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Media served as protective cloak for Cuomo’s COVID lies

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Media served as protective cloak for Cuomo’s COVID lies

News that Gov. Cuomo’s office had radically understated the number of COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes last year deflated his media image as a straight-talking teller of home truths. Now The Post has reported that the governor covered up the extent of the problem specifically because his office didn’t want President Trump to “turn this into a giant political football” by instructing the Department of Justice to investigate Cuomo’s handling of the situation. 

In other words, Cuomo buried evidence and impeded a federal investigation, hoping a new ­administration would leave him alone.

Last March, Cuomo’s state health commissioner, Howard Zucker, signed a decree ordering nursing homes to admit or readmit COVID patients released from hospitals, even if they remained infectious. The decision was made amid fears that hospital emergency rooms and intensive-care units would be overrun by the desperately sick; moving stabilized patients into care facilities appeared to be the least bad option.

Cuomo can’t in good faith be faulted for initially making this call, though it allowed the virus to spread like fire throughout the state’s nursing homes, infecting and killing the elderly and immune-compromised in droves. But he can be held to account for not rescinding the statewide order until May 10, well after it was obvious that hospitals weren’t being swamped and that the policy was causing massive death in the nursing homes.

Cuomo ducked media demands for nursing-home mortality data throughout 2020, even as every other state made the information public. While New York admitted to about 7,000 nursing home deaths, informed estimates put the real count at around 12,000; the state refused to confirm the figures. 

Last month, state Attorney General Letitia James released a report acknowledging that the real death toll was close to 13,000. In reaction to this news, Cuomo snapped, “Who cares? 33 [percent], 28 [percent]. Died in a hospital. Died in a nursing home. They died.”

The episode revealed Cuomo’s massive egotism. He was elevated by a fawning national media into a preposterously salvific role last spring and summer. Throughout the pandemic, the governor gave daily televised briefings in which he hailed his own performance as a beacon of leadership. 

He delivered such apothegms as, “It’s going to be hard, there is no doubt. But at the same time, it is going to be OK.” He also made a point, continuously, of calling the novel coronavirus the “European virus,” presumably in counterpoint to Trump’s calling it the “China virus,” though it is widely recognized that the virus originated in China, even if some infected people may have caught it in Italy before bringing it to America.

The media swooned. His “competence is captivating,” gushed The New York Times. Reporter Carl Bernstein praised Cuomo’s “real leadership,” and actor and prominent Democrat Mark Ruffalo said that “New Yorkers are lucky to have a leader like Governor Cuomo in this crisis.” 

In April, Cuomo appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show to announce that he approved of the use of the word “Cuomosexual,” embraced by DeGeneres and her fellow talk-show hosts Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, to describe people who love him.

Cuomo also appeared almost every night on his brother Chris Cuomo’s show on CNN. The pair frequently bantered about whose nose was bigger, who was more devoted to their mother in faithfully reproducing her recipe for sauce and how well the “Luv Guv,” in Chris’s words, had done serving the Empire State. 

In November, the governor won his own special Emmy for his TV appearances. Emmy boss Bruce Paisner hailed Cuomo for taking “it upon himself to use technology to spread reliable information and tell citizens what to do. Governor Cuomo’s daily press conferences were a whole new dimension in public education. He informed, he demanded and he calmed people down.”

Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s top personal aide, now admits that Cuomo intentionally stonewalled to forestall or impede a federal probe. Speaking to Albany Democrats, DeRosa pled for understanding and “context,” insisting that Trump was “tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes.”

In good news for Cuomo, however, it turns out Team Biden isn’t planning to pursue the matter. Thank the governor for another lesson in public education: Sometimes, it pays to bury evidence of your guilt.

Seth Barron is managing editor of The American Mind and ­author of the forthcoming book “The Last Days of New York.” Adapted from City Journal.

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Opinion

Biden’s getting exactly the border crisis he asked for

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Biden's getting exactly the border crisis he asked for

A new year, a new president, a return of an old problem: unaccompanied children crossing the border in droves.

Thousands of children — usually older teens, 16 or 17, but Border Patrol agents report increasing numbers of kids younger than 13 — are arriving each month from Central America.

On Thursday, a Customs and Border Protection staffer reportedly told top Biden administration officials to expect a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied minors to cross the border in May — the highest level ever.

“We’re seeing the highest February numbers [that] we’ve ever seen in the history of the [Unaccompanied Alien Child] program,” a Department of Health and Human Services official told Axios.

That’s right: a crisis worse than the one that brought the “kids in cages” backlash under President Donald Trump, and the earlier crises that prompted the building of those “cages” under President Barack Obama.

