CNN's Brian Stelter indicates Chris Cuomo might only be suspended for a few weeks

Media top headlines December 1

In media news today, CNN suspends Chris Cuomo ‘indefinitely,’ ‘The View’s’ Sunny Hostin argues the liberal host did nothing ‘illegal,’ and Bill Nye gets roasted for a TikTok video with President Biden.

CNN suspended embattled anchor Chris Cuomo “indefinitely” on Tuesday, leading to widespread speculation that his time at the liberal network was over. But hours later, CNN’s media newsletter penned by Brian Stelter and his sidekick floated that Cuomo would simply “remain on the bench for weeks.”

Calls for the “Cuomo Prime Time” host to be fired intensified this week after newly released documents showed he was far more involved in aiding his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D., during his sexual misconduct scandal than he previously disclosed to viewers or the network. 

CNN’s media newsletter penned by Brian Stelter and his sidekick noted Chris Cuomo would simply "remain on the bench for weeks." (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)
(Gilbert Carrasquillo/Kevin Mazur)

CNN suspended Cuomo “indefinitely, pending further evaluation” of the documents and many assumed the breach of journalism ethics would be too much for the “Cuomo Prime Time” host to recover from. 

Stelter, CNN’s in-house media pundit who has at times publicly defended Cuomo, co-authors CNN’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter with Oliver Darcy. A tidbit from Tuesday’s newsletter, penned by Darcy, quickly raised eyebrows. 

“Cuomo has been suspended by CNN – not for a few days, not for some faux ‘vacation,’ but for an indefinite period of time, ‘pending further evaluation,’ the network said,” Darcy wrote. “The CNN spokesman who shared the suspension decision did not get into any further details, but it’s possible that Cuomo – who frequently ranks as the highest-rated host on the network — will remain on the bench for weeks.”

If Cuomo is sidelined for “weeks,” his absence could essentially be a prolonged Christmas vacation, which coincides with speculation that he would simply receive the Jeffrey Toobin treatment and return from a scandal-induced absence. Toobin, the network’s legal analyst, came back in June after an extended leave of absence for his Zoom call masturbation incident last year. 

“The suspension is indefinite. There is no end date. It will remain that way until after a review,” a CNN spokesperson told Fox News Digital when asked if the newsletter indicated Cuomo would return. “The statement couldn’t be any more clear.”

However, Stelter himself said on Monday’s “New Day” that while Cuomo is benched for now, “We’re heading into a holiday season. I think it’s possible he will be on the bench for several weeks. It’s possible he’ll be back in January.”

CNN’s initial statement declared: “The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense. The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second. However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”

Lindsey Boylan, who accused the former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, scolded CNN’s Brian Stelter Tuesday for helping "abuses of power" by defending Chris Cuomo. 
(Getty Images/Reuters)

On Monday, Lindsey Boylan, who accused Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, scolded Stelter for helping “abuses of power” by defending his CNN colleague. 

Stelter was also grilled earlier this year by “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, who called out the “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake’s “odd conflict” of interest. 

CNN’s Brian Stelter once claimed Chris Cuomo abides by journalistic boundaries during an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."  (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images) Chris Cuomo: CNN
(hoto by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images  | CNN)

“It is an odd conflict,” Stelter acknowledged. “But I don’t think — if we open up the journalism ethics book, there’s no page for this. The craziest set of circumstances that you can imagine, right? A governor and a brother, both in these high-profile jobs. This is definitely awkward for CNN, though.”

At the time, Stelter also claimed Cuomo abides by journalistic boundaries after Colbert suggested the CNN anchor does not.

Transcripts from Cuomo’s interview with state investigators indicated the CNN star would reach out to media sources to find out about his brother’s accusers before they came forward publicly. Text messages also indicated he pestered journalists about upcoming stories that would make his brother look bad, and relayed the information to governor’s aides. 

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.  

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