CNN morning host Chris Cuomo interviewed the Governor of New York about yesterday’s deadly train derailment Monday morning. Normally this would be a routine and un-noteworthy segment except in this case the Governor of New York is Cuomo’s brother, Andrew Cuomo.
The segment drew criticism from fellow journalists and commentators who found CNN’s choice to have Cuomo interview his brother a questionable choice:
call me old fashioned but I feel like CNN ought to have had someone not named Cuomo interview Governor Cuomo
— alex pareene (@pareene) December 2, 2013
— Pat Kiernan (@patkiernan) December 2, 2013
— Ken Ericson (@kenericson) December 2, 2013
Even progressive Huffington Post found the decision by CNN brass worthy of criticism:
The interview was probably not markedly different from any other one that the governor was doing that morning, and it’s unlikely that Cuomo would interview his brother about any major political issues, but the point of keeping family members out of these things is to ensure that nobody has a chance to jump to any conclusions about favoritism.
Cuomo defended himself in an email to The Daily Beast:
“Obviously I did the intv because it was non political, and frankly, I invite the criticism–because it exposes the hollowness of a lot of what is out there,” the 43-year-old Cuomo emailed me after absorbing the predictable reproaches from various ethics cops on Twitter and elsewhere. “Critics say my intv was no diff than any other and then criticize anyway,” he continued. “Think about that. I get the obvious suspicion, but the media has to do better than simply cater to the obvious…and pawn off negativity as a proxy for insight.”
Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren also chimed in on the younger Cuomo’s behalf:
“Maybe it is my background in law, but I have no problem with Chris Cuomo interviewing his brother the NY Governor about the train crash. A conflict of interest is when some vital information is deliberately hidden from the viewer so that the viewer can’t make a decision himself/herself about the content of an interview and the potential for bias. What could be more obvious here? They are both named Cuomo! And if that is not enough…CNN’s Cuomo said ‘Now obviously to those who don’t know, we are family, so we’ve been talking about this a lot.’ “
Watch the interview here: