I’m trying not to be conspiratorial about the beating Cuomo’s taken in the media lately, coincidentally at the very moment Joe Biden has supplanted him as the Democratic leader of America’s pandemic response. For almost a year that role was filled by Cuomo, starting with New York’s hellacious outbreak last March — made more hellacious through his mismanagement — and continuing with months of press conferences that contrasted favorably with Trump’s meandering rants.
Sleepy Joe has finally arrived to relieve him of duty. Now the press can finally tell the truth about how terribly he’s done and how Trumpy he’s been at times in his performance.
That’s even true on Chris Cuomo’s own network, it turns out, and not just in the clip below. This piece that ran a few days ago almost brought a tear to my eye, so wondrous and childlike was it in its credulity about how Cuomo has fared against COVID:
Here’s where I remind you again for what must be the 20th time on this site that Cuomo was so slow to lock down New York last March, as cases were exploding, that even Bill de Blasio figured out it was the right move before he did. There hasn’t been a single moment of the pandemic when his response has been in the same area code as “stellar.”
But again, I’m trying not to be conspiratorial. Not all of the damaging news published by the media lately has been a product of their own investigations, after all. The quote seized on in the clip by Jake Tapper and Sanjay Gupta came out of Cuomo’s own mouth (although not the bombshell story about him alienating his own health officials that dropped this morning). The recent revelations about avoidable nursing-home deaths came from the state attorney general of New York, a Democrat herself, not from the press. And plenty of damning exposes about Cuomo were published last year, which is how you and I came to know just how incompetent he’s been in managing the crisis. It’s not like the press has been holding back everything it knew.
It’s more the case that the lingering taboo among liberals about admitting just how bad Cuomo’s been has now finally begun to lift in earnest among liberals, which probably is a function of the Biden administration usurping him as the Democratic face of COVID management. Watch, then read on.
Wow! CNN calls out “irresponsible” Gov. Andrew Cuomo for saying he doesn't trust experts:@JakeTapper: "That seems like a wildly irresponsible thing for a leader to say during a pandemic."@drsanjaygupta: "I think that’s really, really harmful, especially now." pic.twitter.com/v2jsKlOyY6
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) February 1, 2021
You know what’s funny about the Cuomo saga, though? At the very moment that it’s becoming safe for Democrats to admit that he reeks, it’s also becoming clear that New York’s done a decent job with ramping up vaccinations.
The media cult of Cuomo was always absurd, he did a terrible job with Covid in the early days, but on the evidence of New York's improved vaccine performance it seems like in his latest war against the experts he's probably … right?https://t.co/6C8cCBpmGK
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) February 1, 2021
NY did not have a particularly bad second wave, we’re average or a bit above in vaccine distribution, we do a ton of testing, and our restrictions are fairly sensible. I have nitpicks. But mostly, NY was terrible in March/April (when Cuomo was being praised) and good thereafter.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 1, 2021
I’m not sure why Douthat thinks Cuomo was right to ignore his health officials by insisting on running the vaccination process through the hospital system — maybe New York would be doing even better if he’d taken their advice — but the state’s not a disaster at this stage of the pandemic the way it was in the earliest stage. Skim the Bloomberg vaccination tracker and you’ll find New York a bit ahead of Florida in terms of the percentage of the population that’s received first doses and second doses, as well as the percentage of the existing supply of vaccines used. I’m guessing Team Cuomo’s going to pivot hard soon to a message of “Why is everyone focused on what happened months ago with COVID when they should be focused on what’s happening now?” That’s some new water that the press can carry for him, if it’s so inclined.
And they probably are inclined. I’ll leave you with this:
So @NBCNews @LesterHoltNBC @TODAYshow censored one of my friends who lost a loved one in a nursing home. She wanted to say “@andrewcuomo failed us” in the interview and they told her to say “New York failed us” instead. The mainstream is STILL protecting this guy. Disgusting.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) January 30, 2021