Critics ripped CNN on Wednesday for its defense of anchor Chris Cuomo amid a report that he was given priority coronavirus testing early in the pandemic thanks to his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
In a statement, a CNN spokesperson said the anchor, who was infected with COVID-19 last March, acted as “any human being would.”
Chris Cuomo, his sister and their mom, Matilda Cuomo, were tested several times at the direction of Gov. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, the Albany Times-Union reported.
Other allies to the administration and some state legislators and their staffers also received early testing, the report said.
Responding to the report, a CNN spokesperson said: “It is not surprising that in the earliest days of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would.”
Several people on twitter called out the network’s response.
“HOO boy who thought THIS would help?” Keith Olbermann, a former MSNBC host, wrote.
Ben Max, executive editor of Gotham Gazette, said: “anyone” here being the governor of New York, his brother, who he was also having on his television show.”
Radio host Derek Hunter tweeted that CNN’s response was, “a long-winded version of ‘Don’t you know who I am?’”
In response the the Times Union story, Gov. Cuomo spokesman and adviser Rich Azzopardi called the report an, “insincere effort to rewrite the past.”
“In the early days of this pandemic, when there was a heavy emphasis on contact tracing, we were absolutely going above and beyond to get people testing — including in some instances going to people’s homes, and door-to-door in places like New Rochelle — to take samples from those believed to have been exposed to COVID in order to identify cases and prevent additional ones,” he said.
“Among those we assisted were members of the general public, including legislators, reporters, state workers and their families who feared they had contracted the virus and had the capability to further spread it.”