The Truth About The CNN Ban Surrounding Chris Cuomo

Politics and journalism depend on one another, sharing a fraternal cultural relationship. Yet when those two fields literally intersect with — and are respectively represented by — two brothers, there can be lines blurred. Chris Cuomo, the host of CNN's nightly Cuomo Prime Time, has previously covered his older brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, before and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Their faux sibling rivalry banter proved to be a welcome reprieve from anxieties surrounding the pandemic in the spring.

In fact, the brothers seem to have always been close. Andrew is said to have taken a paternal role in Chris' upbringing; however, their 13-year age difference placed both men on different personal and professional trajectories. Andrew followed in their father Mario Cuomo's footsteps, entering politics and eventually occupying the same Albany office, while Chris pursued broadcast journalism — first at ABC News and then as co-host of 20/20 before launching CNN's Cuomo Prime Time in 2018"My pop didn't want me to go into journalism," Chris said, per Biography. "He used to say, 'Why do you just cover these things? Why don't you go out and do them?'" 

While some critics argued Chris shouldn't have been interviewing Andrew on Prime Time in the first place, as of February 2021, CNN is reinstating a previous ban on the brothers' on-screen interactions. Keep scrolling to find out why this is being put in place now. 

Chris Cuomo can't interview Governor Andrew Cuomo after a scandal

Per the New York Post, CNN announced on Feb. 17, 2021 that there is a "rule" being re-implemented to bar Prime Time host Chris Cuomo from "interviewing or covering his brother." This ban is reportedly following the nursing home scandal currently surrounding Governor Andrew Cuomo

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal New York City prosecutors are investigating Andrew's coronavirus task force. "The full scope of the investigation is not immediately clear, but the sources said there was a particular interest in nursing homes," ABC News reported. Andrew admitted that "his handling of nursing home fatality data created a 'void.'" 

"The void we created by not providing information was filled with skepticism and cynicism and conspiracy theories which fueled the confusion... and that caused more anxiety for loved ones," the Governor stated in a news conference. 

CNN issued an official statement surrounding Prime Time coverage of the current investigation: "We felt that Chris speaking with his brother about the challenges of what millions of American families were struggling with was of significant human interest. As a result, we made an exception to a rule that we have had in place since 2013 which prevents Chris from interviewing and covering his brother, and that rule remains in place today." 

While neither brother has made their reaction public, Chris previously told Rolling Stone that Prime Time isn't personal. "I'm an intermediary between power and people," Chris explained. That relationship has just been reaffirmed. 

Critics have slammed Chris Cuomo for not addressing his brother's investigation

Of course, journalists and politicians alike have now shared their opinions on the matter. Did CNN wait too long to reinstate the ban?

Per Yahoo, CNN confirmed that the network has "covered the news surrounding Governor Cuomo extensively." On-air correspondents like Jake Tapper have brought up the nursing home scandal, as well as exclusively breaking the story alleging Governor Cuomo threatened Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim over the scandal.

Nevertheless, the debate of whether Chris should have covered Governor Cuomo on Prime Time continues. "Journalists can't reliably cover their brothers," a Washington Post opinion piece stated, pointing out that Chris previously interviewed the governor as a show guest multiple times. According to the article, Chris said on-air in June 2020 that having his brother on Prime Time is "an unusual thing" but he's "wowed" by the governor's work in New York. 

"[CNN's statement] is an expression of the problem itself: You can't nullify a rule when your star anchor's brother is flying high, only to invoke it during times of scandal. You just can't," the Washington Post piece concluded.

Donald Trump Jr. took to social media to attack Chris Cuomo

Even Donald Trump Jr. had to comment on the current Cuomo brothers debacle. Chris Cuomo retweeted a CBS News article on a Texan mayor resigning amidst a scandal. "Resign or apologize and learn and become a better leader?" Chris wrote, which opened the door for Trump Jr. to troll him. 

"Great to see Chris Cuomo finally address his brother's gross negligence in NY. I was wondering when he was going to cover this story since he did so much in the past with him," Trump Jr. captioned in response. 

Followers similarly commented on Chris' tweet. "Speaking of which, you really should have your brother on the show again," one tweet read

"When is Andrew coming on for a tough Q and A, Chris? Seriously, #LetsGetAfterIt," another user replied. While there is no doubt a conflict of interest between two brothers, journalism and politics inherently go hand-in-hand, for better or for worse. At this time, neither Governor Cuomo nor Chris have made an official statement in response.