BROTHERS ANDREW AND CHRIS
Oh, brother! Brothers Andrew and Chris Cuomo are accused of being nice to each other. Chris, who has the most popular show on CNN, has been charged with the heinous crime of having advised his brother on how to get out of his current mess. Instead of doing the advising mano a mano, Christopher apparently joined a group of so- called “advisors” to tell Andrew how to play the carom off the wall, as we used to say during our Fire Island handball days.
Andrew has often taken a teasing tone when he talks about Chris. It’s reminiscent of the old Smothers Brothers show, as in “Mom always like you better.” Ever eager to get Andrew on just about anything, the media has jumped on this one big time. It has landed with less than an A-bomb effect. It seems to me that with all the things Andrew has to worry about, this CNN kerfuffle is way at the bottom of the list.
Wouldn’t most of us help our siblings if we were asked? Even when things have been contentious between my twin brother and me, there was that special connection that meant that when one was busted, the other would be called on to help. I can remember some unbelievable fights against some overwhelming odds, but we gave it our all. So when it comes to the Cuomo brothers, I truly get it. My bet is that everyone reading this who has a sibling will get it, too.
Naturally, both the network and Christopher himself have apologized for his helping his brother, shedding crocodile tears. What does a “sorry” cost? Answer: “Nothing.” That was certainly the right approach to this nonsense. It will certainly go away. In fact, it probably already has.
Some people think the whole thing is just wrong and have certainly said so. Some of the accusations against Andrew reference the way in which he has allegedly treated women. If Christopher apologized for helping Andrew, the critics argue, what about the women who Andrew allegedly harassed? Shouldn’t Christopher have mentioned them, too? One of the reasons why I don’t answer every letter I receive is that some of them, often written by some very unbalanced people, don’t deserve answers. Often, if you ignore the letters, they will disappear.
Let’s face it: Christopher’s CNN show may be very popular, but would he really have that show if his last name wasn’t Cuomo? It has been said that Christopher is the better looking of the two and let’s remember that this is America. When Christopher got an early case of COVID-19, his brother the governor was quite concerned. So were many of the rest of us who followed along as Christopher was consigned to his basement. His survival brought us all a glimmer of hope.
There is also the matter of compensation. We now know that Andrew will be paid $5 million for his new book which really isn’t all that good. I wrote a better book about his father and I got zilch for that. You can order it online. It’s called, Me and Mario: Conversations in Candor. You can get it on Amazon or you can write to me. All profits go to WAMC public radio. If you loved Mario Cuomo’s wit, this book is for you.
There are a lot of people who say mean things about both Cuomos. Some are just jealous of their various successes. Some are Democrats who think that Andrew is stopping their rise to political power. Some are Republicans who hate Andrew because he has done a wonderful thing by controlling the gun frenzy in the state. Some have some real problems with Andrew’s nursing home mess. In any case, it’s complicated but asking your brother for help is hardly likely on its own to lead to one’s professional demise.
Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected]