A few weeks ago Melissa DeRosa, Gov. Cuomo’s top aide, admitted during a behind-closed-doors virtual meeting that state officials withheld data on purpose showing the extent of the coronavirus death toll in nursing homes. She said Cuomo’s administration “froze” over how the COVID-19 nursing home deaths could be used against them by former President Trump or by the Justice Department in the midst of its federal probe.
Following the nursing home bombshell, politicians, journalists, and even Mayor Bill de Blasio have come forward to talk about Gov. Cuomo’s volcanic tempter and threatening anyone who crosses him. New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat, first drew national attention when he refused to help Cuomo mitigate the fallout and release a public statement that would shift the blame. Cuomo called him, yelling so loud into the phone that Kim’s wife could hear, and told him “you have not seen my wrath” and that he “will be destroyed.” He said Cuomo called again four or five times the next day, but that he ignored the calls.
Following the shocking accusation, Mayor de Blasio also told MSNBC that “a lot of people in New York State have received those phone calls.” He said it was a sad thing but ‘classic Andrew Cuomo.’ “The bullying is nothing new. The threats, the belittling, the demand that someone change their statement right that moment — many, many times I’ve heard that and I know a lot of other people in the state that have heard that,” he said.
Now, former City & State editor-in-chief Morgan Pehme, released an op-ed titled “Cuomo’s office terrorized me for doing my job as a journalist,” which recalls an incident that took place in April 2014 when the magazine was getting prepared to publish a story that the governor didn’t like. He started the piece by acknowledging that many Americans have “bought into” the compassionate persona the governor conveyed in his pandemic briefings, but that “everyone has an Andrew Cuomo story.”
Pehme reveals that the New York politics magazine was about to run a story exposing Cuomo’s attempt to distort the final report issued by the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption. He wrote that the “manipulation we documented put the lie to the governor’s public proclamation that it would be a fully independent body with the authority to probe graft in Albany wherever it found it. In reality, as soon as the commission touched the governor’s own office, he hastily shut it down.”
Pehme said the story started receiving pushback from the governor’s office as soon as they called to request for comments. Then-communications director DeRosa vowed to “destroy” his career and take revenge on his publication. He wrote that he feared losing his livelihood, damaging his future, and letting down his wife and daughter, but that publishing the piece is exactly what the press is supposed to do in the face of intimidation.
He wrote that members of the Albany press corps regularly endure abusive calls and will kill stories or shy away from promising tips because of Cuomo’s threats. Some reporters revealed that they feared the governor would freeze them out or won’t let them do their jobs effectively while others said they just assumed “everyone knows” how Cuomo operates so it isn’t worth reporting.
Journalists have not been doing their jobs for so long, they’ve lost all credibility even when they try. The blackmail tactics and political narratives pushed by Democrats have intimidated journalists into the massive fake news platforms they are today.