PolitiFact’s editor-in-chief drew controversy over the weekend when she said that there are “no clear-cut answers” in how Gov. Andrew Cuomo handled his state’s COVID-19 response in light of allegations his administration covered up nursing home deaths.
“I think the situation in New York is really complicated,” editor-in-chief Angie Drobnic Holan told CNN over the past weekend. “Certainly, there are things to criticize about how the Cuomo administration handled data. 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 were ready to be discharged from the hospital.”
“We don’t see hard evidence that that made a significant difference in COVID deaths. If you look at the statistics, New York is about having the same numbers as other states around the country,” Holan added. “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 is a really complicated situation. There is (sic) no clear-cut answers here.”
Over the years, PolitiFact has drawn criticism—primarily from conservatives—for what has been described as biased coverage of reports about or statements made by Republican politicians.
Critics on social media, including Donald Trump Jr., noted that Holan, in her interview, used similar arguments and rhetoric that was used by Cuomo during his briefings.
“This person fact checks conservatives across various platforms but thinks the incompetence & corruption of Gov Cuomo in NY is a complicated situation when the evidence looks clear as day to everyone other than partisan hack’s,” Trump Jr. tweeted Sunday.
“Fake fact-checker repeats Cuomo’s excuse verbatim. Quite remarkable,” said Phil Kerpen, the head of nonprofit American Commitment.
Meanwhile, Cuomo, a Democrat, has drawn criticism from Democrats in his state, after a New York Post report revealed that one of his top aides, Melissa DeRosa, told lawmakers in a private setting that Cuomo’s administration had withheld how many nursing home residents died from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus because they feared the numbers would “be used against us” by the Trump administration.
Among them, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called for an investigation into the matter: “I support our state’s return to co-equal governance and stand with our local officials calling for a full investigation of the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during COVID-19.”
For his part, Cuomo has fiercely defended his state’s response to the crisis, referring to some of the allegations against him as “misinformation” and “lies.”
“I’m not going to let you hurt New Yorkers by lying about what happened surrounding the death of a loved one,” Cuomo said during a news conference in Albany on Friday. “So, I’m going to take on the lies and the unscrupulous actors, especially when they cause pain and damage to New York.”