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DeSantis Derangement Syndrome: The media get even more unhinged

For those of us with already-low expectations for the leftist media, they’ve been working to lower that bar even further in their coverage of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

You’d think these press organizations would have learned from their Trump Derangement Syndrome, when they burned trust in so many institutions, including and specifically their own, trying to fight President Donald Trump. Instead, they’ve simply substituted DeSantis in their activist, bile-filled, often-totally-wrong rants.

A 2021 Pew poll showed Republicans who have “some trust in national news organizations” halved since 2016, from 70% to 35%. Among all adults, that number dropped from 76% to 58%.

That’s not a coincidence: 2016 was when these outlets gave up on trying to be remotely fair — something they’d rarely achieved in the first place — and began to openly discuss how to “handle” Trump. They settled on “Everything is a Russian-disinformation plot” and pretended an enemy country controlled the president. When that was all found to be a lie, they simply moved on.

Donald Trump

Unable to run that playbook on DeSantis, they’re trying a new tack. He’s an authoritarian!

CNN reporter John Blake sent this note to DeSantis’ press secretary, Bryan Griffin, asking for comment after the gov blocked a woke high-school class: “I’ve talked to one of the nation’s leading scholars on fascism who, along with another scholar who is an authority on fascism, say that DeSantis’ decision echoes similar decisions made by fascist dictators to force what one historian calls ‘collective amnesia’ about the past.”

I’m writing a piece calling the governor a fascist, care to comment? And how long have you been beating your wife?

Griffin posted Blake’s request to Twitter, pulling back the curtain on how hit pieces calling America’s most popular governor a “fascist” get made.

The Daily Beast ran an entirely fictitious account, likely written in crayon, of the DeSantis team paying influencers and “bot farms” on Twitter.

Lindsey Curnutte, communications director for DeSantis’ political team, categorically denied this claim, which the Beast has yet to retract, and told me: “Enthusiasm for Gov. DeSantis is generated through his relentless work to keep Floridians free, not paying for retweets. We do not pay ‘influencers’ to tweet nor do we pay for ‘bot farms.’” Curnutte added, “People do that?”

Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump
Getty Images

It’s not just the Beast and CNN; somewhat more respected media organizations have gotten in on the act too. The New York Times breathlessly reported on DeSantis getting the College Board to change lessons in its high-school Advanced Placement African American Studies course that included things like “queer theory” and a leftist-only perspective on doing away with prisons. The Times notes there will be “no more critical race theory,” which is interesting because the Times previously argued CRT is never used in K-12 education. Whoops. If only facts or consistency mattered.

President of special-interest group American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, who needlessly forced schools to close for an extended length of time, which harmed black children most of all, tweeted, “How can Gov DeSantis erase all of Black history?”

State law already mandates that black history be taught in Florida schools, as DeSantis has pointed out on numerous occasions, but activists like Weingarten will willfully ignore this and her media friends will follow. They don’t actually care about education or nonsense like intersectionality being taught in the name of “Black history” — they want to hurt a potential 2024 Republican nominee, and everyone knows it.

Randi Weingarten

They also don’t bother doing that old-fashioned fact-checking news organizations used to do. Like when a video of a Florida classroom with empty bookshelves went viral and The Washington Post reported it was because teachers feared being arrested due to a new Florida law requiring books to be age-appropriate and non-pornographic. The Post was forced to issue a correction — teachers will not actually face felony charges for having bad books on their shelves — but it’s exactly this kind of hysteria the media is aiming at DeSantis.

I have yet to meet any parent who thinks scanning books for pornography before allowing children access is a bad thing. In fact, this is a pressing concern because parents keep discovering pornography in their children’s school libraries and don’t want that.

DeSantis for his part talks directly to Floridians and calmly explains his policies, which Floridians continue to support despite the media hoopla. He comes to his press conferences armed with facts and never lets the media get the better of him. He and his team have been teaching a master class in how to handle the dishonest press.

But they shouldn’t have to. Even those who don’t share his politics should speak up and say the coverage is absurd and lack of trust in news organizations has hurt us all. But they won’t because there are elections to win.

Twitter: @Karol