Media’s deranged obsession with DeSantis — even before he declares for 2024
It’s poised to be a long two years for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Fresh off a nearly 20-point re-election win, and not yet having even announced his intention to run for president in 2024, DeSantis has become media enemy No. 1.
Take the case of Rebekah Jones, a pretend whistleblower who alleged with zero evidence that Florida was hiding its true COVID death rate. This week, in a deal with prosecutors, she admitted illegally accessing a state computer. She’d been a media darling because of her attacks on DeSantis.
On her website, Jones helpfully compiled a list of credulous media outlets that ran her false claims without checking. CNN, The Washington Post, MSNBC, Yahoo News, The Miami Herald and so on all fell for her lies, some many times over.
Much is made of Republicans choosing poor-quality candidates but Jones was most recently the Democratic nominee for Congress from Florida’s 1st Congressional District. She lost, thankfully, but that was just weeks before her guilty plea.
Have any of the media outlets repented? Apologized? Of course not. Stopping a potential DeSantis presidential candidacy is their first priority and admitting they were had, or complicit, in Jones’ lies would be a setback.
The Miami Herald, unable to give up its solidarity with Jones, this week even ran an incorrect headline alleging, “Charges against former state health department worker dismissed after she admits guilt.” The admission of guilt is just one of the six special conditions Jones will have to meet, including paying a hefty $20,000 fine and attending therapy, before those charges get dropped in two years.
For over two years, the media held up Jones as evidence DeSantis hadn’t managed the pandemic as successfully as it seemed. Now they should admit DeSantis was right and the pro-lockdown blue-state governors they so love were wrong.
Or look at MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who this week accused DeSantis of turning Florida into a “petri dish for everything on 4Chan.” Said Reid, “If you go by Ron DeSantis’ agenda you would think the most important things happening in Florida are Critical Race Theory, which makes white children feel sad; library books that need to be banned; not stopping COVID, you got to let COVID in your school; drag brunch, and Disney World making movies with too many gay people in them.”
Last year Reid said critical race theory wasn’t being used in schools, so this is already a welcome step toward reality for her. And yes, Floridians don’t want pornographic books in their children’s school libraries, and they know that no one, anywhere, “stopped” COVID from getting into their schools. All that was stopped, in places (unlike Florida) where kids couldn’t go to school in person for much of 2020 and 2021, was the education of children. Florida put kids first, instead of teachers’ unions, and the Joy Reids of the world will never forgive that.
As for Disney, it inserted itself into a debate on the very popular Parental Rights in Education law passed in Florida. The media worked itself into a froth openly rooting for DeSantis to be bludgeoned by the Mouse. What happened instead is that Disney replaced its CEO and made motions to walk back from the woke cliff it had put itself on by listening to a few activist employees. The battle isn’t over yet but so far, to the media’s chagrin, it’s DeSantis 1, Disney 0.
Then there’s New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait. Chait has become Elmer J. Fudd to DeSantis’ Bugs Bunny. Chait is obsessed with the idea that the governor is “anti-vax.” This was first based on the gov’s (correct) opposition to a vax mandate, later shifting to his new plan (also good) to probe COVID claims made by pharmaceutical companies.
You’d think a journalist would want to see powerful corporations held accountable if they’ve done anything wrong. But Fudd only has one goal: He’ll get you next time, wascawwy wabbit!
Recently, the media upstart Semafor blasted DeSantis for not sitting down with such venerable media outlets such as “The View.” Why DeSantis would pass on chatting with such fair “journalists” as Joy Behar, who said it looked like he was having a stroke during his gubernatorial debate, or Ana Navarro, who taunted him for taking federal relief funds for hurricane victims, will remain a mystery for the ages.
Any Republican running for president understands that the media will attempt to kneecap them at every opportunity. What’s interesting about their DeSantis targeting is that, well, he’s not a presidential candidate, at least not yet. The press is getting ahead of itself and letting fear of DeSantis guide its coverage.
DeSantis is good at battling with the media but he’s taking the smart approach and ignoring them altogether. He doesn’t need them — and it drives them crazy. Keep going.