Gov. Ron DeSantis, as we’ve been seeing, wants to manage the news—not just make it. We know whose playbook he’s following. We know what the go-to media outlet is.
Trump’s Sunshine State sycophant, who is now a national player, is more interested in growing his brand and preaching to the hard-core converted than doing what is best for Florida. His all-too-familiar legislative priorities pleased GOPsters and displeased non-Trumpsters.
That said, it was beyond outrageous that DeSantis went live for 7 ½ minutes on Fox & Friends for exclusive coverage of public business—in this case, the signing of the contentious legislative bill in West Palm Beach (SB 90) that makes it harder to request and return vote-by-mail ballots. Reporters and TV crews were turned away from the event–hosted by (Trump fan) Club45USA– by the governor’s precedent-breaking staff.
But this was serious, society-impacting, public business—not, say, an invite for a friendly media outlet to cover his daughter’s birthday party. This isn’t just about Republicans and Democrats. This is about the Republican tribe and democracy–and a viable First Amendment.
“The law leaves no question as to the impropriety of banning certain media while allowing on friendly media,” noted Pamela Marsh, executive director of the First Amendment Foundation. “This is viewpoint and content discrimination.”
It’s also doubling down on the polarized political environment we’re enduring.
We know that the monetized monster of social media encourages and enables cherry-picking and misinformation, but it’s unconscionable when an elected official, in the course of doing the public’s business, orchestrates legitimate news into an echo-chamber celebration. What we—as Americans and Floridians—don’t need is further media devolution in collusion with government.