Published On: Wed, Dec 1st, 2021

ARE NOT JOURNALISTS ENTITLED TO FAMILY LOYALTY? SO, WHAT COMES FIRST? JOB OR FAMILY?

That’s right!  What does come first, job or family? 

I’m not a big fan of the former touchy-feely governor of New York, nor am I one of his brother Chris’s biggest TV fans on CNN.  Still, I can understand what loyalty to a family member is all about.  And I not only approve, but bless it, provided it’s handled right.

When I was a journalist too for The Philadelphia Inquirer, if my family needed me, I would drop the biggest news story of the day right in its tracks, and go help my family.

And years later when my poor wife was dying of breast cancer, I would tell my PR firm’s biggest client to go jump in Lake Okeechobee if they insisted that I come to a crisis meeting when she needed me.

Perhaps, in retrospect to this cuomocaphony and furor that’s erupted, Chris Cuomo should have asked for a leave of absence to serve his brother at a most challenging time, but who is thinking straight when your beloved older brother is suffering and needs you badly?

Yes, there’s family, and your job as a journalist and Chris Cuomo’s willingness to put the latter at risk in service to his brother, admirable as it was, has resulted in CNN suspending him, as right as that was from their POV.

The network defended itself saying material released by New York’s attorney general showed Chris played a greater role than he previously had acknowledged in defense of his brother, as the former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo battled a slew of sexual harassment charges.

Transcripts of emails and Chris Cuomo’s testimony before state investigators revealed that he strategized regularly with the governor’s aides and tried to help them learn what other journalists were reporting about harassment allegations. Hmmmm.

CNN said that he was more involved than its executives had been aware of. “As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation,” a CNN spokesperson said.

Now, as a crisis manager, I would advise Chris Cuomo to come clean and face the discordant music.  He needs to tell why he feels a deep sense of loyalty to his besieged brother and he wasn’t being disloyal to his followers or to his journalistic ethics.

The Cuomos are part of a New York political dynasty that began with their father, Mario, serving three terms as governor from 1982 to 1996. His son Andrew was in his third term when the Sh—hit the proverbial fan, and he has much to answer for in his ever so light-hearted, jovial feelings way about him with the females around him.

I actually wrote an article that defended the governor a little saying perhaps some of those around him may have been a bit too cuomophobic caused by his huggy-kissy Italian style so inappropriate in accordance with today’s ‘Me Too Movement’ standards. 

Still, you’re innocent until proven guilty and when it comes to your brother standing at your side, I still believe in that noble thing called family loyalty, which I submit is insufficient grounds for a flat-out suspension.

Yet, Chris, you need to stand up and explain what you were doing and why you were doing it when you were helping your older brother while still host of your own show on CNN.

Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available in January on Amazon.   He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for America’s largest companies and organizations.

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