PolitiFact doubled down on one of its “fact-checks” to defend New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fatal nursing home policy, claiming that despite reports and even admissions from the governor’s office about a coverup of the thousands of deaths that occured under his direction, it is still wrong to blame him.
In a previous “fact-check” published in August, PolitiFact singled out former assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services Michael Caputo for faulting Cuomo for enacting policies that caused thousands of COVID-19 deaths of elderly assisted care and nursing home residents throughout the state. Despite Caputo’s insistence that Cuomo “planted the seeds of infection that killed thousands of grandmothers and grandfathers,” PolitiFact brushed aside his claims, labeling them “mostly false,” and intervened on the governor’s behalf.
“Infection control is a longstanding problem in nursing homes that predates the pandemic and a report showed peak numbers of nursing home deaths came prior to the peak influx of patients as a result of Cuomo’s advisory,” the article author Michelle Andrews wrote. “While the introduction of COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes no doubt had an effect on infection spread, Caputo’s statement suggests it was solely responsible. That’s not what the evidence shows.”
On Tuesday, PolitiFact updated the article with an editor’s note acknowledging that Cuomo “has faced increasing scrutiny regarding his handling of information related to covid-related deaths among nursing home residents.” The amendment states, however, that despite the new incriminating evidence revealed by the state’s attorney general and a confession from Cuomo’s top aide that it was indeed the governor’s office responsible for covering up many of the deaths that occurred under his policy, Caputo’s original statement is still labeled “mostly false.”
“The fact check itself focused on a policy issued by Cuomo in March directing nursing homes in the state to accept patients who had or were suspected of having covid-19. As long as they were medically stable, the notice said, it was appropriate to move patients in,” the note states. “Our ruling of Mostly False is unchanged by this new information. That rating was based on evidence that while the introduction of covid-19 positive patients into nursing homes no doubt had an effect on the spread of the coronavirus, Caputo’s statement suggested it was solely responsible. That’s not what the evidence showed, then or now.”
PolitiFact has a history of issuing partisan “fact-checks.” In 2020, the organization ran defense for then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, claiming that an ad notifying the public that the candidates “support legislation that would destroy girls’ sports” because they both support passing the Equality Act was “a prediction we can’t fact-check.”