On Monday, TV expert Bob Thompson called Boston Public Radio to discuss the ethical qualms surrounding interviews between CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Chris Cuomo, who himself is dealing with COVID-19, has interviewed his governor brother on several occasions. Many moments from those interviews, where the two playfully bicker about things like tomato sauce recipes and who their mother loves best, have gone viral. But Thompson said that the journalistic implications of the interviews make him feel “queasy.”
"On one hand, there does seem to be a real conflict of interest,” he said. “[Chris Cuomo] can’t ask certain questions, the knockout punches that we would want a journalist to ask someone– his brother– who’s so much in the center of this.” He noted that Gov. Cuomo is "the guy in charge of the state that is the most afflicted by… and the epicenter, as they keep calling it, of the entire world."
"On the other hand,” Thompson pointed out, "there are also intelligent people making the argument that Chris Cuomo... has become a face of the coronavirus that people can identify with, if they don’t already have someone afflicted by it.”
Bob Thompson is the founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture and a Trustee Professor of Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.