New York Governor Andrew Cuomo defends Trump against Media Bias

8 mins read

Despite Cuomo and Trump’s shared complex history with a dynamic described as hot and cold, Cuomo stands up for Trump amidst media bias. President Donald Trump had been a seasoned subject of media scrutiny being a rule-breaker, master of nasty personal attacks, and singularly self-absorbed as Thomas Walkon of The Star described him. But according to Cuomo, the media “did not treat the president with the respect that the office commands.”

The three term Democratic governor defended Trump in an interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock saying that the press had taken on a “nastier tone” noting that he had observed it at press conferences all across the nation specifically with Trump. 

“The way they question President Trump at some of these press conferences is just – I’ve never heard that tone with the president,” Cuomo said.

The two have butted heads in dealing with the pandemic but recent exchanges between them have a shown a budding work relationship working together to flatten the curve in New York which was one of the early hotspots of COVID-19.

Cuomo also added that there is a supposed “decorum” to the institution. “There are reporters who just are unprofessional, don’t know the facts and ask really biased questions,” Cuomo explained. “You want to say ‘well I don’t like the president and I disrespect him,’ I know but it’s still the office of the president.”

During his four years of presidency after winning the 2016 Elections against Hillary Clinton in a rather upsetting loss of the latter who lost in electoral college votes despite taking the popular vote, Trump had been scoring major national and international headlines largely on a negative perspective. 

In a feature by Walkon, he turned to explain that in Trump’s world, facts didn’t matter. Impressions did. And so, he thrived on a particular media portrayal and critical coverage drive him into a rage — a rather ironic reaction considering his unusually casual delivery of the truth spawning a devoted fact-checking cluster of journalists for every statement. 

Is the media bias against Trump true?

In an analysis by Jonathan Chait of Intelligencer, he debunks the media bias against Trump. Rather, the media was biased for him. He said that while it is true that mainstream news coverage has depicted Trump in “brutally harsh light” save, of course, the conservative media which serves as his mouthpiece, it was not the media’s fault that Trump continues to incriminate himself. 

Chait noted, “The problem is not that the media holds him to a difficult standard. He is held, by necessity, to a more forgiving standard than any modern president. But however low the bar is set, Trump continues to trip over it.”

“His inability to grasp basic facts about public policy, avoid obvious lies, or conform to minimal standards of ethical behavior guarantees he will fail even the forgiving standards the media has been forced to adopt,” he wrote. “The conservative view is that this failure reflects badly not on Trump but on the media.”

Marjorie Hershey, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Indiana University and writer at The Conversation, examined the media coverage of Trump presidency and campaigns and the social science research concludes that “media bias is in the eye of the beholder.”

According to Hershey, “Communications scholars have found that if you ask people in any community, using scientific polling methods, whether their local media are biased, you’ll find that about half say yes. But of that half, typically a little more than a quarter say that their local media are biased against Republicans, and a little less than a quarter say the same local media are biased against Democrats.”

The data showed that Republicans and Democrats only spot bias in articles which show clear favor on the opposing party and a tilting perspective towards theirs are seen as unbiased. Therefore “bias” is not employed as prejudice but on a more simply put definition of “anything that doesn’t agree with me.”

Cuomo’s Media Relationship

If there was one who emerged as a media darling over the past months dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the consensus pointed to anti-Trump and leader of the Democratic opposition, Andrew Cuomo. 

Investigative journalist Carl Bernstein told CNN that Cuomo has demonstrated “real leadership of the kind the president of the United States should have provided to the American people throughout the crisis but hasn’t.”

But while he has emerged as “the best executive best suited for the coronavirus crisis” as Ben Smith wrote in The New York Times, the governor lost his cool and went on a shouting match with reporters when Wall Street Journal reporter Jimmy Vielkind pressed him about school opening asking “whether he would overrule any decision by city officials to close schools.”

Trump may have been popular for his contentious relationship with the media but Cuomo has evidently had his fair share of run-ins including this particular exchange which has prompted several reactions on Twitter. 

One came from Andrew Desiderio, Congressional reporter for Politico, who quote-tweeted the video saying, “That’s some Trumpian treatment of a reporter asking a legitimate and fair question” tagging the official account of Cuomo. 

Desiderio’s response followed a rather surprising statement from Cuomo delivered with a shout. “What are you talking about? ‘You’re now going to override,’ we did it already! That’s the law!” Cuomo shouted. “An orange zone and a red zone, follow the facts!”

When Vielkind retorted that he was still confused, the Governor snapped. “Then you’re confused!” He also reiterated to the reporter that parents were not confused. He added, “Read the law and you won’t be confused.”

MSNBC analyst Mehdi Hasan also took his thoughts to Twitter, “For someone who presided over so many deaths, especially so many avoidable deaths in nursing homes!, Governor Cuomo should perhaps be a little less overconfident, little less mocking, and a little less aggressive in Covid (!) briefings with the media.”

David Mack. BuzzFeed’s deputy director also shared his thoughts. He wrote, “cuomo [Cuomo] is being incredibly condescending and rude for someone who wrote a book about how well he managed the pandemic before it was over.”

Thomas Lake

Resident tech nerd for the SF Times.