Report: Zucker’s Paramour Allison Gollust Inappropriately Helped Shape CNN’s Coverage Of Andrew Cuomo
CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia found that not only was Gollust instrumental in shaping coverage surrounding Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandals, but also regarding their coverage of then-Gov. Cuomo’s pandemic “leadership.”
The fallout continues at CNN in the aftermath of the firing of longtime anchor Chris Cuomo, and the resignations of the network’s president Jeff Zucker and his “close colleague” and CNN executive VP Allison Gollust.
In early February, just as Zucker was preparing to exit Stage Left, the New York Post had reported that both he and Gollust had had a rather large hand in crafting CNN’s unwritten policy towards coverage of then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
Further, the Post’s story said both Zucker and Gollust also went as far as advising Cuomo on how to conduct his daily COVID-19 briefings in part because the briefings helped boost CNN’s already-poor ratings in a struggling time slot:
CNN boss Jeff Zucker and his paramour Allison Gollust had an inappropriately close friendship with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo — personally calling him to do news segments with his brother Chris Cuomo and even coaching him on what to say during his infamous COVID briefings, The Post has learned.
According to a source to Cuomo, “Zucker and Gollust even advised Andrew what to say — how to respond and particularly how to hit back at [President Donald] Trump to make it more compelling TV.
Multiple insiders say the friendship between Andrew Cuomo and Zucker stretches back years — while Gollust was the disgraced governor’s head of communications, before joining CNN.
Fast forward a few weeks and the details of CNN’s parent company Warner Media’s investigation into the matter are being leaked out, details that not only seem to confirm the Post’s reporting but which also shed new light into the other ways Gollust, in particular, worked to help Chris Cuomo favorably mold CNN’s coverage of Andrew Cuomo:
In one [text message], Ms. Gollust—who prior to working at CNN was briefly a top aide to Andrew Cuomo—sent Chris Cuomo a sentence she said she would have added to a statement that Andrew Cuomo had issued earlier that day in February of last year, after an accuser went public, some of the people said.
In another message, she asked Chris Cuomo whether another accuser ever said publicly that the then-governor had never touched her—something Ms. Gollust said Chris Cuomo had told her in a previous conversation, those people said. Ms. Gollust went on to tell Chris Cuomo that if such a statement existed, CNN should report it, they said.
Other text messages reviewed during the investigation showed Andrew Cuomo had mentioned to Ms. Gollust certain questions he wanted to be asked by CNN during an interview that aired on March 28, 2020, regarding the coronavirus pandemic, some of the people said.
Ms. Gollust relayed the questions to a CNN producer in an email and told the producer to tell the anchor to ask them, those people said. Mr. Zucker was copied on the email as well, they said.
A person close to Mr. Zucker said the former CNN president was copied on hundreds of CNN emails every day.
For what it’s worth, Gollust’s representatives say the allegations against her are “patently ridiculous.”
This new information about Gollust comes a little over a week after it emerged that the real reason CNN likely let Chris Cuomo go was because a former ABC News colleague alerted the network in early December 2021 that he allegedly sexually assaulted her several years earlier. Cuomo denies the claim.
It also comes at a time when Warner Bros. Discovery is said to be getting ready to announce a new president for CNN as well as undertaking an overhaul of the network – including staff – in order to steer it towards “hard news, and away from red-hot liberal opining”:
SCOOP: Under new chief Chris Licht, CNN will dial down the prime-time partisanship and double down on the network's news-gathering muscle, top sources tell Axios.https://t.co/9u99SHAMQ5
— Axios (@axios) February 26, 2022
This could mean a “realignment” is up ahead for CNN’s “media reporters” Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy:
Understand that the 'Media Reporters' at CNN. Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy were Zucker's hit men and cleanup crew. It makes sense Discovery would like to start fresh. /More to come.
— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) February 27, 2022
Judging by the way Stelter and Darcy wrote this piece on the news of the results of the investigation into Gollust, it appears both of them are begging to get fired at this point, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall.
It will be interesting to find out in the coming weeks how all of this will flesh out. As always, stay tuned.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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