Blogs  / May 13, 2020

Cuomo Trumps Fauci in COVID-19 Response

by Dan Beltramo

There are a lot of talking heads out there when it comes to the novel coronavirus, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York stands head and shoulders above the others.

Using Onclusive’s media monitoring system, I analyzed the digital media coverage of various prominent figures related to the COVID-19 epidemic from March 1, 2020 to April 30th, 2020.  What immediately jumps out is how dominant Gov. Cuomo’s voice is in the media.

Of course, President Trump gets more coverage on the topic than Gov. Cuomo.  Still, Gov. Cuomo garners substantially more than governors of other large states, for example, Gavin Newsom of California and Jay Pritzker of Illinois, and luminaries on the subject of COVID-19, like Dr. Anthony Fauci.  As Stanford professor and social psychologist, Deborah Gruenfield, commented in regards to Gov. Cuomo, “He’s at the epicenter of the crisis and understands the theater of it.” 

In fact, Gov. Coumo generates as much coverage as Gov. Jay Pritzker of Illinois and Dr. Fauci combined.

Another way to look at it is that Governor Cuomo generates over 17% more media coverage than Dr. Fauci when it comes to the subject of the novel coronavirus.

While various stories and news cycles feature Dr. Fauci more for short periods of time, Gov. Cuomo generally manages to be cited more often than Dr. Fauci on a daily basis.

All of Gov. Cuomo’s media exposure does not entirely outshine the meteoric rise to prominence of Dr. Fauci and his sustained position as the dominant medical authority on the subject of COVID-19.  As late as the end of February 2020, Dr. Fauci was barely mentioned in mainstream media; now, he is a household name with thousands of articles referencing him every day. 

If one compares 79-year-old Dr. Fauci, who has been director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for 36 years, to other medical authorities only, it is quite clear just how dominant his voice has become.  In fact, he receives well more coverage than the combination of Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the CDC; Dr. Deborah Birx, Coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force; and Dr. Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General.

Evaluating coverage on a daily basis reveals that those other prominent figures rarely receive more coverage than the ever-present Dr. Fauci.

Clearly, COVID-19 demands global mindshare and leadership.  Gov. Cuomo of NY and Dr. Fauci have captivated the media, and by extension, exercise the most sway over the narrative.