And it’s a crisis that we and others warned would come, as soon as President Biden started reversing every Trump border policy, even those clearly responsible for producing historic lows in illegal crossers, and returning to Obama policies that first triggered the unprecedented waves of children crossing without family.

Now Biden’s having to reopen shelters to house the kids until the feds can figure out what to do with them — shelters that his usual allies denounced as horrors in the Trump years. Yet, says White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, “There are very few good options here, and we chose the one we thought is best.”

That’s only because her boss already rejected the option of trying to ensure they don’t come here in the first place.

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Letters to the Editor — Feb. 27, 2021

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Letters to the Editor — Feb. 27, 2021

The Issue: The parole of a man convicted of killing NYPD Officer Harry Ryman in 1980.

The parole of cop-killer Paul Ford is yet another sign that Gov. Cuomo has absolutely no regard for victims’ families (“Slain-cop kin aghast at murderer’s parole,” Feb. 21).

Cuomo has no interest in protecting the residents of New York, as his criminal-justice reforms and handpicked Parole Board members are causing violent criminals to be released onto our streets.

It is time for all New Yorkers to wake up and protect themselves by pushing this ruthless tyrant out of his easy chair.

Nicholas Maffei
Yonkers

Some 20 cop-killers have been released by Cuomo’s moronic and irresponsible Parole Board since 2017, including one who murdered two cops in one incident.

Combine that with the release of the killer of two moms who were slain with their kids in the house, and you have to wonder how board members keep their jobs.

Meanwhile, Cuomo, who appointed them, wrote a book on leadership, which in retrospect is a total joke, even aside from the parole board.

Where is the outrage over this? How is giving hope to murderers serving society? When will they disband this Parole Board?

Niles Welikson
Williston Park

The Parole Board members lack reason and common sense.

This board has released 20 cop-killers since 2017. What an embarrassing record.

This is morally bankrupt, unethical and shows absolutely no compassion or consideration for these police officers’ families.

This time, it’s the killer of Police Officer Harry Ryman, who gave up his life trying to stop three thugs from stealing a neighbor’s car.

These poor families had to suffer without a father, husband or son.

So tell me: How is anyone’s life improved by of the release of another cop-killer?

Mike Pedano
South Farmingdale

Cuomo’s tenure as governor will forever be remembered for the thousands of nursing-home deaths attributed to his incompetence. That is how it should be.

However, the release of cop-killer Paul Ford by a Cuomo-appointed Parole Board is a reminder that the damage done by this politician is far-reaching.

A life sentence has no meaning in a progressive, liberal state. Who could have guessed that some 40 years after the murder of a policeman, the cops would be the bad guys and lowlife scum like Ford would be freed?

Robert Mangi
Westbury

The Issue: A new documentary that details the accusations of sexual abuse against Woody Allen.

I am fuming after reading Andrea Peyser’s column (“Put me on Team Woody — Mia is full of it,” Feb. 22).

The reason why child molestation continues is because people turn a blind eye to the facts.

Let me ask you this — who in their right mind marries their partner’s own child, adopted or not? If you cannot see there is something wrong with that picture, you have blinders on.

There are limited instances where people have falsely accused others of being child molesters in order to gain custody of their children during a divorce or separation.

In the case between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, you have to look at his behavior. I believe the claims are true.

Panagiota Giakoumis
Middleburgh

I never liked Allen or Farrow, so I have no bias in this endless feud, but I’m shocked that anyone could watch the new HBO documentary and not realize that it’s corrupt and dishonest to only tell one side.

Anyone can make another person look bad with lies or exaggerations.

Andrew Nace-Enzminger
Brooklyn

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Democrats’ sneak attack on the free press

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Democrats' sneak attack on the free press

Democrats’ hot new idea for responsible dialogue is to muscle cable and satellite providers to drop Fox News and other outlets they dislike.

In the runup to a House hearing this week, Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney (both D-Calif.) sent out letters to a dozen providers to silence conservative channels, demanding to know the “ethical or moral principles” behind “disseminating misinformation to millions.”

Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr called out the “concerted effort by Democrats to drive political dissent from the political square.”

Indeed: At the actual hearing, the subcommittee chief, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) gave the real agenda away: “More free speech just isn’t winning the day over the kind of speech that we’re concerned about.”

Sadly, this kind of intimidation works. As lefty Matt Taibbi notes, the last Democratic push for censorship got Facebook and Twitter to go along, with results like their blackout of The Post’s pre-election Hunter Biden scoops.

The government doesn’t have to actually ban speech by law (in violation of the First Amendment) when politicians simply can threaten the private sector into doing their will.

Too bad Taibbi was one of only a few lonely voices on the left to call out this concerted assault on basic democratic freedoms.

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