Douglas Andrews / Nov. 24, 2020

The Emmy for Awful Leadership Goes To...

Andrew Cuomo's bizarre award is both undeserved and unconscionable.

Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean must’ve thought it a sick joke. We sure did.

On Friday, the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced it would present the Emmy Founder’s Award to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in recognition of his leadership and for his “effective use of television during the pandemic.”

Dean called it “sickening,” but her in-laws weren’t available for comment. They died last year in a New York nursing home, just two of thousands of victims of Cuomo’s catastrophic March 25 executive order that forced COVID-positive patients back into nursing homes and long-term care facilities — an order that prevented incoming patients from being tested for the coronavirus prior to admission or readmission. (Technically, Dean’s mother-in-law doesn’t count as a nursing home death, since her final hours were spent in a hospital. But that’s merely an accounting gimmick. Make no mistake: She died because COVID races through nursing homes like wildfire and because New York’s governor failed to take fundamental steps to protect his state’s most vulnerable population. His deadly order stood for 46 days before he finally rescinded it.)

“The Governor’s 111 daily briefings worked so well,” said a clueless International Academy President and CEO Bruce L. Paisner, “because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure. People around the world tuned in to find out what was going on, and ‘New York tough’ became a symbol of the determination to fight back.”

The award for best plot line and highest death toll in a vulnerable nursing home goes to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who wishes to thank all the nursing home residents whose deaths made his “New York tough” schtick possible.

If Cuomo ever tires of mismanaging the Empire State, he may well have a future on daytime television. After all, this is a guy whose assessment of President Donald Trump’s COVID performance went from “He has delivered for New York” to “Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York” in just a matter of weeks.

Of course, if Cuomo had even an ounce of decency, he’d decline the award, apologize for his disastrous leadership, and cooperate fully with the Justice Department’s investigation to uncover the real number of nursing home COVID deaths in his state.

If.

As The Federalist’s Ben Domenech put it, “Andrew Cuomo deserves to be on trial for the elderly people his nursing home order directly murdered. Instead, he’s getting an Emmy.”

Indeed. Nearly 35,000 New Yorkers have died from COVID under Cuomo’s watch, including at least 6,700 in nursing homes. As we reported back in August, even the Associated Press is skeptical of his state’s official numbers: “New York’s coronavirus death toll in nursing homes, already among the highest in the nation, could actually be a significant undercount. Unlike every other state with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there.”

The bottom line is that Cuomo’s malfeasance is serious stuff. It’s not the stuff of feel-good Emmys, nor cringeworthy comedy skits on his brother’s CNN show, nor tone-deaf victory laps, nor cartoonish mountains of death. And it’s certainly not the stuff of lucrative and ethically dubious book deals on “leadership lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As for Cuomo’s Emmy, State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy called it “proof positive that Hollywood lives in its own alternative reality.” But, he wryly added, “Gov. Cuomo definitely deserves an award for best actor in the fictional storylines that he’s created declaring himself a great leader.”

Further “proof positive” of Tinsel Town’s fake reality could be found in the tone-deaf tributes their stars trotted out toward Cuomo, like this one from Robert DeNiro: “Thank you for your leadership during these trying times. We are New York Tough — smart, disciplined, united, and loving.”

Huh? The only thanks Cuomo deserves are for having shown our nation’s 49 other governors how not to lead.

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