It was recently reported that a number of key individuals who worked in mainstream media and Big Tech have helped Gov. Andrew Cuomo through his multiple scandals. From communication strategies to smearing accusers, it’s clear that Cuomo’s scandals were a “team effort” as portrayed in New York attorney general Letitia James’ bombshell investigation.
One of the biggest “conflicts of interest” regarding Cuomo’s report is CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the governor’s brother. The report accuses the network host of enabling the governor’s behavior on television and often protecting him through ways of discrediting the women charging him. James adds that Chris often advised his older brother on how to handle the sexual harassment allegations and often put together a “response strategy” with a team of individuals who were not State employees.
The report says these team members were often privileged with confidential information “without any formal role, duty, or obligation to the State.” Gov. Cuomo often tried to discredit the allegations and paint them in a negative light during press conferences by evading accountability. His brother Chris even helped draft part of his official statement on the allegations against Charlotte Bennett.
Gov Cuomo was even photographed making unwanted advances on Anna Ruch, one of the victims whose text messages were included in the report. She texted someone back on September 16, 2019, when CNN was praising Cuomo’s e-cigarette ban and the workplace harassment policy he put in place. She wrote she wished she’d tried to say or do something at the time.
But CNN continues to cover the AG’s report as something “civil” but not criminal. They said the report does not reach any conclusions on whether or not it amounts to criminal prosecution. They did imply that it will likely end his political career.
CNN has always tried to justify Chris Cuomo’s role in the media and how he covers the news on political figures like his brother. All of that credit goes down the drain after the public sees how much Chris shaped the media coverage’s coverage of the governor’s multiple scandals. With all of the fine details in the released report, the network is in deeper water than they expected.
And now Facebook is getting caught in Cuomo’s web of scandals. It was included in the AG’s report that top communications manager Dani Lever helped Gov. Cuomo fight off sexual misconduct allegations. She’d worked in Cuomo’s press operations since 2014 but left in August 2020 to join Facebook. She leaked confidential files about one of the accusers Lindsey Boylan and even participated with Cuomo’s communications team to help develop a strategy against the allegations.
Boylan was one of the first women to come forward against the governor for sexual harassment, with a total of 11 on the AG’s final report. Hours after Boylan announced allegations against the governor, communications director Rich Azzopardi sent files of Boylan to several journalists, asking them to investigate what they can to “discredit and disparage her.”
Lever was one of the people assigned to disseminate her files and find what she could to defend Cuomo. She said she would help Cuomo, even though she’d already been working at Facebook for months. She even included her name on a statement disputing Boylan’s accusations of the governor suggesting they play strip poker on a 2017 taxpayer-funded trip.
James concluded in her report that figures such as Levers, Chris Cuomo, and other outside advisors enjoyed “an inappropriate level of access to Cuomo” and were regularly privileged with state-related information. This is only the “tip of the iceberg” on the report and with updated details to follow. If there are any questions about whether or not social media and cable news mingle with politics, those questions no longer exist.
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