Ron DeSantis gets all kinds of negative media coverage, and now it’s working to his advantage.
Does that remind you of anyone else in Florida now?
The Republican governor is the clear beneficiary of the sloppy “60 Minutes” story about him and the Covid vaccines. A key Democratic mayor backs him. The backlash is boosting his position among Republican voters. And he looks more and more like one of the leading candidates for the 2024 presidential nomination.
DeSantis is a great ally of Donald Trump, who spent his term at war with what he calls fake news.
And it shares Trump’s ability to strike back hard at the Fourth Estate. When CBS’s Sharyn Alfonsi confronted him at a press conference (because he did not give an interview), he lectured her about not caring about the facts and said his version was “irrefutable.”
It was all on camera when the governor said that Publix was the only ready-made medium to vaccinate people in Palm Beach County, that he had consulted with local officials, and that it had nothing to do with the supermarket chain he had previously donated. $ 100,000 to your PAC. And that’s where “60 Minutes” made a huge mistake, not using most of its sound bite or even summarizing most of its substantive defense.
Instead, the show tried to paint DeSantis as one of the baddies who loves to chase down some hallway with his cameras.
The most devastating repudiation in history came when Palm Beach County Democratic Mayor Dave Kerner called the story intentionally false. Kerner told Fox yesterday that he searched for the show, spoke for 45 minutes, and yet did not include any of his comments or views.
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The CBS magazine show released a second statement yesterday, saying that “our story on Sunday night speaks for itself.”
The show said it had interviewed dozens of sources and that both DeSantis and the state emergency management director declined to speak on camera, adding that “the idea that we are ignoring their perspective is false.” “60 Minutes” said he also spoke officially with Kerner, but he says the same, so it is unclear why he describes himself as “contrary to his statement.”
There’s no question that the mainstream media are against Ron DeSantis, who won the job in 2018, and have tried to portray him as a botch in responding to the pandemic, when Florida is now doing quite well. This is not to say that everything he has done has been perfect, but he has always been portrayed as callous and reckless when it comes to the virus. However, this journalistic animosity has only increased his Republican support.
As the National Review puts it, the hostile press has turned DeSantis “into a national political force with all the conservative credibility of a Trump and none of the warts that offend many American sensibilities.” In other words, the magazine says, he has “all the right enemies.”
It’s hard to avoid the contrast between DeSantis’s coverage and that of Andrew Cuomo, who was praised by the press early on and won an Emmy for his Covid briefings. Now, the Democratic governor of New York is defending himself against calls to resign due to his mishandling of nursing home deaths (as well as a series of sexual harassment allegations), while the Florida governor has strengthened his position.
There is a notable difference between the way conservatives are rallying around DeSantis and their silence on another Florida Republican, Matt Gaetz. The member of the House is under investigation by the Department of Justice for accusations of sex trafficking of a minor and payment of women for sex, which he strongly denies.
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Politico reports that “no Trump aides or family members have tweeted about the Florida congressman. Nor did almost any of the most prominent or conservative Trump representatives and Trump-allied media personalities” rushed to defend Gaetz.
This may be partly because Gaetz will undoubtedly lose his seat if charged, and few want to be left on the deck of a sinking ship. And there is what has always been seen as his wild personal life, which includes showing off women to his colleagues. Politico puts it this way: “Gaetz has always been regarded as a grenade from which the pin had already been removed.”
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At a press conference yesterday, DeSantis attacked the people of “60 Minutes” as “slanderous merchants. That’s why no one trusts the corporate media.”
Whether it’s fair or not, he’s very much on the offensive against the CBS grenade that backfired. In the emerging reality of the post-Trump world, history probably helped him.