Corona Buzzed: New York Times Touts the 'Communal Therapy Sessions' of Andrew Cuomo

March 25th, 2020 11:34 AM

On Tuesday, The New York Times daily log of coronavirus coverage included this gooey tribute to the press briefings of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: 

Mr. Cuomo, once considered a bit player on the national stage, is emerging as the party’s most prominent voice in a time of crisis. His briefings — articulate, consistent and often tinged with empathy — have become must-see television. On Tuesday, his address was carried live on all four networks in New York and a raft of cable news stations, including CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News.

In a sign of the way Mr. Cuomo has become the face of the Democratic Party in this moment, his address even pre-empted an appearance by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on ABC’s The View in New York. Mr. Biden called Mr. Cuomo’s briefings a “lesson in leadership,” and others have described them as communal therapy sessions.

That was transformed into a warm and fuzzy, big and buzzy front-page story by Jesse McKinley and Shane Goldmacher headlined:

How Cuomo, Once on Sidelines, Became the Politician of the Moment

With his coronavirus briefings, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has emerged as an authoritative voice in the crisis.

In the paper, it was “Crisis Lifts Cuomo From Also-Ran to Must-See.” The paper can run down Fox News as a pandemic menace, but then use Fox (and Sean Hannity) to buff up Gov. Cuomo's broad appeal: 

Since the crisis began to take shape, the governor’s aggressive posture has won compliments from admirers ranging from conservative pundits like Sean Hannity, who recently hosted Mr. Cuomo on his radio show, to the progressive comedian Chelsea Handler (“I’m officially attracted to Andrew Cuomo”).

A few paragraphs down, they're at it again, bizarrely pitching George Conway as a "conservative." 

Mr. Cuomo’s forthrightness has led to praise from an unlikely and diverse set of commentators: George Conway, the conservative attorney who is also the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (“He’s doing a terrific job with these presentations”); Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador and a potential future Republican candidate for president (“I look forward to watching Gov. Cuomo’s news conference every day”); and even the leading strategists for his old rivals in New York.

You get the usual huzzahs from Democrats like Rep. Jackie Speier, who hit the expected so-much-better-than-Trump notes. New York state Rep. Grace Meng echoes it. The story touts the "positive press" (how self-reverential) and notes "A large measure of Mr. Cuomo’s sudden popularity seems to lie in the tonal and material differences between his briefings and those of Mr. Trump’s."

In case you thought it a little tasteless to tout someone's rising star as the New York death toll mounts, the Times insists "Mr. Cuomo has found a poetic, almost sentimental streak amid the dark news, appearing alongside his daughters at news conferences, and naming a new law, aimed at protecting older residents from infection, for his mother, Matilda."