Gov. Andrew Cuomo is on a publicity tour to cover up his disastrous handling of the COVID-19 crisis in New York and point the finger at red state governors for managing it differently. Puff pieces on his administration have appeared in People magazine and on the website for the governor’s favorite television station, CNN. 

Chris Cillizza’s interview with Cuomo did not include any mention of the fact that the New York death rate was not just the highest in the country but one of the highest in the world. That a significant portion of New York’s population dying from the virus can be considered a win for the governor is a true liberal privilege. 

Cillizza let Cuomo say absurd things like ‘We tested both theories. We have the evidence. It’s numbers. It’s irrefutable. Why don’t we pause and recognize the undeniable reality of the situation?’

‘On the numbers, it’s hard to disagree,’ Cillizza notes. The numbers, as Cillizza admits, show that New York accounts for ‘almost 400,000 of the 2.5 million cases nationally and for one quarter of the 125,039 deaths from the virus.’ What’s hard to disagree with is that Cuomo’s handling would be a wall-to-wall story if he were a Republican. The pass he is given by the mainstream media, particularly by CNN, is egregious.

Cillizza’s piece was a continuation of CNN’s cozy relationship with the governor of New York. The governor’s brother Chris, a pundit on the network, frequently hosts Andrew on the show often to talk about who their mom likes best and who is better looking. This hard-hitting journalism would be impossible if the governor was not a Democrat.

The segments had their moment. In a time of crisis, the lighthearted Cuomo brothers banter had its place. But as the crisis progressed, CNN became the place that covered for any Andrew Cuomo misdeed. Chris brought him on to project the impression that everything was under control. This was at a time when NY nursing homes were being forced to accept COVID-positive patients and the subways were, weeks into the pandemic, still not being sanitized. 

A certain cadre of CNN personalities exists only to antagonize conservatives and Chris is among them. Brian Stelter, Oliver Darcy and Chris Cillizza see almost all of their online engagement from people on the right telling them they’re horrible. Click on any of their popular tweets and there won’t be anyone on the left engaging with them whatsoever. The whole point is to get ratio’d. The shtick works because, hey, hits are hits. This isn’t a conspiracy theory: it’s a blatant truth. 

In April, when Gov. Cuomo was extending his blanket lockdowns in the name of public safety, his brother Chris, who had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 31, was leaving his house and driving to his nearby construction project, congregating with other people. A cyclist happened to see him and Chris outed himself in preparation of a story dropping. Here’s the timeline: the governor appeared on his show during this time and gave him cover for not actually quarantining while actually sick with the virus. Dr Sanjay Gupta and the rest of the CNN team also helped provide this cover. On April 20, Chris Cuomo made a big show of ‘emerging’ from his basement, despite the fact that, again, he had been ‘emerging’ the whole time. 

One of the few mainstream reporters to criticize the farce was Ben Smith, newly of the New York Times. Smith tweeted ‘The extent to which CNN has adopted reality TV values here is pretty remarkable. Including eliding the controversy over Cuomo’s travel.’ In response, Dylan Byers, the senior media reporter at NBC News & MSNBC tweeted ‘Not going to weigh in on “news” vs “self referential reality TV” debate, but will add this: So long as people are talking about CNN the mood inside CNN is that CNN is winning, or at least doing something right. Cable news is a business and it measures itself on ratings/engagement’.

Conservatives would be smart to end their attention on CNN. The channel would hardly exist without them.