Blood Brothers - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1840411

Blood Brothers

You know the country has sunk to an unfathomable low when a media mafioso like Jeff Zucker gets to set the standard of journalistic probity. Like a dog with his nose raised to the odors of the marketing winds, Zucker first dismissed then fired Chris Cuomo, for allegations that he got involved with his brother’s defense, conduct Zucker and CNN found indefensible in a CNN employee.

The hypocrisy is enough to make you vomit. Chris Cuomo violated no journalism ethics, nor did he ever use his platform to defend his brother on air; quite the opposite, in fact.

Indeterminate suspension was not enough, so off they went zealously in search of “new allegations” to trounce him. These were provided by Debra S. Katz, a “prominent employment lawyer” who coincidentally was contacted by an anonymous former “colleague” of Cuomo’s from an (unnamed) network who accused him of “sexual misconduct.” Why did she suddenly come forth?

Letitia James seems to have taken a page from Roger Stone’s handbook. Her suspiciously unvetted special report on the allegations leveled against the former governor and her timing of releases to do maximum damage reveal her opportunistic grab at political power: She wants to run for governor. Her actions stink to high heaven. Her campaign will be perfumed with the odor.

But it is Zucker, CNN’s capo, who takes your breath away. This rank hybrid from the entertainment world, creator of “The Apprentice,” lapdog to Donald Trump, who brought his sleazy “reality show” priorities to news programming, now accuses Cuomo of conduct unbecoming to a CNN journalist.

Zucker, who jammed CNN with a barrage of nightly coverage of Trump during his campaign (the equivalent of millions of dollars of free airtime), who made his every ugly utterance “news,” who hyped and promoted him into the White House, and beyond — this same Zucker is now the arbiter of the abuse of TV influence. Concerned NBC executives worried that “Mr. Zucker’s thirst for ratings blinded him to the damage he was doing by offering saturation Trump coverage …”(New York Times, September 20, 2020). Politics and ratings have obviously restored his eyesight enough for him to focus on Cuomo and his family.

Did Chris Cuomo use his contacts to get access behind the scenes to help his brother’s defense team? Probably. Who wouldn’t? And who doesn’t? He is guilty of family loyalty, brotherly love and concern, and for that he is pilloried.

And the sentence is pronounced and the punishment carried out by Jeff Zucker (unscathed for his appropriation of CNN airtime), who boasted that he has “no regrets about the part [he] played in Trump’s career.”

Why would he? They are brothers under the skin, after all.

Frances Genovese