Accuracy in Media

CNN provided political cover for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his decision to admit coronavirus-positive patients into nursing homes and blamed the Trump administration’s guidelines.

The cable news network headlined the issue, “Cuomo says New York followed federal guidelines when sending coronavirus patients to nursing homes.” CNN noted that the governor’s office “deflected questions” about the governor’s decision, but the majority of the article emphasized that federal guidelines from the Trump administration were to blame. The network cited Cuomo’s office, which defended its nursing home decision because “over a dozen states…did the exact same thing” and federal guidance dictated that coronavirus-positive patients should be admitted to nursing homes.

“New York followed the President’s agency’s guidance, so that de-politicizes it. What New York did was follow what the Republican administration said to do,” Cuomo said, “So don’t criticize this state for following the President’s policy.”

The article pointed out that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a memo on March 13 that encouraged nursing homes to admit patients who tested positive for coronavirus. But there was a two-week gap between the federal agency’s memo and Cuomo’s statewide order went into effect.

Although the federal government’s guidelines were partially to blame, it was ultimately Cuomo’s responsibility to determine whether those guidelines were appropriate for his state. His nursing-homes order was in place on March 25, but he only reversed the policy on May 10, almost two months later. At the time, Cuomo acknowledged that nursing homes were hot spots for the virus’s spread, but he chose not rescind his order.

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