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Compare and Contrast: Media Coverage of Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Failure vs. Ron DeSantis’ Success

Compare and Contrast: Media Coverage of Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Failure vs. Ron DeSantis’ Success

“You can be as incompetent as you want to be, as long as your performance pleases media outlets and you win the hearts of cable TV pundits and personalities,” said Nation columnist Ross Barkan on NY Gov. Cuomo’s high approval ratings.,

As both a media critic and a follower of all things political, it has been both fascinating and maddening at the same time to compare the media’s coverage of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak in his state to their coverage of FL Gov. Ron DeSantis’s handling of the outbreak in his state.

In early to mid-March when the media really began to focus more on the seriousness of the virus after downplaying it in the two months prior, DeSantis was hammered by news outlets like CNN and MSNBC for not issuing a statewide stay at home/lockdown-style order as videos of teenagers frolicking on the beaches were broadcast on an endless loop and shared all over social media, a hotbed for mob outrage.

In contrast to how DeSantis was routinely being ripped to shreds by the national press over things like teenagers on Florida beaches, Gov. Cuomo was (and still is) treated with the utmost reverence in spite of the political tug of war that played out between Cuomo and NYC Gov. Bill de Blasio in the early days over what actions should be taken (and who would take credit/blame for them) in the city that would ultimately become the epicenter for the virus in the United States.

Couple how city and state leaders encouraged people to go to parades and visit Chinatown in February and early/mid march with Cuomo’s and de Blasio’s failure to work together to come up with a unified, coherent strategy. As the New York Times would write well after the virus had overtaken the city, all of this ultimately played a key, devastating role in the virus’s rapid-fire spread – not just in New York, but all over the country.

In fact, Cuomo’s failures, from the nursing homes scandal to the fact that it was only just last week he ordered NYC subways to be shut down nightly in order to be cleaned and sanitized, have long been apparent. But that hasn’t stopped the media fawning. Gov. Cuomo often appears on his brother Chris Cuomo’s CNN program during the week in fluffy segments designed to showcase his human side and supposed leadership skills. Among other shows, Cuomo has been a guest on Ellen, Jimmy Fallon’s program, and on Howard Stern’s radio show.

On the other hand, this is how DeSantis gets treated by networks like MSNBC. Watch below as anchor Brian Williams asks a guest if DeSantis can “keep saying ‘I was waiting for the feds to give the order’, keep ignoring what’s been going on in the other states with the other governors, or is he going to be forced to own whatever the consequences are in the Sunshine state?”:

Considering Florida has a larger population* than New York but has had considerably fewer numbers of cases and deaths, why has Cuomo been treated like a rock star while DeSantis who, judging by the case numbers we’re seeing out Florida, has handled the outbreak there admirably in spite of the intense ongoing media scorn?

I think the answers are pretty obvious.

1) Cuomo is a Democrat who has at times been harshly critical of Trump, and DeSantis is a Republican – and a supporter of President Trump’s.
2) Cuomo is in the center of a major media/entertainment metropolis, and they have quick and easy access to him for interviews and puff pieces – CNN especially, for obvious reasons. While he does get the occasional tough question, the vast majority of national media outlets are going to plump his pillow often so they can have him on to contrast his leadership style with DeSantis’ – and Trump’s – regardless of what actual data says on case numbers and hospital peaks.

“Nation” contributor Ross Barkan, a Democrat, posted some tweets which I think best explain why the differences in coverages – and why it’s so troubling:

Unfortunately, no matter how bad those investigations may ultimately make Cuomo look, don’t expect the media to give them much if any attention. The point of all this in their eyes is to prop up a Democrat to get rid of a Republican, no matter how badly that Democrat botched the handling of the deadly outbreak in which his state, sadly, played the wrong kind of leading role.

*Article updated by the author to note Florida has a larger population than NY, not “much larger” as originally written.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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Barry Soetoro | May 9, 2020 at 6:04 pm

The Don of Albany has blood on his hands for placing SARS-2 infected geriatrics in nursing homes.

ooga booga | May 9, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Fredo II having high approval ratings shows the stupidity of New Yorkers.

