CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza was mocked on social media Thursday night after claiming that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus response “may have been less stellar than it seemed” when many critics pointed out that it was CNN propping up the governor in the first place.
The embattled Gov. Cuomo’s nursing home policy reached a new level Thursday after the state’s attorney general suggesting Cuomo’s administration may have undercounted the number of COVID-related deaths among residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Cuomo famously directed nursing homes in the Empire State to accept patients who had or were suspected of having COVID-19. The decision created an onslaught of COVID-19 cases that infected thousands of elderly patients and resulted in hundreds of deaths among the state’s most vulnerable population. The governor eventually reversed the decision, but not before thousands died from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said that the state Department of Health may have underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday.
The report was seen as a black eye for CNN, which touted Cuomo’s actions in the early days of the pandemic. The governor regularly appeared on his little brother’s show, “Cuomo Prime Time,” as they teased each other about who their mother prefers, joked around and even performed prop a comedy routine when Chris Cuomo used giant cotton swabs to poke fun at the size of his brother’s nose following a nasal COVID test.
At one point, CNN’s Cuomo admitted he wasn’t “objective” when covering his older brother.
The Cuomo siblings conducted multiple on-air reunions before the nursing home scandal was even mentioned, and it was quickly dismissed when the “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake finally addressed the issue.
The glowing coverage that Gov. Cuomo received by CNN was well documented, which made Cillizza’s latest column appear tone-deaf to many readers. In a piece headlined, “Andrew Cuomo’s Covid-19 performance may have been less stellar than it seemed,” Cillizza wrote that the New York governor was “the hottest politician in America.”
“Well, it turns out that all the hype obscured a troubling reality: That the New York State Department of Health was drastically undercounting deaths from Covid-19 among nursing home residents,” Cillizza admitted, even noting that the New York attorney general is a Democrat.
“There’s much we still don’t know. But here’s something we do know: Should James’ report be borne out, it would occasion a serious reexamination of Cuomo’s performance during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Cillizza wrote.
Many readers were baffled, noting that CNN is largely responsible for praising his performance, while ignoring the nursing home scandal, in the first place.
Former 2020 Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh declared, “CNN disappointed in their hero.”
“If only there had been some news organization that had him on as a frequent guest who could’ve asked him tough questions,” one reader responded.
“Because you sycophants refuse to negatively report on Dems until it bites you in the a–,” John Cardillo wrote. “Do your job next time.”
Many others took to Twitter to mock Cillizza and CNN:
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.