This week, with historic winter storms knocking out power for millions of Texans, Senator Ted Cruz traveled with his family to Cancun for a beach vacation. Shortly after photos of Cruz boarding a flight hit the internet, two things happened.
First, social media went into a frenzy. The beach trip instantly became the number one trending topic on Twitter, with reporters, media personalities, commentators, and others lambasting Cruz for his ill-timed journey.
Second, the legacy media began digging for more details regarding the trip. Who else had gone? What hotel were they staying in? How long was the trip originally scheduled to last?
Soon, the full force of the American media apparatus was deployed. Hordes of photographers wandered the Cancun airport hoping to catch a glimpse of Cruz on his return voyage, while investigative reporters began reaching out to close friends and neighbors of the Senator’s wife, Heidi, in a quest for more information.
Within 24 hours of the first photos emerging, reporters had obtained transcripts of text messages sent between Heidi Cruz and her closest friends, which shed light on the trip.
Meanwhile, members of the legacy media breathlessly searched for answers from Cruz’s staff, demanding to know further details of the trip and posting hourly updates of their findings.
As the specifics of the trip emerged, and the media firestorm intensified, Senator Cruz boarded a return flight for Houston, issuing a statement apologizing for his decision and the timing of his getaway, saying it was “obviously a mistake.”
The saga served as an impressive reminder of the investigative capabilities of our news media, and the impact that dogged reporting can have on the decisions of policy makers.
While the media were patting themselves on the back for what many surely viewed as a heroic act of service to the nation, many Americans were left asking a question. Where was this type of reporting when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo covered up the deaths of thousands of senior citizens caused by his disastrous COVID policies, specifically his administration’s March 25 mandate which directed nursing homes and long-term care facilities to admit COVID-19 positive patients?
Where were the reporters staking out hospitals, or knocking on the doors of the family members publicly crying out for help for their loved ones?
They were absent for one simple reason: politics.
Early in the pandemic, Governor Cuomo was crowned the de facto leader of the progressive response to COVID-19. His press conferences were lauded as the greatest example of political leadership and communication since FDR’s fireside chats. He signed book deals, won Emmy’s, and appeared seemingly nightly on his brother’s CNN program.
Despite the overwhelming number of average New Yorkers speaking out about his policy failures, the media steered clear, intent on refraining from any reporting that could tarnish Cuomo’s standing as the Democratic savior.
If they had done any investigating of Cuomo’s response, they could have uncovered the gross incompetence that resulted in the death of 14% of New York’s nursing home population, before it was too late.
Likewise, if the media had chosen to dig into the nursing home fatality reports Cuomo was releasing with the same fervor they applied to Heidi Cruz’s text messages, they could have noticed clear discrepancies in the data and attempted to shine a light on the Cuomo administration’s intentional underreporting of senior deaths.
Sadly, they didn’t do any of those things. It wasn’t until the Governor’s Secretary admitted in early February that their office intentionally hid nursing home data so it couldn’t “be used against us,” that an FBI investigation was launched.
For the thousands of senior citizens who died in New York, it’s too late. What would that number have been if even one brave reporter had demanded transparency? We’ll never know, because they never did.
Author : Cabot Phillips