in journalism thinks that that was appropriate,” Jake Tapper said in an interview last week with Kara Swisher of The New York Times.
That same week, Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s show “Reliable Sources,” suggested a leave of absence might be in order.
“If Chris Cuomo wants to call into strategy sessions with his brother’s aides, shouldn’t he take a leave of absence from CNN?” Stelter asked.
"If Chris Cuomo wants to call into strategy sessions with his brother's aides, shouldn't he take a leave of absence from CNN?" Here's our conversation about the Cuomo brothers from today's @ReliableSources pic.twitter.com/6nk0wbaFGN
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 23, 2021