Real Journalism: Fox News Digs into Cuomo Order as Nets Try to Bury It

It had been days since the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC delivered any kind of substantive follow-up to Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s nursing homes deaths and cover-up scandal, even as new damning information developed. This was not the case for the Fox News Channel’s Special Report as they aired an exclusive interview on Thursday with a nursing home administrator who sat in on phone conferences in which Cuomo was consigning many elderly folks to death.

Throughout the day, Fox News had aired portions on other news shows. And it’s common for the broadcast networks to use such clips from each other to pad out their programming. This was not the case Thursday, as all three of them gushed about President Biden calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer.”

In stark contrast, Fox News correspondent Aishah Hasnie spoke to an insider who wanted to speak out about Cuomo’s disastrous leadership. “Michael Kraus is the administrator of Silver Lake Specialized Care Center in Staten Island, New York. And for the first time, he and his team are telling us what really happened behind closed doors when Governor Andrew Cuomo issued that controversial March 25 order,” she reported.

Cuomo’s order forced nursing homes to take in COVID-positive patents, regardless of a facility’s ability to keep them isolated.

 

 

Kraus recounted how he had attempted to push back on the directive during a phone conference and was shot down by the Cuomo administration:

KRAUS: My position from the get-go was we can’t do it.

(…)

KRAUS: We can’t be doing this, it – it’s just not right to the residents.

HASNIE: And you vocalized that on these phone conversations?

KRAUS: I did vocalize it. And then, you know, once it was shot down, I never spoke again.

“In the end, Silver Lake reported two confirmed COVID deaths at the facility, six out-of-facility, and 37 presumed COVID deaths. The numbers are not the lowest in the state, but far from the highest,” Hasnie noted. “15,000 people died in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Governor Cuomo repeatedly insists his order was not the driving cause.”

According to Kraus, his team of care workers was more afraid of the Cuomo administration than the virus itself. “They were petrified, but they were more petrified of the Department of Health,” he told Hasnie.

And though Kraus didn’t blame the Cuomo administration for every nursing home death, he suggested they did bear some responsibility. “So, not entirely. I really feel that when the hospitals kept on pushing us to take these residents, I think it was a very big mistake,” he explained.

Earlier this month, for Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandals, CBS Evening News did the right thing by interviewing accuser Charlotte Bennett. But CBS should’ve applied the same standard to Cuomo’s nursing home scandal too.

But then again, other Democratic governors parroted the order. So, reporting on it would put those governors in hot water too.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

Fox News Channel’s Special Report
March 18, 2021
6:31:24 p.m. Eastern

BRET BAIER: Breaking tonight, a Fox News exclusive, someone on the inside speaking out. A behind-the-scenes look at the nursing home scandal that’s also threatening the political survival of New York’s governor. Here is correspondent Aishah Hasnie.

[Cuts to video]

MICHAEL KRAUS: My position from the get-go was we can’t do it.

AISHAH HASNIE: Michael Kraus is the administrator of Silver Lake Specialized Care Center in Staten Island, New York. And for the first time, he and his team are telling us what really happened behind closed doors when Governor Andrew Cuomo issued that controversial March 25 order. It required all nursing homes to take COVID patients released from overwhelmed hospitals.

He says he first heard about it on a COVID conference call with other administrators, hospital leaders, and state officials.

KRAUS: We can’t be doing this, it – it’s just not right to the residents.

HASNIE: And you vocalized that on these phone conversations?

KRAUS: I did vocalize it. And then, you know, once it was shot down, I never spoke again.

HASNIE: At the time, Kraus feared his facility didn’t have enough PPE, so he followed his gut and locked down. In the end, Silver Lake reported two confirmed COVID deaths at the facility, six out-of-facility, and 37 presumed COVID deaths. The numbers are not the lowest in the state, but far from the highest.

In May of 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo amended his nursing home order now hospitalized residents must test negative before being readmitted to a nursing home. But many, like Kraus, believe the March 25 directive put these facilities in a tough position.

KRAUS: They were petrified, but they were more petrified of the Department of Health.

HASNIE: 15,000 people died in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Governor Cuomo repeatedly insists his order was not the driving cause.

Do you think that it’s fair? Do you believe that?

KRAUS: So, not entirely. I really feel that when the hospitals kept on pushing us to take these residents, I think it was a very big mistake.

[Cuts back to live]

HASNIE: And we did reach out to the governor’s office, we have not heard back yet. The Department of Health, though, did respond. They are stating tonight that the March 25 guidance, as they call it, was not a directive to accept COVID-19 patients. Adding that the attorney general here in New York found that it was reasonable for nursing homes to have understood that. Bret.

BAIER: Aishah, thank you.

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