CNN, MSNBC Let Andrew Cuomo Slam Trump, Ignore Sexual Harassment Allegations

State   |   Brad Wilmouth   |   Dec 26, 2020   |   12:04PM   |   Washington, DC

On Monday afternoon, as New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo made appearances on both MSNBC and CNN to promote his call for restrictions on air travel to and from the United Kingdom. Neither network did much to push back against his claims, or to press him on any other of his personal scandals. They also did little to correct misinformation or to point out his sudden flip flop in being dismissive of the advice of scientists after previously claiming that he is “a slave to science.”

The recent accusations of sexual harassment against Governor Cuomo by a former staffer, or his mishandling of the pandemic, were not brought up by either network. MSNBC let him boast about his efforts in New York at the screen announced his state has 37,350 deaths from the coronavirus. That’s the highest death toll in the United States, more than 11 percent of all deaths in the pandemic.

At 2:24 p.m., as Alicia Menendez was fill in host for Katy Tur’s block of MSNBC Live, she began by asking: “Governor, other countries have shut down travel with the UK. You called it reprehensible that the U.S. has not done the same, What do you believe needs to be done?”

In part of his response, Governor Cuomo asserted:

CUOMO: The UK shut down essentially after the prime minister said that he wouldn’t shut down. He found out about this virus — he said it transmits 70 times as fast as the normal COVID virus — 120 countries have banned travel from the UK — EU countries — or mandated health tests before the people get on the flight and come to their country.

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Menendez didn’t bother to correct his claim that the new strain of COVID-19 discovered in Britain is “70 times” more contagious when it is, in fact, 70 percent more contagious. That’s a huge mathematical error. He made the same claim multiple times on CNN, and was only softly corrected by host Wolf Blitzer after the first time.

Still on MSNBC, when he was asked if the more infectious strain was already in New York, Cuomo went on to complain about scientists if they disagree with him, using a metaphor to suggest they lack common sense:

CUOMO: They say there is no evidence that there is, but I’ve been dealing with all of the global health experts in the past year. You know, a scientist will tell you what they know as a fact when they know it. They won’t say, “There’s smoke — pour water on the smoke.” They wait to see the fire — the smoke isn’t enough. Once you see the fire, it’s often too late. For me, in the practical matter, when I see smoke, I start to pour the water.

A few hours later, as Blitzer interviewed Cuomo on The Situation Room at 6:30 p.m., the New York Democrat again made his incorrect claim that the new strain is “70 times” more contagious. As Blitzer followed up by noting that Dr. Anthony Fauci has advised against “overreacting’ to the new strain, the CNN host gently corrected Cuomo by re-stating the actual number:

BLITZER: Yeah, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, says that this new variant is 70 percent stronger in terms of transmitting the virus, and that’s obviously very disturbing — 70 percent stronger. As you know, Dr. Anthony Fauci — he’s advising against additional restrictions on UK travel. He says everyone should be careful, but advising against additional formal restrictions. I take it you disagree with Dr. Fauci — is that right?

In his next response, Cuomo again repeated his incorrect claim that the new strain is “70 times” more contagious, and also made similarly dismissive comments about scientists that he made on MSNBC. This, after Cuomo told Fauci that the two of them were like the Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino of the COVID battle. But then he put Fauci in that scientists-don’t-protect-us line:

From a science point of view, Wolf, you know, scientists can only tell you facts that they know. They don’t predict. And I went through this in the spring. The scientists want to see a flame before they tell you there’s a fire. From my point of view, if I see smoke, I’m going to douse water on that spot. The scientists will say, “We’re not sure if it’s 70 times — 70 times more transmittable — we’re not sure that the vaccine won’t solve this COVID virus also.”

Blitzer gave no additional challenge or question as he suggested to the Democratic governor that “everybody” agrees with him.

He also wasn’t asked about his suddenly dismissive attitude toward the advice of scientists after he has repeatedly tried to portray himself as a follower of or even a “slave to” science on multiple occasions to put down Republicans who argued it was not feasible to keep the economy closed for a year to prevent every possible infection.

Also, neither anchor brought up the eye-opening study Governor Cuomo presented recently which undermines liberals who have pushed to pound on the restaurant industry during the pandemic.

The episode of MSNBC Live with sponsored in part by Fidelity. and the episode of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports was sponsored by Shutterstock. Their contact information is linked. Note: Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst for the Media Research Center and a graduate of the University of Virginia. This column originally appeared on the NewsBusters web site and is reprinted with permission.