Almost as much as it does him.
To the shock of political observers and the media commentariat, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in disgrace this week after the publication of a New York AG’s report in which Cuomo’s history of sexual harassment and retaliation was laid bare.
To the consternation of the entire Democratic Party establishment, and the chagrin of a great many Hollywood celebrities and news media personalities who dubbed themselves “Cuomosexuals” last year, Andrew Cuomo’s spectacular fall from grace is currently in the crosshairs of every political journalist on the beat.
Andrew Cuomo is leaving office in two weeks, probably forever. In his wake, he is leaving top aides with poisonous ties to a toxic work environment they helped create and perpetuate and a mass media complex badly shamed by this whole sorry episode.
It isn’t lost on anyone that the New York Times is, when it comes to Andrew Cuomo- even now- taking extraordinary pains in editorialization they didn’t bother with for Donald Trump. Trump, the New York Times was fond of pointing out, was and is a power-mad dictator with designs on dismantling the very fabric of society and life as we know it.
Cuomo, the times notes politely, was merely an official from a political family dynasty who, “exerted outsize power with a bellicose style.” Well, that is such a nice way of putting it, even Andrew Cuomo’s own mother might not object to that particular characterization.
For a newspaper, however, one that still maintains a veneer of impartiality, however thin, it is a little heavy on deference and light on objectivity.
As other publications have pointed out, rightly, Andrew Cuomo is not alone on his descent from possible presidential candidate to a former governor who resigned in disgrace. He takes with him the careers of some of his top aides and closest professional confidants- as they aided and abetted his ill-treatment of female staffers and allegedly committed crimes against them.
It’s the cover up that always gets you, as Nixon could tell us.
Whichever of Cuomo’s top aides most responsible for carrying out the Governor’s orders to silence, shame, harass and sideline any former employee daring to speak out about his behavior could even face criminal charges themselves.
Andrew Cuomo is also taking with him a good deal of whatever shreds of credibility mass media has left. As their attention was laser-focused on Donald Trump, and defeating him in the 2020 election at any cost, mainstream media outlets missed the story right under their collective noses.
Not only did Andrew Cuomo harass at least 11 women during his tenure, and create a toxic work environment, one of his top aides was caught admitting, on tape, during the course of a separate New York AG investigation into Cuomo’s nursing home policy, that the Cuomo Admin purposefully concealed the true extent of nursing home deaths for political purposes.
Essentially, what the mainstream media accused Florida Governor Ron de Santis of doing- that is, hiding Florida’s true death count for political purposes, though no one ever produced any proof- was exactly what Andrew Cuomo was actually doing.
Fearing criticism from the Trump Administration, Andrew Cuomo and his staff lied about the extent to which New York nursing home policies with regard to COVID-19 patients resulted in deaths in New York.
New York state had the second highest death toll of any other state. Other states with more people, more elderly at-risk people with co-morbidities, more metropolitan areas and more people living in them, fared far better.
Florida and Texas, for all the corporate media’s predictions and criticisms of the states and their Republican governors, have weathered COVID-19 far better, per capita, than New York. Based on nightly news coverage on CNN and MSNBC, all the citizens of Florida and Texas should be expiring in the streets by now.
Yet these two states, in spite of this, are still relativity open, as they always have been, and seem just fine.
Wait two weeks, right?
Well, nobody knows what will happen in two weeks, but we can know, with certainty what has happened over the last 18 months and we can make an apples to apples comparison of how each state, and its leadership, fared during the pandemic, why some states outperformed others, and why those states which outperformed did so while disregarding so many of the preventative measures others states adopted wholeheartedly.
Bad policy should not be criminalized. But if covering up the results of a bad policy, one which cost lives, isn’t against the law, it ought to be.
If you don’t want to be criticized by the opposition party, don’t do a terrible job. And if you do a terrible job, lying about it, and getting caught lying, is only going to make it far worse.
The media, en masse, didn’t run cover for Andrew Cuomo so much as show no curiosity whatsoever in the rumors and accusations swirling around him. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire; and smoke has been swirling around Cuomo for over a year.
There was Lindsay Boylan’s bombshell accusation, published in great detail, which launched the New York AG investigation in the first place. It was an investigation which Cuomo insisted would clear him of all wrongdoing.
“Wait for the AG’s report, don’t rush to judgement,” was Cuomo’s final word on the matter.
That the press et al, even the Gray Lady herself, the Paper of Record, was content to let it go at that, is impossible to credit without admitting a certain level of bias into the equation.
New York’s whopping death rate from COVID-19 has been an open secret since the beginning of the epidemic. New York shot to the top of the heap almost immediately and the New York Times never asked why.
If a Republican governor had presided over the state with the most deaths from COVID-19, the New York Times would have asked why. And reporters from the NYT would have to stand in line behind other reporters from major media outlets asking the same question, night and day, until they got an answer.
Barring an answer, and until they got one, speculation would have been off the charts. Rachel Maddow would have dedicated a nightly segment to it, to getting to the bottom of it and the latest theories from the leading experts as to why.
Why did Andrew Cuomo get a pass?
Until the New York Times, CNN and The Washington Post are ready to answer that question honestly, the crisis of media credibility in this country is going to continue to worsen.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)