Media outlets are focused on Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis while ignoring a recent report detailing New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s continuation in underreporting COVID-19 deaths.
On Tuesday, a new report revealed the state of New York to have undercounted COVID-19-related deaths by approximately 11,000. As of this week, the Center for Disease Control reported approximately 54,000 deaths from the state while New York publicized about 43,000 deaths only. The report included people who died from the coronavirus or listed the coronavirus as a contributing factor on their death certificates.
Major news outlets including CNN and the Washington Post neglected Cuomo’s underreporting of COVID-19 deaths but instead focused on DeSantis’ campaign merchandise.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post published an article detailing the availability of “Don’t Fauci My Florida” drink koozies and t-shirts on DeSantis’ campaign website while COVID-19 cases in Florida are rising in the state.
The Post, which has yet to report on the Cuomo news, wrote “DeSantis sells ‘Don’t Fauci My Florida’ merch as new coronavirus cases near highest in nation.”
The piece details DeSantis’ rising profile within the Republican party because of how he managed the pandemic by not imposing restrictions on Florida residents and businesses. It also highlights DeSantis’ comments about not following the advice of White House COVID adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Liberal politicians and journalists shared the article leading #DeathSantis to once again trend on Twitter along with #DontFauciMyFlorida.
CNN featured the DeSantis merchandise story on Wednesday’s “Inside Politics.”
“Florida is quite an interesting test in the latest chapter of COVID policy meets COVID politics. You can see right here new COVID infections are rising in Florida and more than double the national average. Governor Desantis made clear long ago he is no fan of COVID restrictions and no fan of Dr. Anthony Fauci. It is a policy dispute, in fact, that Desantis sees as a political cash cow,” host John King said.
CNN also failed to mention Cuomo’s continuation of undercounting COVID deaths. Cuomo also recently commented on the pandemic stating “Speaking for myself, it was a tremendous personal benefit.”
Florida currently ranks 17th in cases per 100,000 residents and 26th in deaths per 100,000 people despite having the second-oldest population in the country. Florida is also the third most populous state in the country. Contrast with New York which was hit hard early on in the pandemic, ranks second in deaths per 100,000 people.
When asked about the media’s focus on the Florida governor, DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told Fox News it’s because many of their earlier reporting about the state turned out to be wrong.
“The media refuse to believe it because Florida actually did a lot better than the media had predicted. We did exceed the expectations in a big way, and the media just couldn’t handle it,” Pushaw said.
DeSantis has been falsely blamed for undercounting deaths from his political opponents. In March, the Florida governor was accused of “cooking” the COVID numbers by ignoring thousands of deaths from Florida’s excess death count, though health experts reported “nothing exceptionally suspicious” in the numbers.
Meanwhile, Cuomo has continually been accused of misreporting deaths in his state and covering up mistakes his administration made in managing the pandemic. In January, New York Attorney General Letitia James reported that up to 50% of COVID deaths in New York nursing homes went unreported.
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