In NBC Interview, Lester Holt Celebrates Cuomo's 'Outspoken Voice,' 'Stirring Speech'

March 28th, 2020 8:39 PM

Lester Holt gave Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York a mostly laudatory interview from a field hospital at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City on Friday's Nightly News. This is not the tone NBC uses with Mike Pence. He gets harsh treatment. However, it is the tone Holt uses with spokesmen for Iran's Islamist government. 

Holt introduced the interview with positive adjectives: "New York's Andrew Cuomo is an outspoken voice in this crisis with his blunt and sobering assessments of what his state faces. I caught up with the governor to talk about the challenge and how he has responded to it."

Without viewers hearing a question, Cuomo replied "Oh, it's all surreal. It has to be, Lester, I mean, this is like living a science fiction movie, right? Our strategy here is prepare for the worst and hope for the best."

Then Holt touted Cuomo's "stirring" words about the coming battle with coronavirus: 

LESTER HOLT: This is a military hospital, essentially. A field hospital. You spoke to National Guard troops today in a stirring speech that if I wasn't listening carefully, I thought you were sending soldiers off to war.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO [from his daily briefing]: We go out there today -- and we kick coronavirus ass.

HOLT: Do you feel at this moment like you're a wartime commander?

CUOMO: Well, I wanted them to understand this is a different kind of enemy. It's an insidious, invisible enemy and people are going to die....

Cuomo spoke for 47 seconds. From there, Holt turned to President Trump, offering the usual open-ended What Say You question.

HOLT: Let's talk about ventilators. President Trump has suggested that maybe you don't need those tens of thousands of ventilators you have spoken about. Were you surprised to hear that and what's your reaction? 

CUOMO: I hope he's right. I hope no one gets sick. I hope no one needs a ventilator, but I don't operate on what I hope or what I would like to see or what my expectation is. I operate on the data and on the numbers and on the science....

That Cuomo answer went on for 52 seconds.

There was one challenging question, asked without any sharp elbows, on personal protection equipment. Holt ran a clip of Cuomo saying "no hospital, no nurse, no doctor can say legitimately I don't have protective equipment." The anchorman  showed a critical tweet, "the New York state nurse's association firing back they don't have the proper protections. Wearing a soiled mask for days at a time is not adequate. Has there been a failure of distribution? Have you pinpointed what is going wrong?" 

As in "I know you're on top of this, explain what's happening." Cuomo answered that the nurses aren't happy with crisis guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control, that the nurses don't feel safe. He spoke for 31 seconds.

The last question was about his hopes for the economy coming back. Holt asked "When you hear conversations, this drumbeat of getting the country back to work, the economy back to work, how do you process that?" 

Cuomo spoke for 41 seconds, saying he wants to save lives first. 

Overall, NBC gave the governor easy questions and long answers....just like Democrats usually get.