Now that the New York Times signaled open season on Andrew Cuomo, how many more media outlets will suddenly discover how badly the “Love Gov” has handled the COVID-19 response? CNN may not be the only media outlet having to account for its brown-nosing coverage of Cuomo, although they certainly have much to explain. Dawn Best told Fox & Friends’ Brian Kilmeade this morning that NBC has an odd idea about “coverage.” After losing her mother in a nursing home, Best tried to call attention to the “Cuomo cover-up” on several different media outlets, forcing the issue when reporters failed to ask about Cuomo’s policies by including his name in her answers.
NBC took that stifling to another level, Best says, by explicitly asking her not to mention his name at all:
BEST: Well, I’d like to say, Governor Cuomo failed us now. Am I allowed to say it on your program? Yes. All right, there we go. Well, I kind of got used to it because the media was never letting me say Governor Cuomo all along, and it was being cut out of every interview that I was in. And then I started starting every sentence that they asked with Governor Cuomo so they couldn’t do that to me so then they were forced to literally ask me to cut out Governor Cuomo’s name. Lester Holt’s show wasn’t the only one to do it. So what happened specifically on that show was I was telling them that Governor Cuomo failed us, his books should be named – not lessons in leadership, it should be lessons in failure. She stopped me and she said to me, can you say that a different way without Governor Cuomo’s name and just say, New York failed you? So I had no choice. I had to say New York failed me.
Is this true? Janice Dean reported the censoring of Best a couple of days ago, and NBC still has not responded to the allegation:
Shame on you @LesterHoltNBC @NBCNews @TODAYshow. New York State did not fail us. The governor, his administration and his health department FAILED US. You are a disgrace to all families. Just like @andrewcuomo.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) January 30, 2021
Silence may not be confirmation, but it’s not exactly a refutation either. Furthermore, it’s easy to credit Best considering the lack of scrutiny applied to Cuomo over the last eleven months of pandemic coverage by the media. At first Cuomo got good press because he did better than Bill de Blasio did, but almost immediately the national media made Cuomo into the Opposite of Trump. Every bad outcome got attributed to Trump (some for good reason), while Cuomo got hailed as the true national leader on COVID-19 and “America’s governor” — even while some media outlets and a number of other people almost immediately began pointing out Cuomo’s cover-up of nursing-home deaths.
It’s not as if this question only arose recently. As early as the first week of May 2020, Cuomo’s numbers were obviously getting fudged. The media is now shocked, shocked to hear Cuomo say “who cares where people died” now, but in mid-May he said almost the same thing in dismissing scrutiny over the excess nursing-home deaths. Where was the outrage and media scrutiny then?
NBC needs to answer for Best’s allegations here, but they’re not alone. The media turned itself into the Cuomo Propaganda Machine in their haste to create an anti-Trump. That has had devastating consequences, and it should devastate their credibility until they account for their propagandizing.
Update: Mediaite found the segment Best references, and it looks like she got at least one lick or two in against Cuomo in it. Best correctly recalls that the reporter was “Kristen,” as in Kristen Dahlgren, but she did mention Cuomo and his book. The transcript provided to Mediaite suggests Best asked to redo her answer, not Dahlgren (emphasis in Mediaite original):
Dahlgren: How big of a failure do you think New York’s response was to COVID when it comes to nursing homes?
Best: Okay. Governor Cuomo has written a book ‘Lessons In Leadership’. He knew that the numbers were twice as high. And he was hiding it. And he was hiding it because what we’re gonna find out and we’re finding out is that New York State had was such a failure. His handling – his book’s named ‘The Lessons In Leadership,’ I believe. His book should be ‘lessons in failures’. New York State was a tremendous failure. Most of the so many unnecessary deaths, the nursing home deaths were preventable. They they didn’t, there was a certain amount that obviously would have happened because of their natural natural circumstances. But they were, they were set up and I didn’t say that as well as I could. If you want to ask me in a different way I could.
Dahlgren: Did New York state fail your mother?
Best: New York State failed my mother and failed 1000s of people’s mothers and fathers and I know many of these people, and I watched their suffering every day. And they are still suffering. Now, there’s people in nursing homes that they haven’t had visitors in a year. My mom would not have fared well. I’m watching people die every day. Because there there’s there’s more deaths because of the failures of New York state that really needs to be addressed. It’s a very, very big failure.
It’s curious, given this, that it took this long for NBC News to respond to the claim. That does sound as though Dahlgren didn’t object to Best’s reference to Cuomo. One has to wonder whether Dahlgren had given any other instructions to Best first before the cameras rolled. It’s not necessarily mutually exclusive, but this does show some nuance to the story, at the very least. We’ll see what Best has to say in response.