(Courtesy of Charter/Spectrum)
(Courtesy of Charter/Spectrum)
Last week at a news conference in Queens, NY1 reporter Zack Fink asked Governor Cuomo about whether or not Crystal Run Health gave money to his campaign in the form of straw donors. After saying that he couldn't comment on an ongoing investigation, Cuomo said "speaking of fraud, Charter Spectrum has been executing fraud on the people of this state," and continued to say "You are defrauding the people of the state. That’s a fraud.”
It was a dramatic moment, but as the New York Times reports, it never made it on air at NY1, which is owned by Charter Spectrum. The Governor also called the NY1 newsroom to explain himself further, and that never made the news either. Charter Spectrum did not return a request for comment about why Cuomo's comments never appeared on air.
“We stand fully behind Spectrum News and the journalists who make it a tremendous asset to our customers,” the company said in a statement to the Times.
The unaired coverage comes two weeks after the New York State Public Service Commission announced that they are revoking approval of the 2016 merger agreement between Charter Communications (a.k.a. Spectrum) and Time Warner Cable, because of Spectrum's alleged failure to provide public benefits it promised in exchange for state approval of the merger.
The incident also raises questions about whether the Governor complained to Charter company officials about critical coverage of him or his administration. We asked the Governor's office about this claim. Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo's spokesperson, did not answer our question, but said in an email:
The facts clearly debunk any conspiracy theory and in fact everything has been played out in public. The Broad band access is imperative for all, New Yorkers and the PSC-Charter franchise agreement was supposed to ensure it. For the past year Charter has refused to honor their obligations and has blacked out any news coverage of the PSC violations to their subscribers while running charter sponsored ads claiming they were "ahead of schedule". The PSC referred charter to the AG for consumer fraud and the governor has been publicly criticizing charter and charter has refused to cover that either.
Finally after other news outlets started covering the Governor's criticism this week Charter agreed to stop their ads which they had refused to do for months. To be clear, this has to do about Charter’s reneging on its own commitments and Spectrum’s total media blackout their parent company’s failures. Zack Fink has covered the Governor for years and we respect his work.
"Those who have tracked the Public Service Commission said its drastic step to revoke Charter’s merger with Time Warner in 2016 was extraordinarily unusual. It came in a special session called with less than 24 hours notice, while one of the commission’s most vocal members had told colleagues she would be out of town on vacation," reports the New York Times.
A spokesperson for Spectrum told Gothamist, “In the weeks leading up to an election, rhetoric often becomes politically charged. But the fact is that Spectrum has extended the reach of our advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 New York homes and businesses since our merger agreement with the PSC. Our 11,000 diverse and locally based workers, who serve millions of customers in the state every day, remain focused on delivering faster and better broadband to more New Yorkers, as we promised.”
Thomas Rutledge, CEO of Charter Communications, has said that politics is driving this decision, including Cuomo working to court the vote of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3. 1,800 Spectrum workers, who are members of the union, have been striking for over a year.
This news has been published by title Why Isn\'t NY1 Reporting On Cuomo\'s Outburst Against Its Reporter?
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