Monday, May 22, 2023


Ron DeSantis treats right-wing propaganda outlets very well, while dealing out abuse to other media outlets. But Semafor tells us that that's changing:
DeSantis had taken apparent pride in a combative operation, led by his former press secretary Christina Pushaw, that sparred with reporters on Twitter and often ignored their inquiries.
"Sparred with reporters" is putting it mildly. In 2021, an AP reporter named Brendan Farrington wrote a story DeSantis didn't like, and Pushaw summoned a Twitter mob:
Pushaw denied trying to direct the governor’s followers to target AP’s reporter despite retweeting his article and writing “drag them” in a now-deleted post....

In another tweet, she wrote that if Farrington didn’t change the story, she would “put you on blast.” She also retweeted a message that said “Light. Them. Up.” in reference to the AP.

... Farrington tweeted that he had received online threats and hate messages about the story. “For your sake, I hope government doesn’t threaten your safety. I’ll be fine, I hope. Freedom. Just please don’t kill me.”
Pushaw's Twitter account was briefly suspended. (This was long before Elon Musk, of course.)

However, DeSantis is being nice now, Semafor says:
But after weeks of relentlessly negative coverage of his nascent campaign, his staff have quietly begun the traditional campaign work of providing access for reporters and input for their stories, according to people close to the various DeSantis organizations and half a dozen journalists who have engaged with them.

The new DeSantis Glasnost has been run primarily through the Never Back Down super PAC. Two 2024 national political reporters said the comms team for the campaign-in-waiting has also been informally reaching out to reporters off the record to spin stories, and has begun to invite some down to Florida to meet key staffers.
However, this "Glasnost" doesn't seem to include any significant access to the candidate.
DeSantis still has not sat down with any of the non-Fox networks for a major interview in recent months, and often leaves political events without addressing the media. National reporters who had flown from Washington and Miami to cover the governor’s New Hampshire campaign stop were disappointed when he did not take questions from journalists at a diner or during a meeting with state legislators.
And reporters still feel that they're at risk of being mocked and humiliated by Team DeSantis.
His staff have followed his lead enthusiastically, aggressively publicly admonishing reporters who publish critical coverage of the governor. The hardball tactics of the governor’s office already have pushed some national journalists on the beat to be more careful: Two of the 2024 campaign reporters said they don’t send any emails or texts to the governor’s office they wouldn’t think would end up in an angry or mocking tweet from his press staff.
But Semafor's Max Tani is willing to make excuses for the abuse.
Part of the response can be chalked up to the awkward limbo the governor has been in over the past several months. While Trump and other GOP candidates got into the race early, the Florida governor has waited, meaning the bulk of requests have fallen to his gubernatorial communications staff. That staff has been overwhelmed with a deluge of comment requests, and at times, have steered questions to other employees outside his government office. Now that the campaign is beginning in earnest, DeSantis will have a larger and more official 2024 staff to respond to reporters’ queries.
Yes, I'm sure that's it -- DeSantis and his crew are contemptuous and abusive toward reporters because they're simply overwhelmed. It has nothing to do with the fact that DeSantis is a sadistic little tyrant who thinks he's exempt from all criticism.

I see evidence that DeSantis and his allies are doing a bit more outreach to the mainstream media: Notice, for instance, that Politico, The New York Times, and The Washington Post all published nearly identical stories about a recent DeSantis speech to an antiabortion group. (The headlines: "DeSantis Largely Avoids Abortion at Anti-Abortion Group’s Gala," "DeSantis Skirts Abortion Ban Even When Speaking to His Base," and "DeSantis Keeps Abortion Comments Brief at Antiabortion Group’s Gala.") I'm assuming DeSantis World wants general-election swing voters -- or, more likely, pro-choice billionaire donors -- to believe that while DeSantis may have signed a draconian forced-birth bill, he didn't really mean it, and he's kinda embarrassed by it. So DeSantis's people spun this story for these three news outlets (which base voters don't read), and all three published exactly the story they were fed ... by their abuser.

I'm certain that when DeSantis seeks to go mainstream, he'll get all the concessions he requests from the elite media. (Wait till you see his CNN town hall.) The MSM will give him whatever he wants out of gratitude that he's suddenly being (relatively) nice. All the previous abuse will have paid off.

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