As embattled New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces calls for his resignation and a push for his impeachment amid a mountain of scandals, media outlets appear to be giving Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis a “second look.”
DeSantis was repeatedly attacked by the national media throughout the coronavirus pandemic, while Cuomo was showered with praise for his alleged “leadership.” As recently as last month, NBC News went after the Republican for prioritizing seniors and Holocaust survivors as vaccine recipients by portraying the initiative as targeting “key Florida voting blocs.”
Now, with Cuomo being accused by at least seven women of sexual misconduct and facing claims of covering up the number of state nursing home deaths, mainstream media outlets appear to now be viewing DeSantis in a more positive light.
“After a solid year of living with a pandemic, the national press is beginning to ask the question that even Democrats have been quietly pondering in the Sunshine State: Was Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pandemic response right for Florida?” Axios began a report on Monday.
Axios pointed to recent favorable coverage for DeSantis from The New York Times, specifically a report that quoted a Democrat from the Sunshine State as saying , “I’d much rather be in Florida.”
“Florida reopened months before much of the rest of the nation, which only in recent days has begun to emerge from the better part of a year under lockdown,” the Times wrote before listing recent examples of cities and states rolling back their restrictions. “None of this feels particularly new in Florida, which slowed during the worst of the pandemic but only briefly closed. To the contrary, much of the state has a boomtown feel, a sense of making up for months of lost time.”
“Realtors cold-knock on doors looking to recruit sellers to the sizzling housing market, in part because New Yorkers and Californians keep moving in. The unemployment rate is 5.1[%] compared to 9.3[%] in California, 8.7[%] in New York and 6.9[%] in Texas. That debate about opening schools? It came and went months ago. Children have been in classrooms since the fall,” the Times continued.
Despite the grim toll of more than 32,000 COVID deaths in Florida, the Times acknowledged that number is “no worse than the national average, and better than that of some other states that imposed more restrictions, despite its large numbers of retirees, young partyers and tourists.”
“For better or worse, Florida’s experiment in returning to life-as-it-used-to-be offers a glimpse of what many states are likely to face in the weeks ahead, as they move into the next phase of the pandemic — the part where it starts to be over,” the paper added.
The Times ran another report earlier this month admitting “DeSantis Is Ascendant and Cuomo Is Faltering.”
Axios also pointed to a piece published by The Los Angeles Times contrasting California’s COVID response with that of Florida.
“California imposed myriad restrictions that battered the economy, and have left most public school students learning at home for a year,” that paper wrote. “Florida adopted a more laissez-faire approach decried by public health experts — allowing indoor restaurant dining, leaving masks optional and getting children back in classrooms sooner.”
While the Los Angeles Times noted that Florida’s death rate is higher than California’s, the paper admitted the Sunshine State’s rise in unemployment is less severe than in the Golden State, where Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing a recall.
“We’ve long known that the state’s pro-business Republican leadership was making a sort of grand bargain: that the death toll was the price paid for keeping commerce flowing and keeping kids in school,” Axios concluded. “The closer you are to either loss or to the fullness of life will likely determine how you feel about the state’s response.”