Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo, not DeSantis, deserves media scorn

Rich Lowry of National Review Online explains that major media outlets chose the wrong governor to criticize during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, the press has been excoriatingly harsh on a governor who was slow to act, unnecessarily endangered the lives of the elderly, alienated experts, and cooked the numbers.

It just thought the governor in question was Florida’s Ron DeSantis rather than New York’s Andrew Cuomo.

After it has become clear that Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic was not just criminal in the metaphorical sense, but perhaps in the literal sense, the press has begun, only reluctantly and belatedly, to abandon its long-running Cuomo hagiography.

It never made any sense to lionize Andrew Cuomo at the expense of Ron DeSantis, except that one had a “D” after his name and the other didn’t, and one hated Trump and the other didn’t. The national media also labors under the assumption that New York must be competent while the Sunshine State is the preserve of the embarrassingly boorish “Florida Man.”

Finally, the media loved the way Cuomo talked about the pandemic at his take-charge press conferences. This was taken as the opposite of Trump’s approach, which it was — Cuomo talked a good game, while utterly botching the substance of the response, while Trump talked irresponsibly about the pandemic, while handling the substance pretty well (or, certainly, not as badly as advertised).

All this meant that the press made both Cuomo and DeSantis into something they were not — a hero and a villain, respectively — when it should have been obvious all along that this wasn’t remotely justified.

From the outset of the pandemic, New York State has had the highest number of deaths of any state and still does (47,000), and the second-highest deaths-per-million of anywhere in the country. In contrast, Florida is right around the national average for deaths-per-million. Journalists brushed right by these top-line numbers in the interest of their tendentious narrative-building.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...