New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has won an Emmy award for his televised daily COVID briefings.
The International Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences announced on Friday that Cuomo will receive the award, “in recognition of his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world.”
The Academy’s president and CEO lauded Cuomo, saying in the written announcement that, “The Governor’s 111 daily briefings worked so well because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure.”
That’s saying the quiet part out loud. The daily briefings were effective because they created the image of Cuomo as a strong, competent leader, regardless of whether that narrative was true. The media further bolstered that image by juxtaposing how the Democratic governor handled the situation with how it was handled by the Trump administration, which was widely seen as bungling the response.
In the real world outside TV land, there’s good reason to believe that Cuomo’s disastrous decision to force nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive patients was likely responsible for thousands of unnecessary deaths because it exposed vulnerable elderly people to the highly infectious disease.
That policy has since been rescinded, but the state government still has not revealed the number of people who were infected and died because of the misguided action. The governor has denied responsibility for the decision, but a fact check by CNN said that Cuomo’s claim about nursing homes not needing to accept COVID patients is “false.”
CNN also reported that a New York State Department of Health report shows that “6,326 COVID-positive residents were admitted to [nursing home] facilities,” following the governor’s advisory.
The health department issued an advisory on March 25 that read, “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.” It also prohibited nursing homes, “from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
Yeah. That was a huge mistake. But Cuomo came across looking steady and in control on television. And that is apparently what matters in the eyes of The Academy.
The Trump administration also sent the USNS Comfort hospital ship to New York, even though it turns out that was not needed either. But it made for good TV.
In addition to daily briefings, Cuomo made frequent appearances on CNN. In one journalistically embarrassing incident, Andrew Cuomo was lobbed softball questions by his younger brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo. Instead of taking the opportunity to press for answers about the consequences of the nursing home decision, the younger Cuomo brother took the opportunity to joke around about using a comically oversized Q-Tip to swab the inside of the governor’s large nose.
Masterful use of television, indeed.