PROTECTION RACKET: Nets Bury Cuomo’s Bombshell Nursing Home Scandal

On Friday, Andrew Cuomo’s simmering scandal involving his attempts to hide the true cost of the New York Governor forcing nursing homes to take COVID patients last year burst out into the open. It is now clear that an aide to the Democrat tried to obstruct information because it could “be used against us.”

We’ve also learned that the governor undercounted by as much as 50 percent the nursing home deaths. Yet since Friday night, the network morning and evening news shows have only allowed a combined 4 minutes and 21 seconds of coverage.

ABC and CBS only totaled a scant 57 seconds on Friday night’s evening newscasts and then dropped the topic. NBC managed 17 seconds on Friday night and 3 minutes and 7 seconds on Saturday’s Today. None of the networks revisited the story on Sunday or Monday morning.

On Saturday, NBC’s Kathy Park highlighted the awkwardness of the debacle facing Cuomo. She deemed him a 2020 “hero” who is now plummeting back to earth: “During the height of the pandemic, here in New York, Governor Cuomo was often hailed a hero for the handling of the COVID outbreak, but in recent weeks the narrative has shifted with more Democrats and Republicans demanding accountability over the reporting of nursing home deaths.”

Not said by Park: Cuomo was certainly considered a “hero” by many in the mainstream media. The Today journalist related the sordid details:

This morning growing fallout for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration over withholding COVID death toll numbers in nursing homes. His top aide, Melissa DeRosa, telling Democratic lawmakers this week on a private call “we froze, concerned the information was going to be used against us.” After receiving a request from the Department of Justice, last year. Those comments first reported by The New York Post, sparked immediate backlash among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Democratic State Senator Andrew Gounardes tweeting, “This is a betrayal of the public trust.” Republican Congressman Tom Reed says he’s filing a criminal complaint against Cuomo’s aide.

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Park concluded by chiding, “Often praised for his leadership, early on in the pandemic, the Governor is now coming under fire and tackling a new crisis.”

As NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck reported, ABC’s coverage on Friday night was just 26 seconds. CBS offered 31 seconds that night and just 17 seconds from NBC. Saturday’s Today at least offered a full report totaling 3 minutes and 7 seconds. In total, the networks only allowed 4 minutes and 21 seconds from Friday night through Sunday morning.

None of the networks returned to Cuomo on Monday. NBC’s Today covered New York and COVID so there was every opportunity. Monday’s show even featured a clip of the governor.

GABE GUTIERREZ: Last week New York announced people ages 16 to 64 with certain underlying health conditions would be eligible starting today but they’d have just 24 hours to sign up before happened.

ANDREW CUOMO: This is going to be a long anxiety-producing time.

But nothing on that show about Cuomo’s growing scandal. However, credit to CNN’s Jake Tapper for covering the story openly on Sunday.)

Honda sponsored the Democratic protection on CBS and NBC. On ABC, it was Sleep Number. Click on the links to let them know what you think.

Special thanks to MRC news analysis intern Donovan Newkirk for the Today show transcript. The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.

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Today

2/15/2021

7:13 AM

PETER ALEXANDER: Meantime, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing tough new questions and criticism after allegations that his administration under counted the number of COVID deaths in nursing homes. NBC’s Kathy Park is following this story from New York for us. Kathy, good morning.

KATHY PARK: Peter, good morning to you. During the height of the pandemic, here in New York, Governor Cuomo was often hailed a hero for the handling of the COVID outbreak, but in recent weeks the narrative has shifted with more Democrats and Republicans demanding accountability over the reporting of nursing home deaths.

 [CUTS TO PRE-RECORDED CLIP OF PARKER’S REPORT]

PARK: This morning growing fallout for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration over withholding COVID death toll numbers in nursing homes. His top aide, Melissa DeRosa, telling Democratic lawmakers this week on a private call “we froze, concerned the information was going to be used against us.” After receiving a request from the Department of Justice, last year. Those comments first reported by The New York Post, sparked immediate backlash among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Democratic State Senator Andrew Gounardes tweeting, “This is a betrayal of the public trust.” Republican Congressman Tom Reed says he’s filing a criminal complaint against Cuomo’s aide.

[CUTS TO CLIP OF TOM REED]

TOM REED: She needs to be arrested.

PARK: Responding to the criticism, DeRosa released a statement clarifying her remarks. “We needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request and deal with the federal request first. We informed the houses of this at the time. We were comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ and then had to immediately focus our resources on the second wave and vaccine rollout. We could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked.” The growing scrutiny comes just weeks after New York Attorney General Leticia James released a report claiming the state had undercounted nursing home deaths by as much as 50%. State health officials acknowledged the death toll was more than 15,000—much higher than originally reported. On Friday, 14 Democratic state senators called to repeal Cuomo’s emergency powers in the pandemic, joining the Republican-led effort. Governor Cuomo defended his administration’s actions in late January.

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ANDREW CUOMO [GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK]: A third of all deaths in this nation are from nursing homes. New York State, we’re only about 28%, only, but we’re below the national average in number of deaths in nursing homes. But who cares? 33, 28 died in a hospital, died in a nursing home, they died.

PARK: Often praised for his leadership, early on in the pandemic, the Governor is now coming under fire and tackling a new crisis.

[RETURNS TO LIVE COVERAGE]

PARK: And Governor Cuomo was at the White House, yesterday, to discuss COVID relief with other governors and mayors and while in Washington he did not address the ongoing controversy here in New York. Kristen, Peter.

ALEXANDER: Kathy Park in New York this morning. Kathy, thanks so much.

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