    Another Voice in reply to ooga booga. | May 9, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Please do not broad brush all New Yorkers as being stupid.
    Prof. J. has lived and currently works in such one area, the 23rd Congressional Dist. My district. By Prof. J’s involvement as a result of his own residency/place of employment, he has given a large amount of support to beating back those who would take us blue. As it stands now, 12 of the 27 congressional districts in New York State are republican districts…comprised of rural/small city counties.

    We are the same voters who Cuomo has on more than one occasion either ignored or either smeared. “Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “that “extreme” conservatives who oppose abortion and support gun rights have no place in his state”. How do you think he would treat the office of Presidency?

    Cuomo who wrote a 528 page biography in 2002 “The Contender” marketed it as prelude to a run for Governor of New York and in that book he did not once mention 65 % of the 62 counties comprising the largest part of the state..Up State New York. His focus then as it is now is voters who rely on government largesse and Down State Urban and Metropolitan New York. We are losing tax paying residents at a significant rate. Republicans who have gone to greener and user friendly states. How long we can hold the vote at Republican Representation is an unknown. So please, at least give us some empathy for putting up with the B.S.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to ooga booga. | May 9, 2020 at 9:15 pm


Of course, Cuomo is a media hero. THIS HAS ALL BEEN A POLITICAL SCAM. Get it? Cuomo played the anti-Trump crisis manager. He swung between praising Trump, when he wanted something from him, and vilifying him when he didn’t. In the meantime, he did almost nothing of substance, because liberal shills never do anything of substance, as it might be the wrong thing to do. In fact, that strategy is not a winner during wars or epidemics. So, the media has to prop Cuomo up.

Now, DeSantis. Ron DeSantis did what the power brokers of Florida wanted, he kept the economy open. When he, and the state, came under extreme media vilification for that, he, and the state leadership, caved and went the shutdown the state, destroy the economy route. That was a big mistake, politically. The Republican leadership wants DeSantis in a national role. He would have been a shoe in, if he had been the rebel and bucked the system. If he had, the sky would have been the limit, despite not being very impressive in personal appearances. But, he did not do that. He became just another governor shutting down the whole society and depriving his citizens of a way of making a living. Now, he is looking like what he is, a John McCain Republican. To make things worse, his hand-picked Sheriff of Broward County is turning out to have a lot of baggage, include being arrested, tried and acquitted of murder, when he was 14 years of age and then failing to note that on various legal forms necessary for his current and former positions.

Politics is a harsh mistress.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Mac45. | May 9, 2020 at 9:19 pm


    buck61 in reply to Mac45. | May 9, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    I have lived in Broward for over 20 years, the office of sheriff has been a mess for most of it, add in the board of elections, school board and congressional delegation and it is almost laughable to see how the same group stays in power cycle after cycle. Even my little city has been scandal plagued for many years, the mayor getting set up by the feds in a sting and feds lost the case at trial.
    Then again Florida could have had the guy that was found passed out naked in a hotel room that he did not rent out for the night while his wife is a home taking care of the family during this.

The south Florida congressional delegation is near the top of the worst list, according to them, DeSantis is an epic failure, failing to understand that well over half the cases are in a three county area including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and W. Palm that they represent. There are many parts of the state with little impact.
One area that needs immediate improvement is the Unemployment Insurance process, the Repubs have controlled the Gov. office and legislative for a very long time and it needs addressed.
The Unemployment Insurance process is a problem not just in Florida as few systems would be designed to handle and process the number of cases in such a short period of time.

Nothing we didn’t expect.

Corrupt organizations do corrupt things.

What IS really interesting is the number of young people I’ve talked to about the virus, and almost to a one, they say it’s “bulls*it”. Mostly women, too. It surprised the hell out of me.

Here’s to Governor Nipple-rings: drop dead.

There are plenty of people out there who equate competence as a governor with how much said governor has shut down his or her state. As in the more the state is shut down, the better the governor. Plus with his free media time, Cuomo is therefore loved by people across the country. Sad but true.

Considering Florida has a much larger population than New York

Much larger? When the last census was held, NY had a larger population. The latest estimate has Florida ahead, but only by about 2 million. At census time NY was the 3rd largest state by population, and FL was 4th; now FL is 3rd and NY 4th. I wouldn’t call that much larger, I’d call it approximately the same.

Florida and New York have one thing in common. The counties with the most Wuhan Flu cases are controlled by Democrats!

Coincidence? Or is there a connection between policy differences and the spread of the virus?