Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida must scare the living hell out of everyone who is terrified of the Republican Party gaining power again. That would be why he has been under constant assault from every left-of-center reporter in the United States with stories that don't hold up under scrutiny.
That would be why CBS News targeted him with an unethically false story about a state agreement with Publix on vaccine distribution. If you'll recall, 60 Minutes ran a glorified hit piece on DeSantis, capturing an emphatic denial that there was any pay for play while also cutting out two minutes of him detailing the decision-making process behind Publix getting that contract. They have stood by their cut job, and the video package is still available on CBS News' website.
The national press has long given a platform to a conspiracy theorist named Rebekah Jones, who claimed that the governor's office was forcing her to change the numbers that were going into the state's health dashboard. Her story has changed countless times, as detailed in full by National Review's Charles Cooke, yet she was still originally slated to be a speaker at the Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) annual National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) conference.
The media collectively freaked out, by the way, earlier this year when he shut out all outlets except Fox News from a bill signing. I could not even begin to guess why he would not want them near him.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
And then, over the weekend, Washington Post reporter Hannah Dreier launched a completely ignorant attack on DeSantis by implying he was dragging his feet in getting federal assistance to Miami in response to the building collapse that has claimed several lives and as of this writing may still have more than one hundred people trapped inside.
There's a saying in emergency management: The first 24 hours are the only 24 hours.
FEMA was ready to deploy to the condo collapse almost immediately, and included the crisis in its daily briefing, but didn't get permission from Gov. DeSantis to get on the ground for a full day. pic.twitter.com/rVmCN47sQJ
— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) June 26, 2021
Becket Adams at the Washington Examiner breaks down the problems with this tweet perfectly.
It's not even a little bit true that relief efforts in Florida have been disjointed, sluggish, and/or insufficient because DeSantis supposedly hesitated to call on FEMA.
For starters, the Florida Division of Emergency Management was activated minutes after the collapse. First responder groups, including the famed Miami-Dade Urban Search and Rescue team, were on-site immediately.
Second, FEMA doesn't do search and rescue. It does logistics and support. It relies on disaster specialty groups, including the Miami-Dade USAR team, to do the actual work of combing through rubble. As mentioned, the Miami-Dade USAR team was deployed moments after the implosion.
Third, Miami-Dade County and Surfside authorities say they're more than satisfied with the aid and support they've received from state agencies.
Lastly, DeSantis signed an emergency order on the day of the incident.
Multiple media figures — hell, entire media outlets — have decided that DeSantis is an inevitable figure in the 2024 race for the presidency. As such, they have heaped story after story, attack after attack, and tweet after mean tweet on him as a way to “expose” him to the rest of the world. The problem is, DeSantis would not be gaining the popularity within the Republican Party that he is without the media's help.
In 2016, the media made Donald Trump — a fringe candidate who was a great sideshow act — the main event in the Republican primary. They focused all of their attention on him because, in their minds, it made the Democrats look sane and reasonable. And not only did Trump win the nomination for the Republican Party, he won the presidency itself, much to their shock and horror.
And, despite all of this, they refuse to acknowledge that they had any hand in it. The equivalent of millions of dollars in free advertising they gave him in coverage gave him all the exposure to the Republican base he needed, and he succeeded in winning the party's nomination. They deflected by leaning heavily on the Russia conspiracy, that a foreign government had a hand in electing him, completely ignoring that the media coverage of him was their fault.
In a world without Trump constantly in front of cameras or on social media, they have focused all of their attacks on DeSantis, because he is the one who is capturing the attention and the imagination of a lot of the same people who were captivated by Trump… a captivation only made possible by the media's constant coverage on (and attacks against) him.
And there are people on the right who are terrified that DeSantis is the next Trump, because they are so obsessed with Trump that everything now bears the stench of him. It's true that DeSantis has to play politics that are reminiscent of Trump's politics, but beneath a lot of that spectacle is a governor who has been immensely successful in governing.
He was in Miami quickly after the building collapse was made public. He had state agencies responding and coordinating rescue efforts. In the early days of the pandemic, when Andrew Cuomo was forcing nursing homes to take COVID-positive patients back, DeSantis was removing them to separate health facilities and saving as many lives as Cuomo was taking. He has consistently been right on mask mandates, beach closures, and the like, and the left's constant predictions of a huge spike in Florida's numbers never came to pass.
DeSantis has been a good governor. And the left, as well as their allies in the media, can't stand that. So they look for all these petty media attacks — let's call them what they are, lies — to throw at him. But they never stick. In fact, they only raise his profile in the eyes of the very people who are looking for the next, no-holds-barred candidate to lead the party against Joe Biden in 2024.
If DeSantis is the nominee in 2024, it's because the media has made him one. If he is inevitable, it's because they made him that way.