Report: Ousted CNN Head Jeff Zucker and Girlfriend Helped Andrew Cuomo With Publicity Amid COVID  

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A report into the extent to which now-ousted CNN CEO Jeff Zucker and his longtime co-worker and subordinate, Allison Gollust, were carrying on an undisclosed and at times extramarital affair has highlighted the role they allegedly played in helping disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo craft his response to criticism over how he handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes after several months of intrigue and scandal at CNN, largely centering around Chris Cuomo, the former governor’s younger brother, who was fired over the role he played in helping his brother respond to allegations of sexual impropriety.

Last week, Zucker resigned from the network as a legal investigation into Chris Cuomo’s ousting from the network last year unearthed the consensual relationship with Gollust, which he said began amid the pandemic.

Rolling Stone magazine, however, contends that sources tell them that Zucker and Gollust were engaged in an affair for two decades rather than two years and that the pair also played a similar role in aiding the governor with his public image as he was overseeing the COVID crisis in the Empire State, a serious breach of journalistic integrity for the network and something over which Chris Cuomo was ultimately fired.

The former CNN anchor was ousted late last year after it came to light that had gone as far as to use his journalistic sources to get ahead of damaging stories that might be run about his brother amid the sex scandal.

Cuomo, then CNN’s top-rated anchor and primetime headliner, was initially suspended, but ultimately fired from CNN after it came to light he was himself fielding sexual harassment allegations.

All this came just a year after the Cuomo brothers regularly appeared on Chris’ show in the early days of the pandemic so the governor could be interviewed by his brother, something which was a ratings boon for CNN but would retrospectively serve to bolster the case for journalistic impropriety on Chris Cuomo’s part.

When Andrew Cuomo’s scandal would later arise, along with questions as to what extent Chris had been helping his brother’s publicity team craft responses to the allegations of unwanted groping, kissing, and inappropriate comments directed at staffers and other women, the younger Cuomo was ultimately banned from covering his brother’s scandal before his final fall from grace at the network.

According to sources that spoke to Rolling Stone, however, Zucker and Gollust were aiding Andrew Cuomo in much the same way that his loyal brother was back in 2020.

“The source says the investigation suggests Zucker and Gollust were advising the governor at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in ways not dissimilar to what led to Chris Cuomo’s dismissal,” the outlet reports. “As Andrew sparred on a daily basis with then-President Trump over Covid messaging, the couple provided the governor with talking points on how to respond to the president’s criticisms of the New York crisis.”

“The autonomy of a news organization requires it to not be engaged in any sort of direct activity with any political actor,” journalism professor and media ethics expert Tim Gleason of the University of Oregon told Rolling Stone, in broad terms. “If they’re advising a politician [while] presumably reporting on activity that that politician is engaged in, that’s duplicitous and deceptive and a disservice to the audience of a news organization.”

On the sidelines of this tangled, scandalous affair, two now-former producers at CNN have been accused of child sexual abuse including one who worked closely with Chris Cuomo for years.

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