On Thursday, Politico’s Marc Caputo drew attention to the glaring disparity between the media’s coverage of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — the former presented in generally glowing terms despite his state’s massive failure in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, while the latter, whose state has been one of the national success stories amid the crisis, has been regularly criticized in reports. For calling out the media, Caputo has come under fire from a fellow journalist from The Daily Beast and CNN.
In an update “from the non-frontlines,” Caputo — a former Miami Herald reporter who now produces Politico’s Florida Playbook — writes:
Good evening, and greetings from Florida, where we feel the need to inform you that it’s not a post-apocalyptic hellscape of coronavirus infection and cadavers stacked like cordwood. That is, Florida just doesn’t look nearly as bad as the national news media and sky-is-falling critics have been predicting for about two months now. But then, the national news media is mostly based in New York and loves to love its Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, about as much as it loves to hate on Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Having established the largely New York-based media’s habit of “loving” on Cuomo and “hating” on DeSantis, Caputo takes his critique further: the truth is, he writes, based on actual results, DeSantis’s measured response to the crisis appears to have been the right response, while New York has been by far the worst hit:
First, let’s just come out and say it: DeSantis looks more right than those who criticized the Sunshine State’s coronavirus response. According to the latest Florida figures, fewer than 2,000 have died, and around 43,000 have been infected. That’s a fraction of the dire predictions made for Florida when spring breakers swarmed the beaches, and those numbers are dwarfed by similarly sized New York, which has seen 12 times more deaths and nearly eight times more infections. (Check out POLITICO’s coronavirus tracker for more.) More people reportedly died in New York nursing homes than in all of Florida.
Yet, Caputo notes, Cuomo is polling better than DeSantis, partly a result of the two leaders’ far different demeanors as well as one heading up a unified, “deeply Democratic state,” while the other heads up a “politically divided state.” But another reason, Caputo emphasizes, is that “there’s media bias, too”:
Cuomo also has something else DeSantis doesn’t: a press that defers to him, one that preferred to cover “Florida Morons” at the beach (where it’s relatively hard to get infected) over New Yorkers riding cramped subway cars (where it’s easy to get infected). In fact, people can still ride the subways for most hours of the day in New York, but Miami Beach’s sands remain closed. Maybe things would be different if DeSantis had a brother who worked in cable news and interviewed him for a “sweet moment” in primetime.
As pointed out by Twitchy, for the sin of shining light on pro-Democrat, New York-centered media bias, Caputo has come under fire from fellow journalist Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast and a CNN political analyst.
“So, given how much everyone is suffering everywhere — grieving loved ones, job losses and even the simple things like hugging your friends — I fail to see how this snarky nonsense from [Marc Caputo] — who I think is an awesome reporter – is helpful,” Kucinich tweeted Thursday. “The reporters in NY who you are shading have lost people too, and are working their tails off, [Marc Caputo].”
The reporters in NY who you are shading have lost people too, and are working their tails off, .@MarcACaputo.
— Jackie Kucinich (@JFKucinich) May 15, 2020
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