A panel assembled Sunday on CNN’s media show “Reliable Sources” refused to say whether CNN has lost trust over its handling of the Chris Cuomo scandal.
What is the background?
CNN announced Saturday that Cuomo, a primetime network anchor, had been terminated after new documents from the New York Attorney General’s Office revealed Cuomo helped his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), navigate multiple sexual misconduct allegations in a more involved manner than he ever admitted or disclosed.
The network also said “additional information” had come to light, which solidified CNN’s decision to fire Cuomo. That new information was most likely new sexual misconduct allegations against Cuomo.
What happened Sunday?
CNN host Brian Stelter hosted a panel of “non-CNN voices” to discuss the fallout of the Chris Cuomo scandal in an effort “to be as transparent as we can with you at home.”
One of the panelists, Axios reporter Sara Fischer, actually worked at CNN as a production and news assistant in 2013. Stelter did not disclose Fischer’s previous employment at CNN.
Meanwhile, another panelist, Goucher College media studies professor David Zurawik, refused to say whether CNN lost trust over its handling of the controversy.
“Has CNN lost trust as a result of this?” Stelter asked.
“I don’t know,” Zurawik replied. “That’s hard to say if CNN has lost trust.”
No one on the panel objected to advance the possibility that CNN has lost trust. Instead, Zurawik went on to make broad claims about the media, and explained why he believes people may not generally trust the media.
“We’ve really lost sense of media ethics,” Zurawik said. “In our profession, especially in the last few years, you have to ask yourself first — and this is the mistake Chris Cuomo made, and in some sense I think CNN made this same mistake in not forcing him to ask it — ‘Who do you work for? Who do you serve?’ Obviously you serve and work for your employer or you don’t get a check. But beyond that, who are you talking to? You should be serving the public. That oftentimes puts you at odds with people in power.”
Then Zurawik seemingly downplayed Cuomo’s serious breach of journalism ethics, claiming the fact that he was serving his brother over his audience, “complicates” the situation.
Stelter used the opportunity to also downplay Cuomo’s actions.
“See, that’s the thing. I think this is a once in a lifetime ethical dilemma,” Stelter said, explaining that he wasn’t necessary defending the situation, but was simply noting that it was “unique.”
CNN fires Chris Cuomo