The Real Culprits
The state of New York had the worst record of any state in infection and death rate from Covid-19, yet for almost a year, the media gushed all over New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He won an Emmy award and wrote a book on leadership because of his handling of Covid. Now, he is coming under fire for covering up the actual number of deaths that occurred in New York nursing homes as a direct result of his flawed March 25 executive order of forcing Covid-positive patients back into nursing homes. He knew this policy was responsible thousands of avoidable deaths because he then used his power as Governor to cover-up the actual death totals.
For as bad as Andrew Cuomo was at his job during the pandemic, the media was equally abysmal. The media’s unwillingness to hold Democratic politicians, like Governor Cuomo, accountable to their decisions was deadly. The difference Andrew Cuomo’s press conferences and those of President Trump is night and day. Cuomo’s Covid-press conferences were love-fests while Trump’s Covid-press conferences were cage matches. Trump was bludgeoned with question after question about every policy, every decision, every recommendation. The media, rightfully so, took the contrarian position on everything the Trump administration was doing to ferret out the truth and the efficacy of the policies.
Governor Cuomo, on the other hand, was met with a sycophantic press corps that tossed him softball questions, and allowed him to dictate the narrative. There was no pushback, no incisive questions. The media nodded along and supported everything he said. Meanwhile, his deadly policy was in place for 48 days. Imagine how many people’s lives would have been saved if someone in the press corps actually read his executive order, and asked the simple question, “why would you order Covid-positive patients back into nursing homes where the most vulnerable people reside?”
If Cuomo had been forced to defend his executive order the day he signed it, maybe the idiocy of its policy would have come to light much earlier, and maybe he would have been forced to change it much sooner than May 11, saving thousands of lives. But instead, our media was hyper-focused on framing Trump for every Covid-death, and supporting every Democrat, that they missed calling out this deadly decision that was sitting in plain sight. It took a fellow Democrat, New York Assemblyman Ron Kim to call-out Cuomo, for the media to wake up. When covering Republican politicians, the media leads the charge against them, but when covering Democrats, the media is content to lead from behind. If the scandalous story comes to them, they will eventually cover it, but they will never uncover it.
This is the ultimate problem with such a biased media. Not only do they ask distorted “gotcha” questions to unfairly impugn the side they don’t like, they fail to hold the politicians on their side accountable. They defend and obfuscate for them. The politicians becomes weak, and stops being self-critical which makes them even more likely to make more poor decisions because they know they won’t be held accountable. In the end, the media that wants to be your friend, really isn’t your friend. They don’t make you stronger, sharper, better. They make you weaker, duller, worse.
When there is no pushback, when everything a politician does is above criticism, it becomes a very dangerous situation. Is Joe Biden better that he never had to answer a tough question during the campaign, that the media ran cover for him, or that they had been obsequiously fawning all over him since the election? Does that make him better? How will Joe’s mental acuity be when he has to negotiate with Vladimir Putin or President Xi or the Ayatollah in Iran, when he hasn’t been through the rigors of an oppositional media forcing him to defend his positions?
Has Joe Biden been asked a tough question in a year? Has Joe been force to defend any of his 50+ executive orders he’s already signed? Has one member of the media asked him a tough question on any one of those policy decisions?
Has one person in the media asked Joe Biden about the nearly 100,000 Covid-deaths that have occurred during his first month in office, a rate much higher than during the Trump administration? Has one of these so-called journalists asked Joe Biden, ‘after all your talk during the campaign that you would handle Covid better than Trump, why are the death numbers much worse even with millions of the most vulnerable already vaccinated?’ Has that question been asked, been thought of? No.
The media aggressively attacked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis because he did not lock down his entire state and shutdown the schools for an extended period of time like Cuomo did in New York, and Governor Gavin Newsome did in California. Florida did not experience the negative economic and emotional effects of the total lockdowns while faring better with Covid than those other states. Has any reporter asked why that would be?
Has any journalist connected the dots about the studies that say people with high levels of Vitamin D have a greatly reduced risk of contracting Covid, and that over 80% of Covid-19 patients have a Vitamin D deficiency? And maybe locking people in their homes out of the sun (a primary source of Vitamin D) is putting more people at risk, not less? Maybe that’s the reason why an open Florida is faring better than a closed California. No one connected those dots because no one in the media is interested in the truth if it means holding politicians on their side accountable.
This is why the blue states have fared much worse than the red states during Covid. This is why cities run by Democrats have much worse crime and unemployment rates than Republican run cities; 18 out of the top 20 violent cities are run by Democrats, yet they continue to re-elect Democrats in those cities. Why? The lack of media accountability is the main reason.
Doing away with checks and balances, leads to poor decisions and harmful policies because the politicians know they won’t be held accountable. The media should never back off on any politician. They should continue to hold all their feet to the fire regardless of their party affiliation. That’s their job. It is good when the media is hard on politicians. But in the year 2021, the media’s job is not to push and prod to find the truth or hold politicians accountable; the media’s job is to act as king makers, or more accurately, promote the politicians they share an ideology with, and attack those they don’t, and, as we have seen, it is all very harmful and even deadly to our country.
Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a frequent contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.