PolitiFact editor-in-chief shamelessly runs interference for Gov. Cuomo over nursing home deaths

Shameless is the term that comes to mind in response to PolitiFact editor-in-chief Angie Drobnic Holan essentially running interference for embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Appearing on CNN, a one-network cheering factory for the Democratic governor last year, Holan told “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter that Cuomo’s directive for nursing homes to take in patients who had or were suspected of having COVID-19 likely made no “significant difference in COVID deaths.”

Asked if Cuomo has been given an easy break by the media, the PolitiFact editor-in-chief said it was “really complicated” and that there are no “clear-cut answers.”

“I think the situation in New York is really complicated. Certainly, there are things to criticize about how the Cuomo administration handled data,” she said. “But the heart of the matter goes back to last year when the state was asking nursing homes to take in patients, COVID patients who are ready to be discharged from the hospital.”

(Source: CNN)

“We don’t see hard evidence that made a significant difference in COVID deaths,” Holan continued. “If you look at the statistics, New York is about having the same numbers as other states around the country. And the issue was employees, workers in the nursing homes who didn’t realize they were bringing COVID-19 into the nursing homes. So, it’s a really complicated situation. There’s no clear-cut answers here.”

The answer prompted a thoughtful “hmmm” from Stelter, who offered no challenge whatsoever to the remarkable statement.

Holan tweeted a link to PolitiFact’s take on an Aug. 2020 tweet from Michael Caputo, the then-assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, suggesting that Cuomo “was solely responsible,” the fact-checking site noted.

“That’s not what the evidence showed, then or now,” PolitiFact concluded, citing the New York State Department of Health — under Cuomo’s charge — concluding that the Chinese virus was “introduced by nursing home staffers rather than sick patients.”

“Though some epidemiologists and nursing home advocates questioned the report’s methods and findings, public health experts agreed with the report’s conclusion — based on the timeline — that nursing home staffers and visitors, before they were banned, were likely the main drivers of COVID-19 infection and death in nursing homes,” PolitiFact said.

PolitiFact updated the article after it was learned that Cuomo concealed the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths to avoid a federal investigation, saying the “Mostly False” rating was unchanged by this new information.

“That rating was based on evidence that while the introduction of covid-19 positive patients into nursing homes no doubt had an effect on the spread of the coronavirus, Caputo’s statement suggested it was solely responsible,” the update stated.

The group appears to be parsing the words used by Caputo to stand by its rating — this being the same players who play a major role in determining what the truth is and is not online.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to Holan’s tweet showing that folks are not as fooled as she may think:

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Tom Tillison

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