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On Monday, after getting called out in The Post, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team belated started masking up for their in-person press conferences. But by Wednesday, the gov had opted to kill those gatherings altogether. Was it just too uncomfortable?
The gov cited the surge in virus cases as his reason, and that’s credible: Everyone should be taking added precautions now. (Though it still doesn’t explain why it took so long to mask up in the small briefing room, since the reporters had been masking throughout, nor to add Plexiglass dividers between the officials at the front.)
Another possibility is that Cuomo just prefers the greater control he has at all-remote pressers. Like Mayor de Blasio, he has used that format to shut down extensive, challenging questions.
Thus, he can now huff about the feds’ “failure” to send him the cash he wants without being pressed on, for example, why (as the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon points out) he must get $15 billion when his own figures show just an $8 billion deficit this year.
Noting that only four reporters were allowed to query about anything at Wednesday’s remote presser, The Post’s Bernadette Hogan tweeted: “Reporters need to ask questions.”
Correct: The public needs someone challenging the gov’s thunderous claims, not a dog-and-pony propaganda show.
The Albany press corps isn’t a pack of stenographers. It’s their job to ask hard, probing questions and to report conflicts between the gov’s messaging and on-the-ground reality.
Go remote if you must, sir, but it’s not really a press conference if you choke off the press.