Almost no topic shows our media’s complete disconnect from reality than the national coverage of governors over the past year with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. While flooding their viewers with stories of coronavirus failures about Ron #DeathSantis in Florida and Kristi Noem in South Dakota and Greg Abbott in Texas, the press consistently praised the work of Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gavin Newsom in California.
The reality on the ground could not be more different.
The two most prominent faces of the Democratic response to COVID (with Gretchen Whitmer being the third) have found themselves humiliated and disgraced. Both may end up out of power thanks to their personal and professional behavior of the past year.
Cuomo resigned last month, after a year of gushing accolades. CNN host Brian Stelter once said he would go home and teach his kids the comforting words of Andrew Cuomo. The New York governor was awarded an Emmy and was praised in the pages of the New York Times for being ‘The Control Freak We Need Right Now’. Meanwhile national media outlets chased fraudsters like Rebekah Jones in Florida who had only to tweet disapprovingly about the governor to find a place on CNN and other networks.
DeSantis has found his poll numbers taking a hit over the last few weeks thanks to his mask mandate fight, but he is not going to resign or face a recall, as Newsom is. As the media attempts to chip away his presidential hopes (which is what most of the attention given to DeSantis is really about), they’ve also turned their attention to Texas, going after Greg Abbott on everything from his COVID response to election integrity legislation to a new fetal heartbeat abortion ban. For the most part, Abbott remains popular. He has not been scandal-plagued as are Cuomo and Newsom.
Newsom will most likely survive his recall on Tuesday, although it should come as no surprise that national Democrats are concerned. Senators have made their way out to Sacramento, as has Vice President Kamala Harris. President Joe Biden will even swing through for a stump speech in support of Newsom. But the very fact that Gavin Newsom, a Democratic star, is facing a recall in California — that it’s gotten to this point electorally — is a major political earthquake. It’s one we haven’t seen in states like Texas or Florida, despite drawing most of the ire and attention of our national media.
This is the disconnect that our ideological and agenda-driven press has created. Supposedly it’s in Florida and Texas that COVID disfunction reigns, yet it’s been in the two most prominent Democratic states that political institutions have found themselves in peril. The Cuomo legacy is all but destroyed, while a very real scare is underway in California, by and for the people. As long as our national media continues to indulge in this kind of narrative reporting, it will drive a wedge between itself and the voting public.