If Andrew Cuomo’s resignation is supposed to remind us what accountability looks like, then I’m not buying it. Especially when it’s being touted by our beloved media.
The governor of New York announced in a very soap-in-the-mouth fashion that he’d step down from his position in less than two weeks. This came because of a lengthy report detailing 11 sexual harassment allegations involving state employees.
The “Love Gov” showed little remorse in his announcement — he didn’t even apologize — and explained away his actions as just being too “familiar.” As someone who’s been told I can be a little too familiar with strangers, even I know you draw the line at groping women and landing unsolicited kisses on them.
That it was this scandal that brought him down, and not his countless others, is why I have a hard time thinking Cuomo is really getting his comeuppance.
This is the man whose policies early in the pandemic led to the deaths of nearly 15,000 seniors. Then, his office was caught fudging those death totals to prevent a federal probe by former President Donald Trump’s administration. He also gave family and other inner circle members access to testing before the rest of the state.
Speaking of family, he had chummy interviews with brother Chris Cuomo on CNN, who seemed to be the torch bearer for the media’s general hard-on for him.
(If I’m being honest, I felt like the sexual harassment investigation was slow. Past figures came under such pressure they went into hiding immediately. Cuomo blanketly denied his accusers at first, and even held firm on some of those denials during Tuesday’s announcement.)
Cuomo’s state house had the ethics of a pirate ship. He compiled a mountain of bodies during the greatest public health crisis of our lifetime. And yet, it was him copping a few feels when we said, “OK, that’s enough!”
As Liz Wolfe from Reason put it, “This is a reminder that the partisan blinders of the press too often serve to help those in power hide from accountability.”
Yes, it was ultimately the media that let Cuomo screw up on the job, but not screw around on it. He was held accountable to their standards, and their standard was using him as a foil to Trump. Once Trump left office, Cuomo had to be cut off to stop the reputation cancer from spreading to other Democrats.
You can see those gears turning by looking at how media allies tried to recast this low moment for their party.
Medhi Hassan and Joy Reid on MSNBC used his resignation to show that Democrats know how to clean out their bad actors, unlike Republicans. More “critical” pieces of him seemed to emphasize that he could just never separate politics from his personal life. They didn’t mention he was a monstrous egomaniac who personified abuses of power.
Jeet Heer was way ahead of both. In March, when the Cuomo allegations first streamed in, he wrote that “A system of asymmetric accountability can be costly to politicians like Cuomo, but they benefit the Democratic Party as a whole. If Democrats can hold their leaders to basic norms, they can turn their superiority to Republicans on that count into an electoral advantage.”
There it is — a value is only as good as the political leverage it provides, according to our nation’s left-wing intelligentsia. Just look at who the media is and isn’t holding accountable.
Trump’s handling of the U.S.-Mexico border was treated as a humanitarian crisis for putting “kids in cages.” Meanwhile, Joe Biden is overseeing even more crowded facilities that are releasing Covid-positive illegal immigrants into the country. Yet, there’s barely a peep.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank scolded Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene for her distasteful anti-Semitic sympathies. Meanwhile, Millbank blamed Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s antisemitism on…Donald Trump.
Journalists uplifted crackpot Rebekah Jones because she exposed the (fabricated) “truth” behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Covid data. But the media didn’t bat an eye when Biden’s Department of Justice canceled an investigation into four Democrat-run states that forced nursing homes to take Covid-positive patients, and contributed to nearly a quarter of all the country’s virus deaths.
These are only the examples involving politicians. Remember when they tried to tar and feather the Covington kid for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat? Or this perverse trend where they dig up old, immature tweets when college athletes go pro? Or how they nearly broke out the pitchforks because they (wrongly) thought a fan yelled the N-word at a baseball game in Colorado?
To them, “accountability” means banishing their enemies from society while awarding brownie points to their friends when they own up to mistakes (if it even comes to that).
This is a problem because our media is a major contributor to the ideals our country deems important.
Business dealings, social issues, and political developments are all communicated through newspapers, websites and talk shows daily. When journalists contort or ignore certain stories because of what they’re about, they pollute the flow of information and manipulate perceptions to their liking — daily.
That’s why the term “white supremacy” in news coverage correlates with a decline in race relations. Just as the over-labeling of people as Nazis (dating back to George W. Bush) has fed the left’s radicalization, it’s now feeding a similar shift on the right.
It’s frustrating to admit how gullible we are to their tactics until you realize what they’re really selling us is excuses.
Excuses flatter our self-image. We’re seduced by the morphine they give our egos and convince us that our potential is out of our hands. So, we’re told billionaires and -isms are ruining your life. Not your lack of courage or wits. In other words, it’s the exact opposite of accountability.
Now we have these same talking heads trying to remind us what accountability looks like. And their shining example is Governor Grim Reaper because he got handsy with women.
It’s entirely possible that we feel trapped in this paradigm. We know we’ve subjected our values to the whims of politicized factfinders. We know it’s leaving us disgruntled and confused. But it’s also a familiar commodity.
We reflexively lean on the structure that institutions give our world. Learning to live within a biased system of knowledge is seen as the savvier move than trying to build a new one. Besides, all those billionaires and -isms wouldn’t let us pull it off anyway.
This website is about blazing that trail. It’s why I’m writing this piece and why you’re reading it. The simple truth is we get what we deserve if we continue to play along. Allowing our principles to be defined by a media with no honor is how we become a nation with no moral code.
Admitting that’s what lies ahead is the first step. It’s a painful lump to take, but that’s what accountability feels like. What journalists fail to address is that there’s a second part to being held accountable — making an honest attempt to right your wrongs. That’s where the value gets its worth, and why it’s so crucial to look beyond the day’s headlines to find it.
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