When you hear about a politician verbally attacking a member of the media the story is supposed to be about President Trump, right? (And to be fair, he certainly does more than his fair share of it.) But this story, which you’re unlikely to hear much about unless you live in New York, isn’t about Trump. It’s about New York Governor (and 2020 presidential hopeful) Andrew Cuomo. During a press conference yesterday, NY1 reporter Zack Fink had the temerity to ask the Governor a question about the latest in a series of campaign finance scandals embroiling Cuomo and whether or not he planned to return some large and very dodgy donations. While he didn’t invoke the dreaded “fake news” claim, Cuomo did go after Fink’s employer, accusing them of fraud, and then went on to seemingly try to implicate the reporter himself in the company’s troubles. (Huffington Post)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) tried to turn the tables on a reporter at a press event Tuesday by bringing up the state’s dispute with his TV channel’s parent company after the journalist asked about straw donor allegations.
Zack Fink, a reporter for the regional cable channel New York 1, asked Cuomo whether he had considered returning donations he had received from employees of Crystal Run Healthcare, a New York clinic chain, or initiating an internal investigation into whether the donations were valid…
Responding to Fink, Cuomo briefly addressed the substance of the question, saying that his campaign would return the contributions or initiate an internal inquiry only if federal officials found wrongdoing. Then he turned at length to a discussion of an apparent dispute between the state government and Spectrum News, New York 1′s parent company.
“Speaking of fraud, Charter Spectrum has been executing fraud on the people of this state,” Cuomo said.
Jon Campbell of USA Today’s Albany office posted the transcript of the exchange on Twitter.
— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) July 31, 2018
If you want to know what the deal is with Crystal Run, I wrote about it earlier this year. It’s a hot mess where the Crystal Run healthcare group ponied up a huge set of donations to Cuomo’s campaign and then mysteriously received some large, lucrative contracts from the state almost immediately thereafter. The whole thing stinks on ice and people are probably going to prison over it, but once again Cuomo has managed to keep his name off the list of indictments.
I also wrote about the Charter/Spectrum “fraud” that Cuomo is talking about, so here’s the background on that. While it’s true that valid questions have been raised over whether or not Spectrum has held up their end of the bargain in terms of extending broadband service to rural areas of the state, that has absolutely nothing to do with NY1’s news division and Zack Fink is not in that end of the business anyway. Still, when Fink asked a follow-up question about cable television regulation, that didn’t stop Cuomo from saying that Charter was “defrauding” the people of New York and asked the reporter if he was, “speaking on behalf of Charter Spectrum or yourself.”
I’ll grant you that Cuomo’s attack didn’t reach the level of some of the blistering blasts that Donald Trump launches at CNN, NBC News and the rest of the MSM. But the guy is governor of one of the biggest states in the nation and, as I mentioned above, still fancies himself a 2020 presidential contender. (I think most political analysts disagree.) Shouldn’t this be more of a story? Or is it just different when it’s a Democrat going after the press?