“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert held CNN’s left-wing media guru Brian Stelter’s feet to the fire on Tuesday night over his network’s “odd conflict of rules” regarding its star anchor Chris Cuomo following the stunning resignation of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“In a small way, your network is involved in this story because, of course, the governor’s brother Chris Cuomo has his show,” Colbert began the exchange before pointing to the New York Times’ recent reporting about the CNN star advising the governor to resign. “How does that create any conflict over at CNN behind closed doors? Are people mad at him? Or is he in trouble?”
“Some people are mad at him,” Stelter admitted. “By the way, I can confirm the New York Times report… I also have a source that says Chris was on the phone with his brother this week-“
BRIAN STELTER FACES PUSHBACK AFTER CLAIMING CNN’S PUBLIC SCOLDING OF CHRIS CUOMO IS ‘ACTUAL PUNISHMENT’
“Is your source Chris Cuomo?” Colbert jokingly asked.
“He is not, he is not,” Stelter quickly responded. “You’ve gotta have boundaries. You’ve gotta draw lines.”
“Why? He doesn’t,” Colbert knocked the “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor.
“I think he does, actually,” Stelter pushed back. “I think Chris does, I don’t know about the governor.”
“What are the boundaries?” the CBS host pressed Cuomo’s colleague.
CNN’s media lackey then echoed the network stance from May calling Cuomo’s participation in the governor’s strategy sessions “inappropriate” and that it was a “management ruling” for the anchor to not cover his brother’s scandals.
“Well, then why didn’t they rule that way when his brother was on the show pretty much every night during the COVID crisis?” Colbert asked.
“Yeah, I think it’s really complicated,” Stelter responded.
“It seems like an odd conflict of rules,” Colbert said.
“It is an odd conflict,” Stelter acknowledged, “but I don’t think- if we open up the journalism ethics book, there’s no page for this. The craziest set of circumstances that you can imagine, right? A governor and a brother, both in these high-profile jobs. This is definitely awkward for CNN, though.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald panned the defenses offered by Stelter, arguing he had made CNN “look even worse.”
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The “Reliable Sources” host stressed that “what’s most important” is that CNN “covers the story on-air just the same as we would any other story,” adding “isn’t that what matters?”
However, CNN wasn’t always covering the controversies plaguing the New York governor. In the spring, CNN went an entire week avoiding the latest developments in the scandals, including skipping Cuomo’s ninth accuser, the ethical questions surrounding his COVID memoir, and the “VIP” COVID testing controversy that implicated the primetime anchor.
Stelter was also slammed by critics after he argued that the public scolding CNN did in May was enough “punishment” as others called for Chris Cuomo’s suspension or firing. The Washington Post accused Stelter of whitewashing the journalistic malpractice that has taken place.