Why Is the Activist Media Turning on Gov. Andrew Cuomo?

AP Photo/Hans Pennink, Pool, File

 

You know it’s bad when you’re a progressive Democratic official and even the activist media is giving you the rhetorical side-eye. After a report surfaced detailing how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deceptively covered up the actual number of coronavirus deaths that occurred in his state, even his comrades have stopped defending him.

Now, several activist media outlets are scrutinizing Cuomo for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his alleged abusive treatment of his underlings. A slew of different news organizations published pieces criticizing the governor for his decision to compel nursing homes to accept elderly patients who had already been infected with the virus.

Politico published a piece in which it brought light to allegations that Cuomo routinely bullied and berated government workers and other Democratic officials, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Many describe receiving angry calls late in the evening, or at other inopportune times, and being unable to get off the phone with New York’s most powerful official. Warnings and browbeating aren’t unusual, say those familiar with the governor’s approach,” they wrote.

NBC News went after Cuomo about his deception regarding the number of COVID deaths. “His Machiavellian impulses seem too often to take precedence over good government, even in times of crisis,” they wrote.

The article continued, noting their glowing coverage of Cuomo last year. “Cuomo’s mistakes have not stopped him from using the pandemic to build a national reputation as an anti-Trump crusader,” they pointed out. They continued, slamming him for using former President Donald Trump as a convenient scapegoat for his failures:

But Trump’s gone now, and the virus is still here. Democrats need to reckon with Cuomo’s record — and the record of other politicians on both sides of the aisle who have used Trump, the pandemic, or both to elevate their profile ahead of 2024 and beyond.

Of course, NBC neglected to mention how they and other activist media outlets assisted the governor in using Trump to deflect blame from his actions. Go figure.

Not to be outdone, The New York Times took a few shots at the embattled governor as well, reporting on how he “brought people to tears and threatened to fire them or end their careers.” The authors continued:

“Indeed, in interviews with more than three dozen legislators, political consultants, former state and city officials and New York political veterans, a recurring portrait emerges of Mr. Cuomo: a talented and deft politician whose tendency toward aggression can seem out of step in an age when abusive behavior in the workplace or in professional surroundings is increasingly called out and often censured.”

Karen Hinton, a communications consultant who worked for Cuomo when he was President Bill Clinton’s housing secretary, said “his primary tool for governing is to create fear.”

The Times also reported that the governor “once threatened to end the career of a staffer who failed to properly transfer a call to his office.”

Even The Washington Post got in on the action. Author Marc A. Thiessen penned an opinion piece titled, “Cuomo hid covid-19 data. But it was worse than just a coverup” in which he savaged Cuomo for hiding data related to coronavirus deaths.

“Instead of meeting its obligation to provide accurate information, the Cuomo administration provided incomplete data about nursing home deaths apparently because he feared real data would hurt him politically,” he wrote. “That is like providing false intelligence to battlefield commanders about the location of the enemy in a time of war.”

Thiessen pointed out that Cuomo’s deception “impeded our public health response” because New York was the state where the virus “was seeded by travelers from Europe, and that it was the New York variant – not the West Coast variant that arrived directly from China – that seeded the rest of the country.” The author explained that “understanding how the virus was spreading in New York was critical to stopping it nationwide.”

The author identifies as a conservative, but the fact that the Post allowed him to publish this particular piece is still telling. It does not seem likely that they would have allowed criticism that was this harsh last year even if Cuomo was being exposed.

But it is not just the activist media that has turned on the governor; Democratic politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) are also calling for answers. The FBI and other agencies recently launched an investigation into the matter and members of the assembly have suggested impeachment proceedings. At this point, only members of the Biden administration seem interested in continuing to defend him.

But why do this now? In fact, why is the media doing this at all? It is their usual policy to brazenly defend Democratic politicians no matter what. Normally, they would run “Republicans pounce” types of headlines to criticize conservatives who dare to call out Democratic politicians. Did Cuomo piss off someone in a high place?

It’s hard to tell. Perhaps members of the activist press realized that there wasn’t any way they could cover up Cuomo’s alleged malfeasance anymore. When you have federal investigations on the horizon in a state that probably resents him for his flawed and sometimes hypocritical approach to the virus and subsequent lockdowns, it does not make sense to spend your capital defending someone like Cuomo.

To put it simply, Cuomo seems to have messed up so badly that even Democrats and the activist media can’t help him. At this point, the best he can to do is hope that he weathers the storm and that the authorities refrain from bringing charges against him. But even if he emerges unscathed legally, this could still mean the end of his political career.